“Cash for Clunkers” Is a Glorious Success! (Pause for Laughs), or, Why The Daily Show Just Isn’t Funny Anymore

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

It really isn’t. He’s given them plenty of material, but the show just doesn’t have the same claws for Obama that it had for Bush. Even when Jon Stewart occasionally goes after Obama, it’s of the why do you have to be so awesome, Mr. President? variety. Hardy-har.

None of this is really surprising. Just disappointing.

Stewart’s interviewing skills are suffering, too. When he interviews people he disagrees with, he can be brilliant. When he interviews Democrats, he tends to sound like he’s hosting The Chris Farley Show. Last time I watched the show, Stewart was interviewing HHS Sec. Kathleen Sebelius about Obamacare. At one point, Stewart asked if, once the government is paying for more of the population’s health care, the government will take a more active role in trying to influence lifestyle choices. That’s a legitimate concern. But Stewart asked the question in his sneering “this is what the idiots on the other side are saying” voice. Sebelius replied that the government did have a financial interest in preventing smoking, obesity, and such. Stewart then damn-near made a point. He asked if preventing early death would really save taxpayers money. It actually doesn’t. But again, he asked it in a “aren’t your opponents stupid?” tone of voice, and never made Sebelius actually answer the question.

Anyway, on to the point of this post. Last night, Stewart mentioned the “Cash for Clunkers” program, and credulously and uncritically repeated the Obama administration’s line that the program as been an unqualified success. Now maybe the show has taken some real shots at Cash for Clunkers in prior episodes. I don’t watch regularly any more. Seems to me, though, there’s quite a bit of TDS sarcastic humor to be mined from all of this. You mean the government is offering people free money . . . and they’re taking it? And they’re measuring the program’s success by how many people . . . are willing to take free money? Shocker that it’s been so succesfull, huh?

There’s also the laughable idea that the government is ordering the destruction of tens of thousands of used automobiles it paid people thousands of dollars to exchange . . . for new cars that may get no more than an added four miles per gallon. And all in the name of saving energy. I’m no television comedy writer, but if they wanted to, the creative minds at TDS could certainly have gotten some mileage (sorry) out of the idea that the government’s energy savings equation looks something like this:

(all of the energy that went into making the old car) + (the energy it will take to destroy it) + (all of the energy it took to make the new car) + ($3,500) < an extra four miles per gallon!

Somehow, Stewart was only able to find humor in the program’s critics, who frankly make some pretty good points.

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Stewart might have looked to USA Today for inspiration. From the paper’s lead editorial yesterday:

From its outset cash for clunkers has been more about rewarding two politically powerful industries — automakers and auto dealers — than about promoting energy efficiency or juicing the economy.

As a way to improve mileage, the program has always been a farce. Car buyers would qualify for a $3,500 credit with trade-ins that net just four additional miles per gallon. With 10 additional mpg, they’d get $4,500. (For light trucks and SUVs the numbers are even smaller: two and five.) Since all trade-ins must get 18 miles per gallon or worse, it provides no incentive whatsoever to buy any cars getting greater than 28 miles per gallon, because that is a segment of the market where the foreign makers are strong…

As economic stimulus the program is bogus as well. The money allocated is enough to generate about 250,000 trade-ins. While that may seem like a lot, about 200,000 would have happened anyway industry experts say.If taxpayers are spending $1 billion for about 50,000 additional car purchases that comes to about $20,000 per car.

In theory, the first allocation clears out all of the people who would have traded in anyway, so any additional money could be more stimulative to the economy. That may be so. But if the best that could be said for spending another billion or two is that it won’t be wasted like the first billion, it makes for a pretty weak argument.

So far the program has actually been de-stimulative to the economy. That’s because people in the market have stalled, in some cases since February when the idea was first floated, waiting to take advantage of the sweet deal from the taxpayer.

Now, with buyers pouring into showrooms, it has created an enormous spike in demand, stretching the available inventory and removing the need for dealers to offer even the most routine of incentives.

Note to Stewart: Reverence isn’t funny. You need to decide if you’re a comedian or a shill.

Unfortunately, it looks you already have.

