Get Old Cars Off the Road, Boost the Economy

An op-ed in Sunday’s New York Times by Alan Blinder suggested the notion, previously discussed by Jack Hidary, a panelist at this coming Friday’s Green Project event, and NDN Green Project Director Michael Moynihan, that the government should offer incentives for Americans to get their old cars off the road as part of an economic stimulus.

ECONOMISTS and members of Congress are now on the prowl for new ways to stimulate spending in our dreary economy. Here’s my humble suggestion: "Cash for Clunkers," the best stimulus idea you’ve never heard of.

Cash for Clunkers is a generic name for a variety of programs under which the government buys up some of the oldest, most polluting vehicles and scraps them. If done successfully, it holds the promise of performing a remarkable public policy trifecta — stimulating the economy, improving the environment and reducing income inequality all at the same time.

For how this idea, which helps the environment and the economy at the same time, would work, read the whole article. Blinder touches on a final possible goal: helping the slumping American auto industry.

Moynihan recently proposed a number of other green stimulus ideas, including federal support for soaring demands for public transportation in cities and states already facing shortfalls, tax credits to Americans to winterize their homes before the winter heating season, and funds for workforce housing for teachers, police officers, firemen, and the like who are being heavily affected by gas prices as many live far from the community in which they work.