Tell me this isn't a government operation:
Though almost a million people poured into car dealerships eager to exchange their old jalopies for something shiny and new, recent reports indicate the entire program may have actually hurt the environment far more than it helped.
According to E Magazine, the "Clunkers" program, which is officially known as the Car Allowance Rebates System (CARS), produced tons of unnecessary waste while doing little to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
The program's first mistake seems to have been its focus on car shredding, instead of car recycling. With 690,000 vehicles traded in, that's a pretty big mistake.
According to the Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA), automobiles are almost completely recyclable, down to their engine oil and brake fluid. But many of the "Cash for Clunkers" cars were never sent to recycling facilities. The agency reports that the cars' engines were instead destroyed by federal mandate, in order to prevent dealers from illicitly reselling the vehicles later.
The remaining parts of each car could then be put up for auction, but program guidelines also required that after 180 days, no matter how much of the car was left, the parts woud be sent to a junkyard and shredded.
Shredding vehicles results in its own environmental nightmare. For each ton of metal produced by a shredding facility, roughly 500 pounds of "shredding residue" is also produced, which includes polyurethane foams, metal oxides, glass and dirt. All totaled, about 4.5 million tons of that residue is already produced on average every year. Where does it go? Right into a landfill.
E Magazine states recycling just the plastic and metal alone from the CARS scraps would have saved 24 million barrels of oil. While some of the "Clunkers" were truly old, many of the almost 700,000 cars were still in perfectly good condition. In fact, many that qualified for the program were relatively "young," with fuel efficiencies that rivaled newer cars.
And though the point was to get less fuel efficient cars off the roads, with only 690,000 traded in, and over 250 million registered in the U.S., the difference in pollutant levels seems pretty negligible.
In other news, a furniture company touted by the president during the election campaign as an example of the economic recovery has - you guessed it - closed its doors:
A start-up North Carolina furniture company once celebrated as a sign of America's manufacturing rebound has closed, a year after its head was hosted by President Barack Obama.
Lincolnton Furniture Company was silent Friday, a day after shutting down. President Bruce Cochrane and other company officers did not return messages to The Associated Press.
Company financial officer Ben Causey said manufacturing operations were stopped indefinitely because orders were insufficient. He told The Charlotte Observer that only a few people would remain employed and the next steps were uncertain.
Lincolnton Furniture opened in December 2011 with 60 employees and plans to grow.
Obama last year invited Cochrane to a White House event on bringing overseas job back to America and he was a guest at the State of the Union address.
What is it with Obama? So many programs from housing to this cash for clunkers as utter failures while he chooses companies to show how great the economy is that go under?
I wouldn't buy a used car from him, that's for sure.