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204 Responses to ““Cash for Clunkers” Is a Glorious Success! (Pause for Laughs), or, Why The Daily Show Just Isn’t Funny Anymore”

  1. #1 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Used to like Stewart, but I keep thinking that he’d trample his mother to give Obama a tug job. Yes, I was going for graphic.

    Because buying clunkers with the sweat of my labor to prop up a crappy auto industry is really what capitalism is about? Oh yeah, stealing from my kid’s college fund is real funny…but then again college should be free…because the public schools suck so bad everyone will need to go to college…for those crappy jobs a crashed economy will provide.

  2. #2 |  ClubMedSux | 

    This is scary. I had pretty much this exact same conversation with my wife during the first Daily Show commercial break yesterday. Up until about a month ago I didn’t understand everybody who had been crying that the Daily Show jumped the shark, but last night it hit me like a ton of bricks. I’ve said for a while that Kilbourn was perfect for the Clinton years and Stewart for the Bush years. I’m thinking it’s time for a fresh face to keep Obama in check.

  3. #3 |  JS | 

    Come on, of course he’s partisan. He stopped being funny a long time ago anyway.

  4. #4 |  Joe | 

    zzzzz time for my stewart nap time zzzzzz

  5. #5 |  Joe | 

    Although this was just awesome…

  6. #6 |  Bryan | 

    Another reason that tree huggers should be pissed at the program. Hybrid technology is still in its infancy — or at least the toddler years. We had a population with aging cars who would have been purchasing new autos over the next 3-5 years as the hybrid technology got better and cheaper. Now we have artificially replaced the declining inventory with mostly non-hybrid cars that will have another 10-15 years of life. (Well, 7-8 years if they are American cars, but you get the point.) We’ve cut the legs right out of the exponential growth market for the new hybrid cars, in favor of propping up dying American brands and Michigan.

  7. #7 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    Stewart’s strongest stuff has always been polemic in nature.
    So when you elect a sane Administration, and logic kicks in, his weapon is effectively blunted.
    Would you rather have a warmongering, opaque,
    paranoid Administration and funny, poignant comics
    or a transparent, dedicated Administration and weak TV
    humor?

  8. #8 |  Sean | 

    “(all of the energy that went into making the old car) + (the energy it will take to destroy it) + (all of the energy it took to make the new car) + ($3,500) < an extra four miles per gallon!”

    You forgot to subtract the $1 billion lost in depreciation the second those cars rolled off the lot.

    When I was a teenager and sold my 1968 Mustang GT and bought a shiny new 486-33mhz computer, I got first-hand experience of what depreciation really means.

  9. #9 |  Sean | 

    Another point… I can pretty much guarantee not one single car salesperson or auto worker was hired from this, as everyone knows this is a temporary program. $2 billion = 0 jobs. Nice going, assholes.

  10. #10 |  Zargon | 

    Ah, there’s nothing quite like some good ole’ wanton destruction in the morning.

    Since our benevolent government isn’t paying people to simply trade-in these old cars, but rather to destroy them, the cost for college students and any other poor people to get an old but functional car is going to be heading way north. It will also influence the price of all used cars to a lesser degree, simply by virtue of there being less of them.

    But since society as a whole will clearly be made richer by taking all this valuable stuff and destroying it, I guess it’s okay.

  11. #11 |  Euler | 

    #7 is sarcasm right?

  12. #12 |  Rogier | 

    Good observations. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that Stewart is a shill, but he does show his biases more than he used to, and they skew left. And he IS getting unfunnier all the time. Pity. In his “defense,” (1) Having a lazy, incurious, faux-Texan dumbtard for president is pure comedy gold. Maybe Obama, with his aura of cool and reason (mind you, I’m not saying he’s necessarily cool and reasonable) just isn’t is as good a subject for a comedian. And (b) Stewart, no matter who was in the White House, has always been an awful, awful interviewer. Charming enough, for sure, but, unlike the rest of his show where he seeks to reveal and shed light, during his interviews he just wants to buddy up and score cheap comedy points. His questions are all over the place, and they tend to be long and poorly articulated. I find eight or nine out of his ten interviews damn near unwatchable, and incredibly unsatisfying, and often DO stop watching when Stewart announces his guest. Has nothing to do with Obama.

