Thursday, September 03, 2009
Documenting the destruction: Obama’s slaughter of top quality used cars about to commence en masse
Do people know that most 2009 models qualified for vouchers? Democrats define “clunkers” the way Islam defines those in need of subjugation. If it is not a “green” vehicle then it is by definition a “clunker” whose demise is not to be mourned, but is to be paid for and celebrated. (Check here whether Democrats would pay for the destruction of your prized possession.)
You see a one year old crew cab Tundra, capable of hauling your business and your family and think, “what wouldn’t I do to keep that $40,000 workhorse from destruction.” Democrats see the same vehicle and think, “I would gladly pay $4,500 of other people’s money to drop that affront to my eco-religion into the crusher.”
2009 Tundra qualifies. So does every new 6 cylinder Toyota pickup, including the smaller Tacomas.
1 acre out of 1500
To document one corner of the car-slaughter that is now underway, I took pictures of every one of the full acre of “clunker” trade-ins at Fremont Toyota. Out of the 450 cars in this lot, hardly a dozen even have a dent (click pic for slideshow):
A Freemont Toyota executive offered an insight why so many of the doomed cars are in immaculate condition. He told me that an unusually small number of Cash for Clunkers participants bought on credit. These were mostly “conservative older people,” he said, the cautious frugal types, bringing in their lovingly cared for 15 or 20 year old cars and paying with a check.
1500 acres of mostly top-quality used cars. This cream of the used car market would have been sold to less wealthy folks who now will face a much tighter and more expensive used car market.
"The $3,000-to-$5,000 car is just gone."
Good for Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn for speaking up. From USA Today:
Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., called that provision [to destroy the trade-ins] "nuts" during debate in the Senate last week. He said that in his state, one trade-in had less than 10,000 miles on the odometer. "We're going to destroy the opportunity for somebody less fortunate to have that automobile," he said.Albama used-car dealers say prices to them have gone up about a thousand dollars (retail will go up more):
Used car dealers agree. They say fewer older cars are at auction.
Too few older cars at reasonable prices could put some dealers out of business, says Tim Swift, general manager of the Corry Auto Dealers Exchange, an auction operation for dealers in Corry, Pa.
"It's was tough finding them before, and now, it's even worse," says Mike Williams, owner of Auto Wise in Shelbyville, Ky. "The $3,000-to-$5,000 car is just gone."
“I bought 20 Ford Fusions from a wholesaler about 3 weeks ago,” Watkins said. “This car has now gone up over $1,000.”Manheim Consulting tracks the used car market. They don’t yet have figures for August (Cash for Clunkers began in late July and ended August 24th), but they do have some anecdotal information:
.... “They’re going to be up $500 to $1,000 more, and probably $1,500,” said Selman, who deals in used vehicles for under $10,000. “What will be out there will be so high I can’t buy them.” [Hat tip Max Kuenkel.]
A cursory look at the vehicles already being traded-in under the program, as well as discussions with dealers, indicate that the majority of the vehicles deemed "clunkers" would have, absence the program, eventually been retailed by dealers catering to the deep subprime or Buy-Here, Pay-Here market.These are NOT the bottom tier of cars. What got turned in were mostly cars that dealers would keep on their second hand lots. Such cars are typically resold with substantial guarantees. In other words, dealers’ impressions were that these cars not only look sharp, but would check out as reliable, just as I heard from Fremont Toyota.
“He wanted the fun of participating.”
I also visited Capitol Toyota in San Jose, where an employee offered another insight into the high quality of the cars being turned in. He was amazed at the number of $5000 to $7000 vehicles that people were taking $3500 to $4500 for. “Some just didn’t want the hassle of getting their car smogged and selling it on ebay or whatever,” he told me, while others “wanted to support the program.” He mentioned one guy who turned in a low mileage Lexus LS400 in primo condition that would easily have brought more than $10,000. The dealership itself would have given him substantially more than the $4500 Cash for Clunkers voucher, but the guy believed in the program and “wanted the fun of participating.”
Instead of letting his fellow countrymen buy his better-than-perfectly-good used car, he would rather take taxpayer money to destroy it. We are talking here about the absolute epitome of human manufacturing. The $50,000 price of an LS400 reflects the year of unprecedentedly efficient labor, divided among thousands of individuals, that goes into crafting one of these beauties.
