Re "Backfire from the clunkers," Opinion, Aug. 4
Jonah Goldberg has been one of the most strident critics of federal spending to stimulate the economy. Now that Washington has created a program that actually succeeds in doing so, he grouses that it's not really a success at all.
His primary argument is that the "cash for clunkers" program is enticing people to unwisely spend money better used on other things or saved for the future. What happened to the Jonah Goldberg who fondly parrots the free-market mantra that consumer spending is the engine that drives the economy? I suppose that if the environmental upside of replacing older cars with newer, more fuel-efficient ones doesn't matter to you, that aspect of the program isn't a success either.
Maybe someday Goldberg will concede that big government can sometimes get things right. But I'm not holding my breath.
I agree 100% with Goldberg. I never thought I would ever write those words.
When the "clunker" program was announced, I thought it the most daft idea I'd ever heard. Nowhere have I read its daftness articulated as well as Goldberg has. He may now return to his usual role of elevating my blood pressure in the mornings.
Patrick I. O'Donnell
Goldberg has found something new to hate about the Obama administration. "Cash for clunkers" is a popular stimulus program. Goldberg complains about government helping an ailing economy.
If the president takes action to boost us out of a recession, Goldberg complains. If President Obama did nothing and we went into a depression, Goldberg would complain about that. Obama cannot win, yet The Times keeps publishing the same Jonah Goldberg column. The title changes with each column, but the theme is the same.
As usual, Goldberg misses the mark.
Junking clunkers punishes auto mechanics, spare parts retailers and manufacturers. Selling fuel-sipping new cars generates millions in state taxes for legislatures to squander on inefficient, fraud-riddled government programs like police, firefighters, teachers and waste-disposal technicians. It reduces gasoline consumption, imperiling bonuses for the selfless martyrs heading our vital energy corporations. It reduces oil imports, undermining Middle Eastern allies and their capacity to fund insurgencies that keep America's defense industries humming.
And nothing can stimulate the economy except lower business taxes.
Marvin J. Wolf
Mar Vista Heights