  13. #13 |  Elliot | 

    I’ve been saying this for years about all the talk show hosts. As comedians whose job it is to poke fun of haughty politicians, they’re only doing half the work they could (should, IMO). But this is nothing new. Back in the 90s, the jokes about Bill Clinton were that he was fat and lustful. (Norm MacDonald was a refreshing exception.) Compare that to the jokes about Republicans being Nazis, Klansmen, etc.. Lame.

    If there had been a Nuremburg trial to hold accountable those like Stalin and Mao, would people sporting Che shirts be treated like skinhead Holocaust deniers?

  14. #14 |  Nick T | 

    #7 “transparent, dedicated Administration ”

    WTF Administration are you talking about? Seriously, pay less attention.

    Radley, while your critique of this specific episode is on the mark, I kinda disagree on your overall point.

    First, your criticism of this episode is really about you being a libertarian and Stewart being a liberal. Liberals like cash for clunkers because they don’t have a problem with the government nudging the economy in different directions and basically handing money to consumers. Stewarts lack of stinging criticism of this program is based on the fact that he likes it: it gets people buying cars and (though only moderately at best) helps the environment. This is not an unreasonable position for liberal to take. Also the point of that segment wasn’t just about how great cash for clunkers is, but about how lame the criticism of it have been from people on the right – which is a very fair point. In a world where both sides tend to agree with lots of government spending, it’s not a good criticism to say the program was being taken advantage of by so many people that it ran out of money.

    Stewart has been pretty good on taking Obama to task for other things such as his failure to be transparent and failure to follow the rule of law. He has had several segments pointing out that Obamas lame speeches are really no different than Bush’s (which is a very good criticism given how many people love Obama because “he talk pretty”). I think it’s inaccurate to say Stewart is rolling over or – to borrow the motif of the first comment – lining up to cup Obama’s nuts. He’s basically been a standard liberal critic of Obama: dissappointed with investigations/rule of law problems, transparency failures, AND he even criticized the size and methods of the bailout, but he’s going to support Obama’s standard liberal agenda items.

    Once you grant Stewart his standing as a liberal, I think he’s done a very good job. I also think he’s still pretty funny.

  15. #15 |  ktc2 | 

    Last night’s TDS was exceptionally unfunny.

    It’s been on a downward spiral but last night’s just completely sucked.

  16. #16 |  Legate Damar | 

    If you missed the Barney Frank interview, then you may fail to understand why I no longer watch TDS.

    The condensed version:
    BF: I never wanted to expand home ownership.
    JS: {reads back one of his many quotes to him about how questioning the holy mission of Freddie/Fannie is tantamount to economic terrorism}
    BF: I didn’t mean to expand it to poor people.
    JS: Well, okay then. Aren’t Republicans stupid?

  17. #17 |  Dave Krueger | 

    Ok, I’ve decided to run for President, because I now see clearly how to win.

    As my first campaign promise, I plan to give everyone a $20,000 cash stimulus over and above whatever the candidate from the other party offers. Congress will rubber stamp the proposal because they area bunch of pussies.

    Since I will be an obvious shoe-in, my appointments secretary has been instructed to begin scheduling meetings with special interests immediately. Lobbyists are advised to bring their wallets.

  18. #18 |  justaguy | 

    I’m willing to give the daily show some leeway until they hit their ‘stride’

    When the tide goes against obama stronger, so too will TDS.

  19. #19 |  MattH | 

    (all of the energy that went into making the old car) + (the energy it will take to destroy it) + (all of the energy it took to make the new car) + ($3,500) < an extra four miles per gallon!

    This criticism doesn’t make sense, giving a quantity on one side of the statement and a rate on the other. I’m sure someone has done the math, but what you need to do is figure the total gas consumption if the clunker stays on the road, and extrapolate how much energy is used from that, compared to how much is used when someone upgrades to a new car. Is that Leonhard Euler who just posted above??

  20. #20 |  Mattocracy | 

    Nick T,

    I think you still kind of missed the point. Cars for clunkers has the opposite effect that Stewart wants and he has failed to realize that. Or maybe not. Honestly, if McCain were president and Cash for Clunkers was his pet program, I think Stewart would have made all the critisisms that Radley did in his post.

