Tuesday, January 11, 2011

An Excellent Example of Wasted Stimulus Spending; Cash for Clunkers

In an attempt to demonstrate the "efficiency" of our government and its "stimulus" spending by placing it into proper perspective, lets do a little math regarding what the federal government characterized as their "wildly successful" cash for clunkers program, shall we?

Lets assume that a clunker car travels 12,000 miles a year at 15 mpg and thus uses 800 gallons of gas a year. A new vehicle that travels 12,000 miles a year at 25 mpg uses 480 gallons a year. So, the average Cash for Clunkers transaction reduced US gasoline consumption by approximately 320 gallons per year.

Now the government claims 700,000 clunker vehicles were removed from the road with this program, so that's 224 million gallons of gasoline saved per year. That equates to a bit over 5 million barrels of oil. 5 million barrels is about 5 hours worth of US consumption. More importantly, 5 million barrels of oil at $70 per barrel costs about $350 million dollars, so the government paid $3 billion of our tax dollars to save $350 million dollars.

In summary we spent $8.57 for every dollar we saved.

I'm pretty sure the federal government will do a great job with our health care though!

H/T: Marigrace

14 comments:

John Myste said...

Did the cash for clunkers thing really cost 3 billion dollars?

If I were to play devil's advocate, I would argue that it was not all about oil, but more so the environment and even if they saved no money, they did help the environment, a value not measurable in dollars.

Since we know environmental concerns are all fiction, though, there is point in me bringing this up and embarrassing myself trying to protect a unicorn.

T. Paine said...

Yes, $3 Billion was spent on this ridiculous program.

As for your environmental argument, I would be more sympathetic to this if the money spent resulted in a far greater potential improvement towards our environment.

Somehow, spending $3 billion to reduce the effects of around 5 hours of national fuel consumption seems ridiculously small.

To my feeble mind, that is akin to removing pollutants from 1000 gallons of water in the Hudson River. What, ultimately, is the point of the effort spent, sir?

John Myste said...

Touche. Marketing, I suppose.

T. Paine said...

I would submit that when the country is running a stated debt of $14 trillion, and actual debt is closer to $76 Trillion, we probably should not worry about marketing and "perception", but rather attack the base of the proble: Government spending!

John Myste said...

You state the that "proble" is government spending.

I agree that the government should spend more on job creation and less on war. The soldiers in Afghanistan should be recalled to build bridges. The conservative idea of spending cuts is to cut social programs. Because democrats support social programs. Why is spending money on war good, but spending money on social programs and infrastructure bad?

Do you even know what you mean when you say "Big Government" or is that just a buzz word?

T. Paine said...

I am not sure that there is a utilitarian purpose to having our soldiers in Afghanistan any longer now. I don't think we have the political will to do what is necessary to win here, let alone the money to achieve such victory.

This does not mean that the original reason for engaging in war there and deposing the Taliban government and thus revoking the safe haven for al Quaida was not an imperative though.

I look at this war as a necessary evil, as are all wars. (evil that is; not always necessary)

I think, as explicitly stated in the law of the land, that the government has a duty to defend our nation. Providing for the common defense of the United States is something for which congress must provide accordingly.

I further think that as a civilized society, we have an obligation to care for those people that are unable to care for themselves, whether that be the elderly and feeble, the mentally ill, or those with various debilitating illnesses or handicaps.

What we do not have a legal or moral obligation to do is to fund the lifestyle of an ever-increasing dependent class of people that is capbable of providing for themselves. By doing so, the government only robs them further of their will to do so on their own, as well as their own dignity.

Further, there is not a Constitutional mandate to provide such programs for capable people, and for good reason. $76 Trillion in debt comes to mind as the major one.

As for spending on infrastructure such as roads and bridges, those are appropriate uses of government funded projects.

Money for such things as the National Endowment for the Arts, National Public Radio, and myriads of programs that only encourage governmental dependence by individuals are exceptionally bad and unconstitutional ideas, my friend.

By the way, do you ever plan to write another of your excellent postings? The waiting is almost unbearable. Why would you intentionally torture your fans thusly? :)

T. Paine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
John Myste said...

I find myself wanting to get into a long debate about the right social function of the federal government, and the implicit assumption that it social programs generally suppress the ability of others to provide for themselves. I would start with anecdotal evidence, but then move to more substantial data. I estimate such a response would be roughly 40,000 characters, or 16 single-spaced pages, and as we know could not be posted here. Not only that, but follow up debates would be long and I would have to do tons of research to retrieve data that was lost in the shuffle long ago. All of this is very time-consuming, and though the desire is almost overwhelming, I will resist.

My posts have slowed because of discussions with you and others on issues such as this. I work fifty hours per week and then find myself needing to devote another fifty to the refutation of certain ideas. I only have a few soap boxes, taxes, social programs, legal perspectives of conservatives (and getting the Supreme Court Bench out of the hands of conservatives), and the rights of others (homosexuals, religious freedom, etc). I enjoy hearing debates about other issues (such as the ones you have at Dave Dubya’s), but I have little interest in participating in a serious way.

