Saturday, November 07, 2009

$13.56 for each gallon of gas saved under Cash for Clunkers program

An estimated 125,000 new cars were purchased under the Cash for Clunkers program that would not have otherwise been purchased.

The average difference in gas mileage between the clunker that was traded in and the new car was 2 mpg.

The average driver drives 15,000 miles per year.

If the clunker was getting 15 mpg, it would have taken 1,000 gallons to drive those miles. If the new car gets 17 mpg, the car would require only 882 gallons for a savings of 118 gallons per year. In five years the savings would be 590 gallons per vehicle. For the net 125,000 new vehicles purchased, in five years 73,750,000 gallons of gas would be saved.

The cost of the program was $1 billion dollars. This equals $13.56 for each gallon of gas saved.

Does that sound like a bargain?

Obviously there is more than one way to calculate the savings in gas and I had to make some assumptions in the above calculation. One of the most obvious objections to my calculation is that the cars will be on the road longer than five years and will continue to save fuel. However, I am assuming that if customers had not purchased these cars that they would have delayed their purchase and the future cars they would have purchased instead would have gotten even better mileage than the cars they were enticed to purchase. If, for instance, hybrids gain popularity some people who would otherwise purchase a hybrid sooner will do so later because they will still be driving the car they purchased with the cash for clunkers enticement.

Another factor to consider is that if it cost less to drive a car people may simply drive more miles. This is a variable that is hard to calculate but is realistic. With cheaper gas or better gas mileage people will probably just drive more miles. Also, of course we do not know the future price of gasoline. Higher gas prices would decrease the miles driven thus making the cost per gallon saved even higher.

Another factor to consider is that in five years some of the cars will no longer be in service, others will be the "second" family car and will be driven less miles per year than when it was newer and was considered the first family car. Some of the cars will have been traded in and be driven by lower income people and be driven considerably fewer miles per year than the average of 15,000 miles a year. Some of the cars will simply no longer be in service. So, a five-year calculation seems reasonable, but admittedly this is arbitrary.

If you want to quibble with my figures, go ahead. In any event, whether the cost per gallon of gasoline saved is $9.00 or $13.56 or $21 it is still an expensive way to reduce gas consumption and curtail CO2 emissions. If there is some fatal flaw in my logic or my math, please point it out to me.

Obviously the purpose of the program was to stimulate the economy but it was also sold as a program to reduce gas consumption and help the environment. It was a very costly environmental program.

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Friday, November 06, 2009

Clunkers: Taxpayers paid $24,000 per car

By Peter Valdes-Dapena, senior writer, Oct.29, 2009

A total of 690,000 new vehicles were sold under the Cash for Clunkers program last summer, but only 125,000 of those were vehicles that would not have been sold anyway, according to an analysis released Wednesday by the automotive Web site (link)

Comment: Can someone again tell me why this was a good idea?

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Thursday, November 05, 2009

'Cash for Clunkers' proves a real clunker.

Cash for clunkers could have hardly been a worse joke. Most often people traded their clunker for cars that only got a 1 to 3 MPG improvement over the clunker they traded in. A typical deal was trading a Ford 150 for a Ford 150s. In numerous cases people traded old cars for new cars that actually got less miles per gallon.

Not only was Cash for Clunkers not that good for the environment it hurt poor people by reducing the number of "clunkers" in the used car inventory. Very low income people who could have traded up from a really bad clunker to a not-so-bad clunker will be unable to do so. The program made "clunkers" more costly by reducing the supply.

The only argument that one could make in favor of the program is that it stimulated the economy by stimulating car sales. Even that argument is debatable. Would the money that consumers spend on cars have been spend on something else that fueled the economy just as well? How many of the sales simply occurred a little sooner than they otherwise would have? Also, many of the new car purchases were of foreign cars so the program may have helped Japan as much as Detroit. Would have a tax cut not done as much to stimulate the economy as subsidizing car sales?

The program was popular with the public who purchased cars using it. People always like free money. I, however, while still driving my old 1996 Mercury Sable am not so pleased that I subsidized my neighbor's new car purchase.

See: Cash for Clunkers plan does little for planet.

