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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Yeah, These People Can Run Health Care

It started as a brilliant idea. Trade in a gas-guzzling, environment-destroying clunker of a car, and the U.S. government will give you $3,500 or $4,500 toward the purchase of a more fuel-efficient vehicle. We'll stimulate the economy and save the world from environmental disaster all in one motion.

The processing of claims for the "Cash for Clunkers" program began on July 24, 2009, and the $1 billion the government allotted was supposed to last until November. Opps…

In less than one week, the program was out of money. Now I know it’s hard to imagine that the federal government miscalculated how much money this program would cost, but they did.

Not to worry, however. Congress simply voted $2 billion more for the program, and President Obama signed into law on August 7 legislation that would extend the program until Labor Day. Opps again…

It was announced today that the “Cash for Clunkers” program will end on Monday at 8 p.m.

Why close the program? One reason may be that, according Rep. Joe Sestak, D-Pa, only 2% of the claims submitted by auto dealers have been paid.

Mark Schienberg, president of the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association, says that about half of the dealerships in the New York metro area have left the program already because they haven’t been reimbursed, are concerned that they won’t be reimbursed, and are out of cash to fund any more deals.

Schienberg says that although the program has brought a lot of people into the dealerships, it is a program that is "in the hands of this enormous bureaucracy and regulatory agency. If they don't get out of their own way, this program is going to be a huge failure."

Even MSNBC said this about "Cash for Clunkers": “Bureaucracy, poor planning may mar the overall impression of the program.”

What? Poor planning? As difficult as it is to believe, I think we must, indeed, call it poor planning. First, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) was chosen to run the program; however, the NHTSA had never run anything like this before. They assigned only 230 staff to the program, were immediately overwhelmed, and had to more than triple their assigned staff. They also had to bolster the NHTSA computer system, which was drowning in a flood of “clunker” deals.

OK, let's look at the positive side of all this. Even with all of its problems, the “Cash for Clunkers” program has at least helped to stimulate the economy, right? Well, yeah, kind of - if you’re talking about the Asian economy. It seems that of the top ten vehicles bought through the program, seven are manufactured by Japanese automakers, one by a Korean automaker, and only two by an American automaker.

So the program has been a bureaucratic nightmare, it ran out of money, it was administered poorly, and it helped to stimulate the Asian economy more than ours. And what is President Obama's reaction? In an interview today, the President said that the program was "successful beyond anybody's imagination."

No wonder he thinks the government can run health care.

5 Comments:

Blogger Christina said...

Don't know if you watch "Seinfeld", but it reminds me of how George runs out of the bathroom, pants around his ankles and falls flat on his face and Jerry says, "And you want to be my latex salesman?"

And the Government wants to be my health insurance salesman?

I don't think so.

5:47 PM  
Blogger Bryan Alexander said...

I've never watched Seinfeld, but I think I get the comparison. You're certainly right about not wanting the government to be your insurance salesman.

10:29 PM  
Blogger Ryan said...

Thanks for directing me here from Sarah Palin's FB site. Very informative.

11:00 PM  
Blogger Bryan Alexander said...

Ryan,

Thanks for visiting. I'm glad to have you. Look around, spread the the word, and check back often.

Thanks,
Bryan

11:21 PM  
Blogger karim said...

Hi Bryan,

I never knew this happening like this. Very informative and thanks a lot for the information.

Thanks,
Karim - Positive thinking

2:50 AM  

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