Before the U.S. Senate votes to extend the "cash for clunkers" program, let's examine this question, which seems like a reasonable one to ask: What has it done to reduce carbon emissions?
This was, after all, one of the primary justifications that the Obama administration offered for the program. "This gives consumers a break, reduces dangerous carbon pollution and our dependence on foreign oil, and strengthens the American auto industry," President Obama said last month.
Other Democrats have touted the idea as a way to reduce CO2 emissions. Rep. John Dingell of Michigan predicted in June that the legislation "will result in meaningful reductions in vehicle fleet carbon emissions and fuel consumption." And to Rep. John Olver from Massachusetts, cash-for-clunkers will "pave the way toward a lower-carbon future." Time magazine already is calling the program a "green success."
Hundreds of thousands of people around the country are flocking to car dealerships, eager to rid themselves of their "clunkers" in favor of newer, sleeker, more fuel efficient alternatives – with government help of course.
But as those people drive off the lots, ensconced in new car smell, a question lingers: what happens to all the clunkers? According to a Wall Street Journal report Tuesday, the answer is simple – government-ordered execution. Death by sodium silicate.
Before dealers can get their hands on government reimbursements for the rebates they've been doling out to qualified car-owners, they must agree to "kill" the clunkers so they never see the road again. And that has to be done in accordance with an extensive government outline, which calls for the engines to be drained of oil and filled instead with two quarts of sodium silicate.