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Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Commemorating 20th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall

Reagan Foundation and Library and Heritage Foundation to Offer Live Internet Stream of Entire Conference Commemorating 20th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall, November 6, 2009

WHAT: The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library and The Heritage Foundation will commemorate the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the advent of freedom and democracy in Eastern Europe with a one-day conference on Friday, November 6, 2009, at The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California.

The entire conference, from the red carpet arrivals at 7:30 AM PT through the end of the panels at 5:30 PM PT will be streamed live on

Complete program outline (all times Pacific):

9:30 – 11:15 “Insider Perspectives on Ronald Reagan and the Fall of the Wall”
11:15 Mrs. Reagan photo op
12:00 – 1:45 “Tear Down This Wall,” address by George Schultz
2:00 – 3:45 “The Unfinished Legacy of the Fall of the Wall”
4:00 – 5:30 “Worldwide Perspectives on the Fall of the Wall”

WHO: Insider Perspectives on Ronald Reagan and the Fall of the Wall

Panelists: Ed Meese (United States Attorney General, 1985-1988), Richard Allen (National Security Advisor, 1981-1982), John Lehman (Secretary of the Navy, 1981-1987), Martin Anderson (Chief Domestic Policy Advisor, 1981-1982) and Peter Robinson (White House Speechwriter), Leszek Balcerowicz (Former First Deputy Prime Minister, Poland).
Moderator: John McCaslin (Co-host, America’s Morning News)

The Unfinished Legacy of the Fall of the Wall

Panelists: Vaclav Klaus (President of the Czech Republic), Steve Forbes (Former chairman of the bi-partisan Board for International Broadcasting), Mart Laar (Prime Minister, Estonia, 1999-2002), Lord Charles Powell (Foreign Advisor to Margaret Thatcher, 1983-1990), Richard Pipes (Frank B Baird, Jr Professor of History, Emeritus).
Moderator: Edward Lucas (Deputy Editor, International Section, The Economist)

Worldwide Perspectives on the Fall of the Wall

Panelists: Dr. Robin Harris (Heritage Foundation), John O’Sullivan (Radio Free Europe), Peter Brookes (Heritage Foundation) and Lee Edwards (Heritage Foundation)
Moderator: Matthew Kaminski (Member, Editorial Board, Wall Street Journal)

WHERE: Online streaming at

The Reagan Foundation is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that sustains the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, the Center for Public Affairs, the Presidential Learning Center and the Air Force One Pavilion. Located in Simi Valley, California, the Library houses over 55 million pages of Gubernatorial, Presidential and personal papers and over 100,000 gifts and artifacts chronicling the lives of Ronald and Nancy Reagan. It now also serves as the final resting place of America’s 40th President

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Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Paying for Praying in Health Care Bill

The Senate version of the health care bill contains a provision that would prohibit insurers from discriminating against "religious and spiritual health care." (link) This provision in the bill was designed to put Christian Science "prayer treatment" on the same footing as clinical medicine. While it may have been designed for Christian Science prayer treatment, can anyone doubt that the big televangelist will not tap this well? According the the article reporting on this, a Christian Science prayer treatment can cost as little as $20. What will the popular televangelist charge?

Who will be responsible for setting the rates for "payer treatment?" If someone can miraculously cure cancer and bill the government $1000, who will determine that that is or is not an appropriate fee? Who will decide what is legitimate "prayer treatment" and what is not? Will some government bureaucrat determine that Christian Science prayer treatment is legitimate but Benny Hinn prayer treatment is not?

The televangelist already have salaried "prayer counselors" to pray for people. I have met some of them. One of the major televangelist has part of his empire here in Nashville and had at one time over a hundred people on the payroll as prayer counselors. He still may have; I don't know. The big televangelist already have the operation and the employees. It would not take much to turn their prayer counselors into "prayer treatment providers." One can pray for people over the phone, so will "prayer treatment" have to be in person or can one deliver prayer treatment over the phone?

People who are concerned about the establishment of religion clause of the constitution and who believe there should be a wall of separation between church and state should be concerned about this little provision of the health care bill.

