Cash-for-clunkers, a program whose intricacies and flaws have been excellently covered by the Atlantic's own Derek Thompson, is a hit from Miami to San Francisco. While national publications are more mixed on the program's net benefits (the Wall Street Journal sniffily asked for a "$4,500 subsidy for everything" while a Washington Post op-ed argued that holding onto clunkers would be greener) the enthusiasm inside the country is full-throated.
Here, a round-up of the reasons regional papers want Congress to re-sign the program:
- It Kills Many Birds with One Stone says the Baltimore Sun. "100 percent of the cash for clunkers money is going directly into the economy, and that's not its only benefit. It supports an industry that we've already invested billions in; it improves the environment by getting inefficient cars off the road."
- Small Cost, Huge Payoff says the Miami Herald. "The cost is negligible compared to the overall economic stimulus plan, and it is actually providing a material benefit for both the economy and American consumers."
- Save Jobs with a Little Investment says the Akron Beacon Journal. "A similar program in Germany allocated $7 billion, boosting sales more than 20 percent. By comparison, Germany counts roughly 83 million people, compared to 305 million in the United States."
- A Green Boon...That Could Be Even Better says the San Francisco Chronicle. "The U.S. Senate should seize the opportunity to elevate the fuel-efficiency standards for trade-ups to qualify for a subsidy."
With the proverbial "Main Street" rejoicing over a program that actually works, will politicians be swayed by the anti-clunker consensus more prevalent in blogs and national rags?
UPDATE: Editorials, however, don't always channel public opinion. A Rasmussen poll released this morning suggests that a slim majority (54%) of Americans oppose adding new funds to the program. This number has remained the same since the program Congress signed the program in June.