Chris Edwards declares it the “dumbest program ever,” a statement of note, given that (a) Edwards is a libertarian, and (b) cash for clunkers won out over measures like farm subsidies, trade protection, energy regulation, and financial crisis-causing housing policies, all of which are major bugaboos (and rightly so) in the libertarian mind. Derek Thompson piles on. Read the whole thing, but I will excerpt the end, which people who care about policy and good government should find chilling:
What happens to auto demand now? Truly, nobody knows. But from the evidence it seems possible that in six months we’ll look back at Cash for Clunkers as a poorly designed program that hurt used car dealerships and charities, suppressed this summer’s non-auto retail market and failed to dramatically increase 2009 car sales. The stimulus ended in a flash. Whether it truly stimulated remains to be seen.