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Sunday, November 01, 2009

Democrats push plan to cut the deficit

By JACKIE CALMES and CARL HULSE,The New York Times, October 31, 2009

WASHINGTON — Faced with anxiety in financial markets about the huge federal deficit and the potential for it to become an electoral liability for Democrats, the White House and Congressional leaders are weighing options for narrowing the gap, including a bipartisan commission that could force tax increases and spending cuts. (link)


I am pleased that the Democrats are finally becoming concerned about the growing deficits. Ever since President Obama’s election, any time someone expressed concern about the budget deficit and the rising U.S. debt, Democrats would point out that Republicans also ran huge deficits and increased the national debt under George W. Bush.

That is valid criticism and Republican fiscal irresponsibility is one of the reasons I became a disgruntled Republican. Republicans spend hundreds of billions of dollars on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and didn't even try to pay for it and simply added the costs to the deficit. Republicans also boosted Medicare spending with the Medicare Part D program, and with No Child Left Behind, adding all of the costs to the deficit.

The fact that Republicans were irresponsible is no justification for Democratic irresponsibility. Since President Obama has taken office the budget deficit and the national debt have ballooned, dwarfing the fiscal irresponsibility of the Republicans. Admittedly, the nation faced a severe economic crisis and some emergency spending was justified. However, on top of the TARP and the stimulus package spending and the various other initiatives of the Obama administration we are now considering costly health care reform and cap and trade, which will add to the budget deficits.

We must get a handle on the deficit and the growing national debt. Simply paying interest on the debt takes a bigger and bigger chunk out of the budget making cutting the budget more and more difficult. We are like a family that is living beyond our means and financing our spending by borrowing. It is as if we were using credit cards to pay the minimum monthly payments on other credit cards. The debt just grows and grows and grows. Like the family that eventually caps out the last credit card, there may come a time when the Chinese will no long finance our excessive spending. Unlike the family that will then be forced to file bankruptcy, the US will inflate the currency and debt obligations will be repaid with cheaper dollars. I do not see how we can possibly avoid future massive inflation unless we get a handle on spending.

Maybe a bi-partisan committee to address the deficit has merit but I would have to be persuaded. My initial reaction is that the concept of a bipartisan commission “that could force tax increases and spending cuts” is a bad idea. If the Democrats are the majority on a bi-partisan committee, I have no confidence that we would see any meaningful spending cuts; instead the result would be ever increasing taxes. The bi-partisan committee would simply provide cover for an ever-increasing growth of government. As taxes consume a greater and greater share of the GNP, there will be less money in the private sector to grow the economy. Not only as a nation and as individuals do we become poorer, but also as government grows freedom diminishes. What is needed is to elect people to office who will be responsible and reduce government spending.

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1st Tuesday Meetup: Zach Wamp to be guest.


1st Tuesday is on 1st Monday but only for November!

Location: Waller Lansden, 511 Union St, Floor 27, Nashville

1st Tuesday is a always a great event. Hear interesting speakers in a room with a view, have a nice meal for a reasonable price and network with other Republican. Park cheap at 511 Union or free or cheap in the public garage beneath the library, which is less than a block away. Anyone is welcome to attend. The meeting is exactly one hour long, so you can attend and not be gone from work that long. Lunch is from Alexander's Catering and is $20 for guests, $15 for members. Membership in 1st Tuesday is only $20 a year. If you are a Republican or a conservative and in the Nashville area, you really owe it to yourself to start attending 1st Tuesday.

Come out and meet Zach Wamp and help his official kickoff of the gubernatorial campaign. See what his passion is, ask insightful questions, be attentive and get there early if you want a great meal. (link)

Zack WampWamp is an 8th term Republican Congressman from Tennessee 3rd District which is in East Tennessee and includes the city of Chattanooga. He serves on the House Appropriations Committee on the Energy and Water Subcommittee and as Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs.

He has become a leader on national issues such as alternative energy, preventive health care and global security. He is the co-chairman of the House Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus and the founder and co-chairman of the Congressional Fitness Caucus.

Zach was instrumental in forming the Tennessee Valley Technology Corridor which promotes a technology-based economic development agenda.

A Chattanooga native, Zach spent 12 years as a small businessman and commercial real estate broker before being elected to Congress.

For more information about Zack Wamp and his campaign for Governor visit ZackWamp

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