    Maybe Stewart feels like he can’t go after Obama for the sake of ratings. Maybe he wants to be more critical but he is afraid of losing viewers. Whatever the reason, there is a noticable difference.

  21. #21 |  Chet | 

    There’s also the laughable idea that the government is ordering the destruction of tens of thousands of used automobiles it paid people thousands of dollars to exchange . . . for new cars that may get no more than an added four miles per gallon.

    Um, yeah. Sounds like you don’t actually know anything about how gas mileage works.

  22. #22 |  Dave Krueger | 

    Also, regarding the 4 miles extra per gallon, we must keep in mind that they are speculating that only one fifth of the new car sales actually happened because the cash for clunkers program. Four fifths would have happened anyway. So, the government actually paid five times $3500 or $22,400 for each car they managed to get upgraded over and above what would have happened without the program.

    Essentially, they would have been better off buying a trainload of new high mileage cars and just given them away. At least that way they could have gotten a volume discount.

  23. #23 |  Chance | 

    I’m shocked, shocked that a comedy program staffed by liberals isn’t being as critical of a liberal president.

    I mean really, step back for a second. For the most part, who anywhere is as critical of their philisophical and political allies as they are of their opponants? Yes, I see a lot of “in the family” disagreements here on the blog, but are you really telling me that if a libertarian president were magically elected, you’d spend most of your time criticising/joking him or her on the 10% of issues you disagree with them on? Come on.

    Personally, I thought they jumped the shark long before the current administration, though there are still flashes of brilliance. I still have a warm spot for the show, but I don’t go out of my way to watch it anymore.

  24. #24 |  Steve C | 

    Radley, that’s because he doesn’t get fired up by the same things you and other libertarians do. Democratic domestic policy initiatives are for you what torture and wars of choice are for Stewart – you guys just care a whole lot about government-managed healthcare.

    Sure, you don’t like Cheney and friends, but given how close Reason is to Fox and the Instapundits of the world (Reynolds is a “libertarian” you can all do business with), it’s pretty clear you’re not really moved by issues like executive power or torture. Wiretapping though – now that’s a big deal to Reason libertarians!

    WRT healthcare, Stewart like many others probably sees a problem, sees what’s working in other countries that are like ours and probably wonders why not take those solutions seriously? He won’t follow anti-government skepticism over a cliff like the true believers around here. I’m not surprised that he’s all the sudden unfunny and a poor interviewer.

  25. #25 |  Radley Balko | 

    Sure, you don’t like Cheney and friends, but given how close Reason is to Fox and the Instapundits of the world (Reynolds is a “libertarian” you can all do business with), it’s pretty clear you’re not really moved by issues like executive power or torture.

    So how long have you been reading this site, Steve?

  26. #26 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #24 | Steve C

    …but given how close Reason is to Fox…

    LMAO!

  27. #27 |  Dave Krueger | 

    About the only good things I’ve seen on here about Fox News has to do with the blond babes they hire (and it was me who said that because I’m so shallow I could jump off the edge of a dime and free fall for a week).

    Actually, I think we may have had a good word for Judge Napolitano on occasion.

  28. #28 |  tim | 

    I watch TDS on a regular basis and he skewers Obama with the same regularity as Bush. The problem is that Obama and his cronies aren’t as completely ridiculous as Bush and his cronies are (somewhat but not completely). Are you really going to fault Stewart over that?

    And Stewerts interviewing skills have always sucked. I don’t get your point here. I usually skip em.

  29. #29 |  MattH | 

    If the talk shows are getting you down, let’s not forget it’s shark week on Discovery….

  30. #30 |  Episiarch | 

    If you missed the Barney Frank interview, then you may fail to understand why I no longer watch TDS.

    The condensed version:
    BF: I never wanted to expand home ownership.
    JS: {reads back one of his many quotes to him about how questioning the holy mission of Freddie/Fannie is tantamount to economic terrorism}
    BF: I didn’t mean to expand it to poor people.
    JS: Well, okay then. Aren’t Republicans stupid?

    I caught this episode, and this is 100% correct. I couldn’t even believe that Frank was trying to pull this shit, and then I couldn’t believe that Stewart actually called him on it, and then I couldn’t believe that Stewart just dropped it. One of the worst, most pussified interviews I’ve ever seen. Well done, Jon.

