Consumers certainly seem to like the government's offer of rebates on new cars, said Jennifer Liberto and Peter Valdes-Dapena in CNNMoney.com. In fact, runaway popularity may have led to a suspension of "cash for clunkers" after less than a week in operation. The $1 billion economic stimulus program—which promises refund vouchers up to $4,500 to people who trade in old gas guzzlers for new, more efficient vehicles—has already "burned through its funds" (The House approved another $2 billion for the plan on Friday; the Senate is expected to vote on Monday).
Democrats will pump in more taxpayer money to keep the rebates coming, said Stephen Spruiell in National Review. But the program itself is a "clunker." The bill requires that all the jalopies people trade in must be crushed and shredded, which, as Henry Payne pointed out in National Review, will punish the "already hurting used-car and -parts businesses." And "the victims will be lower-income Americans who buy only used parts and vehicles."
The "surprisingly popular rebate program" has clearly "provided a shot in the arm to the struggling auto industry," said Katharine Q. Seelye in The New York Times. But with "cash for clunkers" suspended so quickly, "confusion reigned" over what will happen next—the White House says the program would continue. And the Michigan congressional delegation is determined to get "more money to keep the program alive."
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