Sunday, August 9, 2009

Confusion on Cash 4 Clunkers...

Kay put out a very well produced web ad this week about Cash for Clunkers...

Looks like they brought in some big guns to put this video together... Kay's new staffers are definitely talented, because the Sanford and Son music really just ties the whole video together... some of the video effects are definitely beyond what a one of Rick's interns messing around on the computer can do.

It is also a good hit, but I am not sure that many people will see it. I am also very sure it is not fair to compare the federal program right now to the state program earlier this decade.

TX... Drive a Clean Machine
DC... Cash for Clunkers

TX... to achieve clean air attainment, to avoid DC penalties for nonattainment of the Clean Air Act in major metropolitan areas. Texas was given an "unfunded mandate" in the form of the Clean Air Act yet was prohibited by the feds against regulating emissions on cars, so this was a solution Texas came up with.
DC... to bail out car manufacturers and dealers.

TX... fully funded by inspection sticker fees in the Dallas, Houston and Austin areas by the legislature.
DC... funded by debt.

TX... cars must be older than 10 years and fail an emissions test, the Drive a Clean Machine program helps people making under a certain amount who are buying a <$25 thousand car either buy a new car or repair their current car.
DC... you basically just go in and then the dealer has to smash your car and put it into scrap, and the dealer does the paperwork for you.

TX... geographically targeted, means tested, limited, so it has gradually helped take tens of thousands of failing cars on their emissions tests off the roads.
DC... ran out of money after a few days because it was so broadly applicable.

TX... allegedly taken tens of thousands of failing vehicles off the roadways in urban areas where ozone is a problem, helped Texas avoid punitive regulatory regimes on heavy industry and commerce, helped Texas urban air get cleaner without disrupting the economic base. The Texas program is cited as a success story not necessarily for Rick but for the TCEQ as an innovative way to clean up the air with the least amount of burden. The Drive a Clean Machine program has been going in Texas for several years now and it has never been controversial because most acknowledge it has worked well to achieve its narrowly tailored purpose.
DC... helped people unload their cars and get new cars, possibly helped the economy in some far fetched way, possibly helped the environment in some way. Added a lot of debt and expanded the deficit even further.

TX... We still have problems because of our growth keeping ozone and other pollutants down in big cities, but I always drive around and see old cars and think that there has to be some way to incentivize those people to get Camrys and Civics and stop pumping out soot all over me.
DC... We may need to just scrap the whole place and start over.

The Texas program in some ways resembles the DC program, but it is not the same thing at all. Burnt Orange and Maroon sometimes look similar on TV, but they could hardly be more different. Salt water and fresh water look the same, but they really are completely different.

The other thing about this video that weakens the message a little is that the federal program dovetails on the end of this whole Obama owns GM thing... in some ways this program seems like an extension of auto bailouts and government ownership... the Texas program was so limited in scope and Texas never bailed out car companies, so if Kay's team was looking for a reason why this did not really catch fire and go viral those might be some of the reasons...

Kay is also playing with fire on this issue, because she did vote in favor of a taxpayer funded auto company bailout a few months ago (link). List of votes follows...