  31. #31 |  Scott | 

    There comes a point where even comedians can’t extract any more humor from the situation at hand. “Cash for Clunkers” is Bastiat’s Broken Window Fallacy, writ large and wrapped in a recycled doggie bag of eco-nonsense. The government takes money from some (and their children), gives to others, in order to destroy functioning cars and temporarily prop up the big players in one industry that still is situated in reality – ie, in the middle of great economic turmoil, caused by irresponsible government spending and interference in the marketplace.

    It is insane, and the only quibbles about it on TV are whether to spend 4 billion dollars of other people’s money, or more.

    I can’t wait for Stewart to shuck and jive when Social Security goes bankrupt in less than ten years – oh wait, sorry, I mean it will need to cash in those Treasury bonds, and we all know that’s just free money. Cash for Old People!

  32. #32 |  mrclay.org » Archive » On Cash for Clunkers | 

    [...] have to agree with USA Today’s editorial on Cash for Clunkers (via), but they don’t even mention opportunity cost. Even with the minor fuel economy savings, [...]

  33. #33 |  John Harrold | 

    I haven’t seen last nights show. You level a generalization based on a small sample size, then you admit you haven’t really been watching it. I don’t think he’s going to get the low hanging fruit that he’s been getting for the last 8 years, but he does harangue obama quite a bit. Try watching it for two weeks straight and do it during something like the Gates thing. Right now the birthers are the gift that just keeps on giving, and the continued downward spiral of the republican party is the ripe fruit that’ s already hit the grown.

  34. #34 |  jason | 

    I’m pretty ambivalent regarding both C4C and TDS, but I have to say that the USA Today editorial would be a lousy place to start. The editorial links to a press release. The press release mentions research, but provides no citations. A search of the Edmunds.com site finds lots of C4C info, but the 200,000 number only appears in a blog post that is almost verbatim press release. The post and the PR are dated 7/27, and when the CEO did his WSJ op-ed, he says they published the analysis on 7/27, so it appears the “published analysis” was the PR/blog post. “research done by Edmunds.com” sure sounds better than “numbers pulled from Edmunds.com CEO’s ass,” but I can’t find a functional difference.

  35. #35 |  JP | 

    I watched that Sebelius interview when it first aired, and frankly, the accusation that he asked his questions in his “sneering, ‘this is what the other side says'” voice is just not reasonable. I really think you heard what you wanted to hear. It’s certainly true that he didn’t go after her the same way he’s gone after, say, Jonah Goldberg, but she didn’t write a book about how everyone to the left of Ann Coulter is a Nazi. Furthermore, I think you are missing three important things: one, many people who are easily and immediately offended by a government that tortures don’t blanch as quickly at one that spends money unwisely; two, Bush was a walking disaster so easy to mock that anyone would have a hard time keeping up to par after he left office; three, most importantly, if you watch the show for a few weeks running I think you’ll see that he gives Obama and “the Left” (whatever that means these days) quite a hard time on occasion. You have to understand that the anger that built up at Bush over 8 years isn’t going to be there yet. If you are completely correct about Obama’s policies and how disastrous they will be, then by the end of term two, TDS will be back on its feet.

  36. #36 |  Andrew | 

    What about Colbert? I’ve stopped watching both since living overseas.

  37. #37 |  James D | 

    I know he doesn’t have many fans around here, but to me Glenn Beck has become the anti-Stewart with stuff like his exposure of the Orwellian language on the cars.gov website last Friday (which they took down after the outrage started making the rounds on the internet). His show is far more relevant now than anything John Stewart does (while still trying to be funny).

    I’m still amazed this hasn’t gotten more attention:
    http://www.glennbeck.com/content/articles/article/198/28836/
    (the actual quote is halfway down if you don’t care about the rest.)

    Here it is (and has since been removed from cars.gov with a disclamer “We are working to revise the language”):
    “This application provides access to the DOT CARS system. When logged on to the CARS system, your computer is considered a federal computer system and is property of the United States government… users have no explicit or implicit expectation of privacy.”
    “Any or all uses of this system and all files on this system may be intercepted, monitored, recorded, copied, audited, inspected and disclosed to authorized CARS, DOT and law enforcement personnel, as well as authorized officials of other agencies, both domestic and foreign.”
    “By using this system, the user consents to such interception, monitoring, recording, copying, auditing, inspection, and disclosure at the discretion CARS or the DOT personnel.”