Here is one of the more typical LS400 trade ins:
One of several at Capitol Honda in San Jose. (Click pic for mini-slideshow. I photographed the whole lot, but lost most from a battery glitch.) There were a bunch of LS400s at Fremont Toyota too.
Car slaughter vs. people slaughter
The loss from slaughtering cars is not comparable to the loss from slaughtering people, but the mental process that approves this wanton destruction is the same. The only value that the Communists in Cambodia accounted was value that served Communist ideology. Everything heterodox got valued at zero, or negatively, as an enemy to be dispatched. Hence, kill all the educated people.
The green religionists are the same. They have an ideology of how people should behave, and everything heterodox is valued at zero, or negatively, as an enemy to be dispatched. Hence, destroy all the cars that are big enough to fit the needs of most people. If it is not a Prius or a Scion or some other green sacrament, the world will be a better place without it. Democrats will actually PAY to get rid of it, regardless of the value of the service it provides.
Real morality consists in husbanding and following all evidence of value, then accounting the resulting discoveries of value wherever they are enough at stake to be worth accounting. It is this accounting of value that tells one how to act for most value. The communist/Democrat mental process is the opposite. They don’t start with value (the value of a person’s life, or the services provided by a car). They start with their presumptions about what is to be done, and simply refuse to account the value of anything that stands in their way, or they account it negatively BECAUSE it stands in their way.
Cash for Clunkers is the same KIND of evil as Communist mass murder, just applied to something that is important to people, instead of to people themselves. The refusal to account the value of what they destroy is the same. And of course it WILL hurt people. It does not by itself kill anyone, but it will take a couple thousand dollar bite out of the welfare of a half million less-prosperous Americans (or a lesser bite out of several million less-prosperous Americans, adding up either way to the value of the cars destroyed).
That is a big hurt for a lot of people and some will indeed lose their grip on the economic ladder because of it, especially as Obama’s intentionally-created anti-energy recession deepens.
Cash for Clunkers is just the tip of the iceberg. Obama wants to wreak the same wanton destruction on an economy-wide scale, destroying our present "dirty" energy economy so he can replace it with his preferred "clean" energy economy. Think a comparison between destroying things and destroying people is far-fetched? You won't once you see how many "things" Obama destroys: basically our entire established energy infrastructure, and without energy there is no prosperity, no modernity, just the radical contraction of civilization that green leaders so fervently desire.
Midwest Jim has some pertinent quotes from Obama's "green jobs czar" Van Jones: ‘Green Jobs’ Goal is ‘Complete Revolution’ Away From ‘Gray Capitalism’
As Dick Morris notes, if cap-and-trade becomes law, green czar Jones "would be in charge of basically deciding how American manufacturing could cope with the need to reduce carbon output, which firms lived and died."
Jones is gone from the White House now, but he will still be funneling "green jobs" money. As Phil Kerpen writes in the New York Post:
...the stimulus' "green jobs" provisions funnel federal tax dollars to unions, green groups and community organizers...i.e. to radical leftists like Van Jones.
Priusts and Sciontists
The eco-religionists are not real priests and they are not real scientists. Theirs is a dishonest religion, justified by utterly unscientific claims of dangerous CO2-driven global warming. As my noted in my last post, solar activity accounts statistically for 60-80% of global temperature variation on all time scales, and anyone can verify it in a couple of minutes (just follow the links), yet the alarmists build it into their models that solar activity has a much smaller impact on temperature than CO2.
The graph below shows how the IPCC models are parameterized. CO2 is much more powerful than solar activity BY ASSUMPTION, the opposite of what the statistical evidence says, and the opposite of what the scientific method requires. Data is supposed to take precedence over theory, not vice versa.
From theIPCC’s 4th Assessment Report (figure 2.4 on page 39 of the Synthesis Report). The only solar activity variable that is included in the IPCC models is "solar irradiance" (usually called TSI, or Total Solar Irradiance). As you can see above, it is parameterized to have 1/14th the effect on global temperature that CO2 does (0.12 vs 1.66), when we know that solar activity is in fact the dominant driver of global temperature, accounting statistically for 60-80% of temperature variation. So CO2, 14 times more powerful according to the IPCC, accounts for 980% of temperature variation? Hey, it's Scionce.