Alphabetical by Senator Name
Akaka (D-HI), Nay
Alexander (R-TN), Nay
Barrasso (R-WY), Yea
Baucus (D-MT), Nay
Bayh (D-IN), Nay
Begich (D-AK), Nay
Bennet (D-CO), Nay
Bennett (R-UT), Nay
Bingaman (D-NM), Nay
Bond (R-MO), Nay
Boxer (D-CA), Nay
Brown (D-OH), Nay
Brownback (R-KS), Nay
Bunning (R-KY), Yea
Burr (R-NC), Yea
Burris (D-IL), Nay
Byrd (D-WV), Not Voting
Cantwell (D-WA), Nay
Cardin (D-MD), Nay
Carper (D-DE), Nay
Casey (D-PA), Nay
Chambliss (R-GA), Yea
Coburn (R-OK), Yea
Cochran (R-MS), Yea
Collins (R-ME), Yea
Conrad (D-ND), Nay
Corker (R-TN), Nay
Cornyn (R-TX), Yea
Crapo (R-ID), Yea
DeMint (R-SC), Yea
Dodd (D-CT), Nay
Dorgan (D-ND), Nay
Durbin (D-IL), Nay
Ensign (R-NV), Yea
Enzi (R-WY), Yea
Feingold (D-WI), Nay
Feinstein (D-CA), Nay
Gillibrand (D-NY), Nay
Graham (R-SC), Yea
Grassley (R-IA), Yea
Gregg (R-NH), Yea
Hagan (D-NC), Nay
Harkin (D-IA), Nay
Hatch (R-UT), Nay
Hutchison (R-TX), Nay
Inhofe (R-OK), Yea
Inouye (D-HI), Nay
Isakson (R-GA), Yea
Johanns (R-NE), Yea
Johnson (D-SD), Nay
Kaufman (D-DE), Nay
Kennedy (D-MA), Not Voting
Kerry (D-MA), Nay
Klobuchar (D-MN), Nay
Kohl (D-WI), Nay
Kyl (R-AZ), Yea
Landrieu (D-LA), Nay
Lautenberg (D-NJ), Nay
Leahy (D-VT), Nay
Levin (D-MI), Nay
Lieberman (ID-CT), Nay
Lincoln (D-AR), Nay
Lugar (R-IN), Nay
Martinez (R-FL), Nay
McCain (R-AZ), Yea
McCaskill (D-MO), Nay
McConnell (R-KY), Yea
Menendez (D-NJ), Nay
Merkley (D-OR), Nay
Mikulski (D-MD), Nay
Murkowski (R-AK), Yea
Murray (D-WA), Nay
Nelson (D-FL), Nay
Nelson (D-NE), Yea
Pryor (D-AR), Nay
Reed (D-RI), Nay
Reid (D-NV), Nay
Risch (R-ID), Yea
Roberts (R-KS), Yea
Rockefeller (D-WV), Nay
Sanders (I-VT), Nay
Schumer (D-NY), Nay
Sessions (R-AL), Yea
Shaheen (D-NH), Nay
Shelby (R-AL), Yea
Snowe (R-ME), Nay
Specter (R-PA), Yea
Stabenow (D-MI), Nay
Tester (D-MT), Nay
Thune (R-SD), Yea
Udall (D-CO), Nay
Udall (D-NM), Nay
Vitter (R-LA), Yea
Voinovich (R-OH), Nay
Warner (D-VA), Nay
Webb (D-VA), Nay
Whitehouse (D-RI), Nay
Wicker (R-MS), Yea
Wyden (D-OR), Nay

A yea vote is anti bailout. A nay vote is pro bailout.

Kay's vote was pro bailout.

I have seen peeps also try to make a big deal out of Kay saying her decision was "terrible" but I think that has to be taken out of context (link). Excerpt follows...

In a brief interview today, she called it a "terrible" decision to have to oppose the program.

"I do sympathize with the dealers and did successfully help the ones that were closed," she said. "It seems like we have got to have a responsible stop to this debt creation that I think is going to hurt the economic recovery."

Without the full quote, we can't speculate what she was talking about.

That doesn't mean that she was calling her decision terrible, she just meant that she wanted to help the dealerships keep their torrid sales pace... the program is definitely popular, definitely stimulative at some level, and definitely a favorite of auto dealerships and a lot of consumers... but not very popular with angry conservative Republicans.

An anonymous tipster who sez "You missed this story-- here are two sides to work from." and also sez "Why don't you ever talk about Debra Medina??" sent in both Kay's video attacking Rick's program and the information about Kay voting for the auto bailout earlier this year... which I had seen already but did not get to look at thoroughly until this afternoon. Thanks to him or her for the tip. If you have a tip send it to I do read every email my readers send in...

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Hey now, campaign characters. Be nice. I know a lot of you on both sides, so I don't want any overly foul language, personal attacks on anyone other than the candidates themselves, or other party fouls. I will moderate the heck out of you if you start breaking the bounds of civility.