  38. #38 |  ClubMedSux | 

    The government takes money from some (and their children), gives to others, in order to destroy functioning cars and temporarily prop up the big players in one industry that still is situated in reality – ie, in the middle of great economic turmoil, caused by irresponsible government spending and interference in the marketplace.

    I’m surprised nobody’s playing up the union angle to this. As a native Chicagoan who’s seen Obama up close and personal for a few years now, my biggest concern with him during the election season (back when I foolishly thought he might, you know, DO SOMETHING about the war in Iraq, the militarized war on drugs, civil liberties, etc.) was his relationship to Big Labor and the favors he would have to re-pay. Granted it was more obvious with the Card Check bill, but isn’t this just one big favor to the UAW? Or am I missing something?

  39. #39 |  Chet | 

    Granted it was more obvious with the Card Check bill, but isn’t this just one big favor to the UAW? Or am I missing something?

    Aren’t you missing the fact that you don’t have to buy a UAW car?

  40. #40 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    At least Stewart’s make-out sessions with Rachel Maddow are funny, right?

    I got an automated call last night that said “Press 1 for a message on capitalism. The United States of America was founded on capitalism.” That’s the entire message. Not sure what’s up, but something is going on.

  41. #41 |  Mary | 

    Haven’t watched the recorded DS from last night yet, so I won’t comment on it, but I agree that the Sebelius interview was lacking. I still find him hugely entertaining though.

    Perhaps I’m the idiot here, but I was always under the impression that JS considered himself more libertarian than liberal, while the conservative Colbert ‘character’ is portrayed by the Catholic Democrat Stephen Colbert.

  42. #42 |  James D | 

    Sorry Mary, but JS has come out and admitted being a liberal and admitted trying to help get both Kerry and Obama elected … in that respect, at least he is honest about his bias unlike many in the media.

  43. #43 |  Mattocracy | 

    Cash for clunkers is a waste of time and money if you want to reduce carbon emissions. That cash could have gone towards building power plants that don’t burn coal. Not that I agree the government should spend my tax dollars that way, but nonetheless carbon emissions would be reduced by a greater amount than by trying to squeeze a few extra miles per gallon from our vehicles. But instead we say we’re saving the environment so we don’t have to admit that we’re propping up corporations.

    I just don’t see how people who care about the environment haven’t figured out that their cause has been hijacked by the very people they are fighting against and that the Obama administration has been one of the avenues for it. Maybe the real environmentalists have figured it out. It would just be nice if Stewart would point that out on his show.

  44. #44 |  Steve Verdon | 

    This is just now being figured out? The guy is a huge liberal and to expect intellectual honesty is expecting alot, especially from some schlub in television. Ego the size of Montana.

  45. #45 |  Greg C. | 

    All the people I know who could really use an incentive to get a new car already drive fuel efficient cars. Our clunkers already get 30 mpg.

  46. #46 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #37 James D

    Here it is (and has since been removed from cars.gov with a disclamer “We are working to revise the language”):

    In any case, the government probably just considers that an error in wording, not philosophy.

  47. #47 |  M in Harlem | 

    He’s a lot like Dennis Miller, except funnier. They both shill for their causes from a comedy pulpit.

  48. #48 |  Chet | 

    The guy is a huge liberal and to expect intellectual honesty is expecting alot

    Somebody explain to me when it became the case that we expect our comedians to be equal-opportunity offenders.

    He tells jokes. Get over yourselves. What on Earth is wrong with you people?

  49. #49 |  Matt D | 

    There’s also the laughable idea that the government is ordering the destruction of tens of thousands of used automobiles it paid people thousands of dollars to exchange . . . for new cars that may get no more than an added four miles per gallon.

    Actually, at low values of MPG, what seem like small improvements are actually pretty substantial. Switching from a sub-18 MPG vehicle to something in the 25+ MPG range will save quite a lot of gas; more so, even, than any plausible upgrade from a 25 MPG vehicle. See http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080619142118.htm & http://sierraclub.org/transportation/clunkers/calculator.aspx for more info.

