Three RSS feeds from Automotive News smacked my brain back to reality after a Monterey weekend. They support the story we first brought you two weeks ago, “Cash for Clunkers, Far From a Slam Dunker” so I will toot my horn for a moment… toot, toot.
NADA asks U.S. to suspend clunkers program
National Automobile Dealers Association officials today asked the government to suspend the cash-for-clunkers program because a survey by the group found that the $3 billion fund has been exhausted, NADA Chairman John McEleney said.
Two-thirds of dealers waiting for first clunker check
About two-thirds of dealers responding to an Automotive News survey yesterday have received no payment from the U.S. government for their cash-for-clunkers sales.
Clunker wind-down plan to be announced within days
The Obama administration plans to announce in the next few days a strategy for winding down the $3 billion cash-for-clunkers program so dealers aren’t on the hook for credit given to customers, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said.
Holy crap, really? For a country that is apparently in a recession, lost half their savings and is experiencing huge job loss, we sure think nothing of taking on more debt when the government baits us with free money. This program was supposed to run through November 1, yet we’ve blown through $1.8 billion and sold 435,102 as of yesterday morning. Look, I get it. $3 billion is a drop in the bucket compared to the hundreds of billions spent on bailouts to get some economic stimulation. But what about those dealers carrying the bag until they get paid?
Here is was I overheard at the last NADA meeting:
A. I ran out of cars to sell.
B. I still haven’t seen dime one.
C. If I don’t get reimbursed because the f—ing rules stipulate if the program runs out of cash, they don’t have to pay, I’m going to kill somebody.
My attempt to be cool by replying with some idioms.
Hey, this program is like:
A lost ball in the high weeds
A lick and a promise
A slice off a cut loaf, it’s never missed
GM said they will advance dealers the cash while they wait for the goverment to pay up. Isn’t that all coming out of the same pocket??