Actually, there is no statistical evidence that the human contribution to atmospheric CO2 has any effect on global temperature at all. We know theoretically that it should have SOME heat-trapping effect, but it seems to be too small to show up in the data. Parameterizing this unobservable effect at 14 times the strength of the known primary driver of global temperature is pure anti-scientific fraud. As Fred Singer put it recently:
…by focusing only on TSI [the latest IPCC report] disingenuously considers solar influences on climate to be insignificant when compared to the forcing by greenhouse gases.What other solar variable should the IPCC be looking at? The sun's magnetic field strength (the solar magnetic flux), and the solar wind of ionized particles that ride the sun's magnetic field (blasting towards the planets at millions of miles per hour). Here are some Google-translated quotes from the man himself, Henrik Svensmark, on what the IPCC refuses to account.
[The IPCC] only include changes in solar radiation ... too small to cause climate change, but so has closed his eyes for a second much more powerful way the sun is able to affect Earth’s climate. In 1996 we discovered a surprising influence of the sun – its impact on Earth’s cloud cover. High energy accelerated particles of exploded stars, the cosmic radiation, are helping to form clouds.Svensmark's advice? “Enjoy global warming while it lasts,” because, with solar activity headed back down (and presently at a nadir), “global warming stopped and a cooling is beginning.”
When the Sun is active its magnetic field shields better against the cosmic rays from outer space before they reach our planet, and by regulating the Earth’s cloud cover the sun can turn up and down the temperature. High solar activity obtained fewer clouds and the earth is getting warmer. Low solar activity inferior shields against cosmic radiation, and it results in increased cloud cover and hence a cooling. As the sun’s magnetism has doubled its strength during the 20th century, this natural mechanism may be responsible for a large part of global warming during this period.
Of course Svensmark's cosmic-ray/cloud theory could be wrong. It could be that the solar wind has some other not yet understood ways of affecting our climate, or it could be that some mechanism is amplifying TSI effects (in which case it is the IPCC's parameterization of TSI that is wrong).
What we know for certain is that the IPCC's parameterization of ALL solar effects as having one 14th the impact on global temperature that changes in CO2 have had is utterly rejected by the data, which shows solar activity driving MOST temperature change, while any effects from human production of CO2 are unmeasurably small, or at most, nearly unmeasurable.
Can the destruction of the used-car market still be stopped?
The ironies are tragic. Here is the Governator, signing used vehicles for the State of California to auction off in a pathetic attempt to toss a single bucket of debt overboard while 40 ft. waves of debt crash over the gunnels. California’s two or three hundred acres of top quality Cash for Clunkers trade-ins, on the other hand, could be auctioned off for real money, enough to actually help the state’s budget while at the same time leaving the citizenry flush with inexpensive quality cars. People's productivity would be enhanced, and the money they save on used cars could be spent elsewhere in California's beleaguered economy.
Where are the advocates for such common sense? Walled off from most Americans, unfortunately.
Every elite institution in America today is controlled by the Democrats: academia, the mainstream media, the charitable foundations, the professional organizations, the public unions, the private unions, both houses of Congress and the presidency. All of them accept the lie that in order to save the planet from CO2, humanity and modernity must radically contract, a liberty-hating ideology every bit as ambitious as Nazism and Communism.
America pays thousands of professors to teach moral philosophy, yet faced with this latest society-wide eruption of moral perversity masquerading as moral rectitude, our professional moralists are silent at best. The only audible voices are riding the global warming bandwagon. Is there a single moral philosopher alive today who is not morally oblivious?
If you have a free hour, think about taking your camera to any nearby auto dealer to photograph the cars that are about to be destroyed. The decimation of America’s used-car market won’t be felt until after the hundreds of acres of non-clunker turn-ins have been destroyed, but if we can’t stop this crime we can at least document a little bit of it, to remind our impoverished future what a glory we once had: the best used car market ever seen.
At least we can take some consolation that we are only destroying 700,000 cars, unlike Germany, which destroyed 2,000,000, starting from a much smaller base. That’s okay. They’ll just make a new car their next welfare entitlement, then they won’t need a used car market. Show us the way Germany. We’ll corkscrew in behind you.