  50. #50 |  Cynical in CA | 

    Stewart is a comedic genius.

    His central joke is that any one person is smart enough to “fix the economy.”

    Ha! That joke is so hip that it goes over the head of just about everyone in the audience.

    Everyone except students of Austrian economics, that is.

  51. #51 |  Cynical in CA | 

    #8 | Sean — “When I was a teenager and sold my 1968 Mustang GT and bought a shiny new 486-33mhz computer, I got first-hand experience of what depreciation really means.”

    OMFG, that is the most depressing thing I ever read.

    Ever.

    I am weeping for your lost ’68 Mustang.

  52. #52 |  Matt D | 

    Re. Stewart–

    I’m not really sure what you expect. He’s pretty liberal, his audience is pretty liberal, and his show is pretty liberal. So, yeah, he’s going to be a bit of a partisan.

    As for the interviews–again, he’s an entertainer. To the extent that he occasionally skewers his guests, it’s because it’s entertaining to his audience. And he’s usually fairly gracious even in those cases, which is to be expected since he presumably does actually want people to continue coming on his show.

    I don’t think it helps matters any that most of the visible opposition to Obama at this point seems to be just bat-shit insane. I don’t necessarily agree with your views on Obama but they are at least more reasonable and you are at least more credible than just about any conservative media figure or politician I can think of. The low-hanging fruit here I think is still the birthers and tea-parties and freak-outs over Sotomayor’s lunch and Michelle Bachmann, etc.

  53. #53 |  Cynical in CA | 

    Oh, one last thing, and I’m surprised no one spotted this.

    The reason The Daily Show sucks now is because Steven Colbert and Rob Corddry jumped ship.

    The show is a team effort, and the team now consists of minor-leaguers.

  54. #54 |  Melvin White | 

    I’m shocked. You all are debating whether Jon Stewart and TDS are skewed toward the left and therefore have difficulty trashing an inherently idiotic left wing govt program? Well, let me splain it to you: Lefties are all trained at a very young age that all their ideas spring from the natural genius of their intellect, and that anyone who disagrees with any utopian and idealistic representation of said intellect is quite naturally R for retard, and R for Republican–which is, of course, the same thing. Stewart, SNL, and anybody else from this said group of elitist, delusional, self aggrandizing Obamacons would never give Obama a word of crap except for maybe being “too cool for school.” I mean what planet did you all travel to in the last 8 years, and was the rocket ship federally funded or privately endorsed? All hail the Mighty O–(bows in mock reverence) (Laughter!) (Laughter!) (Applause!) (Applause!)

  55. #55 |  Chet | 

    They both shill for their causes from a comedy pulpit.

    ZOMG! Won’t someone do something about the oppression of the American people by Mainstream Comedy? Won’t someone think of the children?!!!

  56. #56 |  Scott | 

    #51 Matt D

    “I don’t think it helps matters any that most of the visible opposition to Obama at this point seems to be just bat-shit insane.”

    I would argue that a stimulus policy predicated on throwing other people’s money into the gaping maw of big business to temporarily suspend reality is bat-shit insane. Obsessing about where Obama was born or if he’s really a Muslim is merely inane. The latter are legitimate targets of satire and mockery. The former is literally destroying your future.

  57. #57 |  Mojopin | 

    I keep hearing the same refrain “he’s a comedian, what do you expect.” Hell, Stewart even used the same argument when everyone was on his case over the Crossfire incident and again in his tiff with Cramer. He uses it as a defense — “Hey, lay off me, I’m just a comedian — a liberal comedian” — it gets old when he hides behond that defense after he has tried to bitchsmack REAL news reporters.

  58. #58 |  TomMil | 

    “REAL news reporters”?

    Tucker Ca lson and Paul Begala?

    Ok

  59. #59 |  Jim | 

    @57

    Well, I don’t know if I’d call Glenn Beck a “real” reporter. I’ve only seen his show maybe twice, but he’d do this disgusting thing where he’d oscillate wildly between substantive criticism and wingnuttery. The latter makes the former look illegitimate, and conservatives should shun him for the charletan he surely is.

  60. #60 |  Gain | 

    Many of us could have told you Stewart would lose his edge once Obama-Wan Kenobi’s Jedi mind trick took hold. No one mocks THEIR OWN religion.

