July 30, 2009

“CASH FOR CLUNKERS” RUNNING WITH TRUE GOVERNMENTAL EFFICIENCY:

Dealers reported problems with the government’s online system to get the transactions approved by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which is running the program.

Scott Lambert, vice president of the Minnesota Auto Dealers Association, said he was “astounded” to learn at a meeting Tuesday representing about 150 Minnesota dealers that not one has had a deal approved.

“We had dealers representing 1,500 to 2,000 transactions,” he said. “We asked how many had a deal approved yet, and not one hand went up.”

Lambert said the government has created a program that’s “so big and cumbersome that it can’t find a way to accept anything. We’re sending in good, reliable deals.”

It’s nerve-racking for the dealers, he said, because they have given the customer $4,500 and now the dealers need to be reimbursed.

Don’t worry, though — I’m sure they’ll do a better job with your prostate.

UPDATE: Moe Lane is not surprised. “Note that the program started on July 1, they only published the actual rules Friday, and they’re still working out how to get the dealers their money. If you’re shrugging over that, consider this: what’s essentially happening here is that car dealerships are giving $4,500 interest-free, unguaranteed loans to the federal government… and the determination of whether or not those loans get paid off is more or less going to be at the discretion of mid-level bureaucrats at the NHTSA. Even if they do repay every loan, it’s apparently going to take time for the system to smooth out; it’s an open question whether it’ll straighten out before the official end of the program in November. And the car dealerships – the only producers of goods in this particular equation, and the ones that the government is ostensibly trying to help – get all the headaches.”

Producers can’t catch a break under this Administration.