Cash for Clunkers Clunks as Dealers Leave in Droves

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All good things come to an end. So too do things of dubious goodness. And whether you place Cash for Clunkers in the first or second category, it's time to bow our heads and say goodbye to what was, at the very least, one of the most popular government stimulus programs in recent memory. Cash for Clunkers is ending, as auto dealers are bowing out of the program in fear that they have extended too many $4500 rebates for the government to reimburse.


The federal government's inability to spend money quickly was already the subject of much angst involving the general stimulus package, which famously doled out barely 10 percent of its $800 billion budget by early summer. This time, the backlog involves the Department of Transportation's inability to process rebates for old traded-in cars fast enough, making dealers worried that the backlog queue is growing so long, new rebates will never be reimbursed.

Is Cash for Clunkers a good idea? I don't think so. If you want to know why, go here.

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Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

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