I have found that while entertaining, short debates actually don't make progress. I love hearing them, but I tend to avoid engaging in them seriously. I will engage irreverently, and without the application of facts, but only on issues I am not too passionate about, which is most issues, and excludes my semi-socialist treatment of the topic of a governments social responsibility, which extends beyond the Constitution (simmer down) and can be demonstrated in the minds of America through legal precedent (there I go again). Included in this type of discussion is the correct use of the Constitution, which is a very long research paper, probably 30 pages alone.

I would actually love to have the social debate with you, as I believe you bring more to the table than the typical conservative playbook offers and you may be able to stand up to the extreme force of my position, as few others have.

Additionally, I am contemplating submissions of philosophical fiction (short stories) to literary journals. If I do this, my free time will be zapped further.

John Myste said...

I find myself wanting to get into a long debate about the right social function of the federal government, and the implicit assumption that it social programs generally suppress the ability of others to provide for themselves. I would start with anecdotal evidence, but then move to more substantial data. I estimate such a response would be roughly 40,000 characters, or 16 single-spaced pages, and as we know could not be posted here. Not only that, but follow up debates would be long and I would have to do tons of research to retrieve data that was lost in the shuffle long ago. All of this is very time-consuming, and though the desire is almost overwhelming, I will resist.

My posts have slowed because of discussions with you and others on issues such as this. I work fifty hours per week and then find myself needing to devote another fifty to the refutation of certain ideas. I only have a few soap boxes, taxes, social programs, legal perspectives of conservatives (and getting the Supreme Court Bench out of the hands of conservatives), and the rights of others (homosexuals, religious freedom, etc). I enjoy hearing debates about other issues (such as the ones you have at Dave Dubya’s), but I have little interest in participating in a serious way.

I have found that while entertaining, short debates actually don't make progress. I love hearing them, but I tend to avoid engaging in them seriously. I will engage irreverently, and without the application of facts, but only on issues I am not too passionate about, which is most issues, and excludes my semi-socialist treatment of the topic of a governments social responsibility, which extends beyond the Constitution (simmer down) and can be demonstrated in the minds of America through legal precedent (there I go again). Included in this type of discussion is the correct use of the Constitution, which is a very long research paper, probably 30 pages alone.

I would actually love to have the social debate with you, as I believe you bring more to the table than the typical conservative playbook offers and you may be able to stand up to the extreme force of my position, as few others have.

Additionally, I am contemplating submissions of philosophical fiction (short stories) to literary journals. If I do this, my free time will be zapped further.

T. Paine said...

I guess you wanted to reiterate your thoughts hence the repeated comment. (Blogger has been a pain like that lately.)

I can appreciate your lack of time, as I find myself losing sleep to do what little research (and writing) that my incredibly brilliant mind doesn't already know and retain. (Okay, even I can't take that seriously!)

You are correct about the lack of utility of short debates versus long debates. I agree they can be fun, but not as thought-provoking typically.

It would seem that most of my liberal/progressive friends will stop by and leave a singular comment, if any, but refuse to engage in the longer debates that typically occur at Dubya's blog.

My fragile ego rationalizes this by thinking that they cannot compete with my logic and well-argued positions on an ad-hoc one on one basis. They must try to team up and take me on 12 to 1 such as at our friend Dubya's blog. Luckily facts are nearly always on my side and I am able to withstand the onslaught. :)

I would love to read a posting of yours on the seemingly flawed premise of the government's social responsibility in an extra-constitutional fashion based on precedent.

I would also love to read any future manuscript of philosophical fiction you may choose to write. I would submit to you though that this is largely what is written on Dubya's blog in a shorter format. :)

Anyway, I appreciate your well-argued points and good nature, John. May the debates continue for years to come until you finally admit that you were wrong all along, my friend!

I can only imagine what a man of your considerable talents will be able to create in the way of a marvelous concession posting! Cheers! :)

John Myste said...

LOL

John Myste said...

In defense of liberals, I think people do not come here to debate you because most people want to spend most of their time having their egos massaged by like-minded people. If they strongly disagree with you, then they think: “What would be the point?” But if you go to their site, then you are in firing your pistol in their camp and they are honor-bound to respond.

As you know, I am the exception. I do not debate as often as you do, but when I do, I will go where inspiration takes me. Since there is more debate on Dubya’s site, primarily because of you, I would be more included to be inspired there. However, there is so much noise there, that I generally prefer to listen and interject nonsense then actually get into a heavily researched contest.

As you know, the one time I tried to engage in a long debate with you on your site, my debate was over 20k characters and your site only allows 4096 at a time (like all blogger sites, Dave’s included), and that is vexing. It was almost a deal-breaker. I cannot introduce a topic in 4096 characters, nonetheless debate one seriously.

I am not sure Word Press has this limitation. Have you considered verifying that, then making a transition?

John Myste said...

In case you did not figure it out already, "included" is a new variation of the word "inclined."

T. Paine said...

So it isn't my unassailable logic that makes them fearfully run from an extended debate with me? :(

I hope you will not refrain from still engaging in however long a comment is necessary to get your thoughts out to me.

I know it is a huge nuisance to have to break up a longer post into multiple pieces to post it, but your contributions are greatly appreciated if you would inconvenience yourself to do so for now.

I will look into the possibility of Word Press, however.