The following letters are in response to a Motion System Design column asking whether or not the Cash for Clunkers program was a good idea.

To protect the privacy of individuals commenting on this particular topic, no last names are given.

What a joke

We as taxpayers should not be subsidizing the purchase of new vehicles. If anything, rules should have given preference to American companies, and then to vehicles manufactured in the U.S. No subsidy for foreign-manufactured vehicles should have been offered. The stated purpose was to help the domestic auto industry. What a joke.
John in Ohio

Ford doing things right

When American manufacturers start making truly energy-efficient vehicles, they will have no problem making the top sellers list. I don't think incentives should be given to “Buy American.” Ford made the list twice. No other brands make highly efficient vehicles. This is why Ford did well this past quarter, while others failed miserably. The point of Cash for Clunkers was to get gas-guzzlers off the road, not put money in the pockets of manufacturers. The manufacturers already got that in loans from taxpayers.
Becky via e-mail

Short-term thinking

The program was great for those driving a car worth less than $4,500 or $3,500. However, all participants now have either monthly payments or less in a savings account. With jobs as unstable as they are, was this a good move? The media reported that this is a shot in the arm for the carmakers. According to the numbers given, cars sold through the program equate to about four weeks of production at best — but then what? I'm really tired of short-term thinking.
Ron via e-mail

Imports mean American jobs

Where are your “American” cars built these days? You may be surprised to find that the answer for the Big Three automakers is either Canada or Mexico, while “dirty imports” are being built in cities like Georgetown, Ky., Canton, Miss., Smyrna, Tenn., Columbia, S.C., and Tuscaloosa, Ala. Buying a Camry, Corolla, Rav4, Tacoma, Altima, Maxima, Pathfinder, BMW X5, BMW Z4, or a selection of Mercedes' small SUVs is actually putting Americans to work. They may live south of the Mason-Dixon Line, but they are still American workers.
Tim in Tennessee

GM and China

I have worked for one of the “foreign” automakers for 27 years, and we have invested more than $10 billion in our U.S. factories. We manufacture where our products are sold and our most important job is to produce quality at a reasonable cost. How much did GM cost taxpayers? Now they want to outsource more to China, to bring back to the U.S. and sell?
Anonymous from Honda

Protectionism has its place

A policy to assign vehicles made by U.S. companies a higher monetary incentive may have been called protectionism, but this program was funded with U.S. taxpayer money. It would have made fiscal sense to allocate money to help the U.S. economy more than foreign manufacturers. We may be in a global economy, but let's get people back to work at home before we start helping the remainder of the world. Maybe then we can start paying off the deficit this program has caused.
Dan in Illinois

Program delays the inevitable

Only domestic vehicles should have been eligible for the clunker dollars. To stimulate thousands of sales for import-brand autos at a time of huge crisis at home is foolish. The justification for intervention was to prevent damage to a vital American industry, but the only result is to delay the inevitable. The big producers need to align their costs with competition in all fronts, not just labor. Until this is done they will have a hard time competing with younger companies that do not have a century of legacy costs. Given that the government decided to intervene, it could have copied Asian competition, and made sure that dollars only went to support our own domestic brands that return profits to our country.
Greg in Kansas

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