  61. #61 |  flukebucket | 

    I don’t watch it much but I thought the part about the guy fuckin’ the horse was pretty funny.

  62. #62 |  ClubMedSux | 

    Aren’t you missing the fact that you don’t have to buy a UAW car?

    And aren’t you missing the fact that if every other car purchased under the “Cash for Clunkers” program is an American car, that’s still a pretty big boon to the domestic auto industry and, by extension, the UAW?

  63. #63 |  Jim Treacher | 

    “You need to decide if you’re a comedian or a shill.”

    He’s a shill when he wants you to take him seriously. Then, when you try to engage his argument, he falls back on, “Hey, I’m just a comedian!” He’s been getting away with it for a decade now. Clown nose off, clown nose on.

  64. #64 |  Stormy Dragon | 

    I remember and interview with another comedian (sadly I can’t remember who or where I read it) who commented that the way he knows when he’s gotten off track is when the audience stops laughing (which is an involuntary response) and starts cheering (which is a voluntary response). When the audience begins cheering it’s not because his material is funny but because it panders to their political beliefs.

    I’ve noticed a lot of cheering on TDS lately.

  65. #65 |  JohnMcC | 

    Go back to Fox then.

  66. #66 |  Mattocracy | 

    As others have stated above, I find extremely irritating that Stewart always complains about MSM not reporting real news and pushing their own biases, and then he excuses himself from the same criticism because he’s a just a comedian. What’s good for the goose and good the gander IMO.

    I just can’t help but think that to all the talking heads on TV (Stewart, Hannity, etc.) and their die hard followers, they seem to think that all criticism is equal, but some criticism is more equal than others.

  67. #67 |  Chet | 

    And aren’t you missing the fact that if every other car purchased under the “Cash for Clunkers” program is an American car

    But you don’t have to buy an American car under Cash for Clunkers. So why would “every other car purchased” be an American car? You’re not making any sense.

    As others have stated above, I find extremely irritating that Stewart always complains about MSM not reporting real news and pushing their own biases, and then he excuses himself from the same criticism because he’s a just a comedian

    This also makes no sense. Stewart is a comedian, he’s not in the “MSM”. He’s not a reporter. His job isn’t accurately reporting the news, it’s getting laughs for entertainment.

    What irritates you, I suspect, is that he’s right.

  68. #68 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Stormy Dragon nailed it!

    Laughing = OK, I’ll check it out.

    Cheering = Fucktards!

  69. #69 |  Cynical in CA | 

    Right about what, Chet?

  70. #70 |  ClubMedSux | 

    Okay, Chet, maybe this will make sense to you (with an emphasis on the maybe). Read this story: http://www.examiner.com/x-1995-Green-Car-Examiner~y2009m8d4-Cash-for-Clunkers-Ford-Focus-tops-the-list-as-most-popular-for-rebate If the government is giving people money to buy cars, and people are using them to buy Fords, then the UAW is happy. Capice?

  71. #71 |  Dude, Where’s My Cash For Clunkers Program? « Around The Sphere | 

    [...] Radley Balko [...]

  72. #72 |  Matt D | 

    If the government is giving people money to buy cars, and people are using them to buy Fords, then the UAW is happy. Capice?

    Yeah but according the linked article, the # 2, 3, 4, 6, 8 and 9 positions are foreign vehicles.

  73. #73 |  Justin | 

    Sorry Radley, you’re flatly wrong on Stewart,. Try this list of cases where Stewart slams Obama on Iraq and torture http://ta-nehisicoates.theatlantic.com/archives/2009/03/the_dishonesty_of_joe_scarborough.php

    Did you look for other examples? Here’s what I got for the first result on a google search of “Stewart criticize Obama”, http://newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2009/07/24/jon-stewart-obama-handled-gates-racism-question-stupidly (and it also talks about healthcare). In that one, just as an aside, he talks about how Obama is facing obstacles to healthcare reforms in spite of “a country that has no money.” Or again, on DADT, http://blog.indecisionforever.com/2009/05/15/jon-stewart-nails-obama-on-dont-ask-dont-tell/.

    It’s obvious that he likes Obama, but he certainly does criticism. