A Not-So-Surprising “Clunklusion”

CEI Editorial Director Ivan Osorio discussed the true economic costs of the Obama administration’s “Cash for Clunkers” program, calling it “a costly boondoggle that will yield little net benefit.” It is pretty clear that Cash for Clunkers will prove harmful to the long-run economy, but what about the program’s other purported purpose–reducing CO2 emissions? Below are a couple of interesting quotes.

President Barack Obama, July 31, 2009:

The [Cash for Clunkers] program has proven to be a successful part of our economic recovery and will help lessen our dangerous dependence on foreign oil, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving the quality of the air we breathe.

Professor Christopher R. Knittel, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics, “The Implied Cost of Carbon Dioxide under the Cash for Clunkers Program,” August 14, 2009:

I calculate the implied cost of greenhouse gas emission reductions [under the Cash for Clunkers program] and find that they exceed those estimates from the Waxman-Markey bill by nearly tenfold.

Even from a pro-cap-and-trade, global warming alarmist perspective, the Cash for Clunkers program is an abysmal failure.