Today's Globe reported that Massachusetts dealers have filed for $65 million in rebates under the $3 billion Cash for Clunkers program, but less than 5 percent have actually been paid. The government's answer this time? Just wait a month. Promise.
President Obama, acknowledging the problems of the $3 billion Cash for Clunkers program last week, said the government was "victims of our own success."
But for all the 700,000 new cars bought in such a hurry under the program, the federal government has instead been the victimizer to dealers and customers across the country (and in our neighborhood here on Boston.com). Shall we repeat the issues once more?
OK: Excessive and confusing paperwork, understaffed offices processing the paperwork, dealers forced to take on mountains of debt and fearing huge losses because the government takes so long to pay, customers waiting weeks for their cars because of scared dealers, the EPA changing MPG numbers of old cars at random, customers again enraged that their trade-ins no longer qualify, the smog-friendly solution to destroying engines, destroying drivable cars instead of having them enter the used car market, and boosting sales of cars over other industries.
Robert O'Koniewski, executive vice president of the Massachusetts State Automobile Dealers Association, said last week that "the fact that it's ending will be a sigh of relief for everyone involved."
Perhaps it's also a lesson to never implement something of this level again without foresight, planning, and a little common sense. But then again, that's not the government's responsibility.
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About Boston Overdrive
|Clifford Atiyeh is an automotive writer and car enthusiast . He has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own.
In the garage: 1995 21-speed Iron Horse, 2002 Jeep Wrangler X (by association)
|Bill Griffith is a veteran Boston Globe reporter, having reviewed cars for more than 10 years and serving as assistant sports editor for 25 years. He was also the paper's sports media columnist.
In the garage: 2006 Subaru Baja
|John Paul is public affairs manager for AAA Southern New England, a certified mechanic, and a Globe columnist. He hosts a weekly radio show on WROL.
In the garage: Hyundai Sante Fe, Chrysler PT Cruiser convertible
|Craig Fitzgerald has been writing about cars, motorcycles, and the automotive industry since 1999. He is the former editor of Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car.
In the garage: 1968 Buick Riviera, 1996 Buick Roadmaster, 1974 Honda CB450
|Keith Griffin is president of the New England Motor Press Association and edits the used car section on About.com. He also writes for the Hartford Business Journal and various weekly newspapers in Connecticut.
In the garage: Mazda 5, Dodge Neon
|George Kennedy is a senior writer for WheelsTV in Acton, which produces video reviews for Yahoo, MSN, and other auto websites.
In the garage: Lifted 1999 Jeep Cherokee