Mike: I hope you all have a fine Friday and thanks for visiting The Layoff List. The layoff and unemployment news is in the next post just below this one, but I needed to vent about the latest in legislative stupidity.

Today’s economic calendar is light, so I’m going to review the Cash-for-Clunkers legislation that has passed both houses of – I hate to put it this way, but I can’t think of a better moniker – clowngress. Let me first disclose that I drive an older, fuel efficient vehicle (30 mpg). Here’s the meat of the new law (if you drive an SUV or gas guzzler you may not want to read my commentary this day, but you may want to read the articles to see if you qualify for the $4500 rebate).

Owners of pickup trucks, minivans and sport-utility vehicles that get 18 mpg or less will receive a $3,500 voucher if a comparable new vehicle averages at least 2 mpg more than the old one. A $4,500 voucher will be paid if the mileage of the new truck, minivan or SUV were at least 5 mpg higher than the older one.

To qualify, the participant must own the vehicle for a year and the vehicle will have to be crushed. The program will last for one year or until the funding runs out.

via Tacked on to war-funding bill, ‘Cash for Clunkers’ gets Senate okay.

Mike: So, while this may appear to be admirable legislation that will boost auto sales and help to clean the environment – if only marginally at best – it does one other thing that is absurd and that is it REWARDS the gas guzzler, while punishing the person who drives an older fuel efficient vehicle! So what reward do you get for driving a fuel efficient older vehicle that doesn’t pollute as much as the gas guzzler? You go the big fat ZERO, nothing, nada, $0.00, squat, naught, nil, zilch. You may get the satisfaction of hearing from your neighbor that he bought a new Suburban that gets 19 miles a gallon instead of the 14 miles a gallon he was getting with his old Suburban and that he received a $4500 rebate, too, from you, the person who drives the 1998, 30 mpg, Chevy Cavalier. You, the Cavalier owner, sorry, but they have nothing for you, but keep up the good work.

Am I just a complaining a tree hugger? No. I’m tired of giving failed banks and insurance companies billions in free cash to spend as they wish. I’m tired of seeing clueless politicians reelected constantly for doing a poor job. I’m tired of the special interests having their hands in politicians pockets while the citizenry waits for any leftover crumbs. I’m tired of the unemployed having to pay taxes on unemployment benefits while corporations get tax breaks for off-shoring jobs. I’m tired of government giving tax money that they don’t have to those who least deserve it.

A few years ago, there was legislation that passed which stopped large tax deductions for heavy vehicles like Suburbans, Escalades and Hummers List of SUVs eligible for business tax deduction . Now clowngress turns around and rewards the owners of those same vehicles.

It brought to mind some other legislation that may be proposed:

  • If you are horribly out of shape due to laziness, the government will give you $2000 a year for a gym membership and $2000 for travel to foreign spas for treatment. If you are in good shape you receive a thumbs up.
  • Or how about a $4000 tax credit to smoke one pack a day instead of two? If you don’t smoke, you receive nothing.
  • Give companies tax breaks for sending US jobs overseas. Oh, they already do that……
  • Why not give people who don’t clean their homes a $5000 rebate to hire a maid, decorator and cleaning coach? If you maintain a clean home, of course you get zilch.
  • Get a $3000 credit to stop using excessive amounts of pesticides on your lawn. If you don’t use pesticides and don’t mind the occasional dandelion, you get the big fat zero.

I’m sure there are many other legislative ideas out there, so if you know of any please send them along.

If you own a gas guzzler then here’s your chance to use taxpayer money to buy a new, more fuel efficient vehicle. If you own an older, fuel efficient vehicle, here’s your chance to write clowngress and tell them what you think about giving your fuel-inefficient neighbor a $4500 gift: Congress.org – Write your congressional representative

Mike Thompson

Mike Thompson

Thanks for listening and onto the other news of the day………….

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