In a classic tale illustrating the “law of unintended consequences,” a new report concludes that President Barack Obama’s $3 billion “Cash for Clunkers” taxpayer-funded boondoggle artificially drove car prices up, not down, and unleashed an “environmental nightmare” through shredding, not recycling, many of the 690,000 cars people traded in for an up to $4,500 car credit.
In 2009, Mr. Obama proudly declared that his Cash for Clunkers program, officially known as the Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS), was a stunning success. “There were skeptics who weren’t sure that this ‘Cash for Clunkers’ program would work,” said Mr. Obama. “But I’m happy to report that it has succeeded well beyond our expectations and all expectations, and we’re already seeing a dramatic increase in showroom traffic at local car dealers…So I’m very pleased with the progress that’s been made in the House today on the “Cash for Clunkers” program.”
But as Yahoo News notes, the program’s decision to shred, not recycle, many of the trade-in vehicles unleashed an “environmental nightmare”:
Shredding vehicles results in its own environmental nightmare. For each ton of metal produced by a shredding facility, roughly 500 pounds of “shredding residue” is also produced, which includes polyurethane foams, metal oxides, glass and dirt. All totaled, about 4.5 million tons of that residue is already produced on average every year. Where does it go? Right into a landfill.