It shouldn't have been the cash for clunkers program. It should have been, "You better get your ass out and buy a car now, because we're going to tax the hell out of your gas guzzling cars through road taxes and gas hikes."
Alright, so "Cash for Clunkers" has a better ring to it. But it's a stupid idea that will continue to screw over the industry.
And yeah, a sudden tax shock to the system is a stupid idea, almost as stupid as a near bankrupt government giving out more free money. But announcing a gradual plan to increase taxes, while providing some incentives for buying green cars (I like green licence plates that get free parking, discounted road taxes and lower tolls.)
That's my idea. Oh, and the tax revenue from getting higher gas taxes can later be given as green car subsidies.
A government should plan to make money, not perpetually lose it. While I think Obama is great, this has been a major folly. It's Bush-style-soiled-band-aid-on-a-gushing-wound-type-solution.
US national debt as of today, approaching 12 trillion = $38,000 per person.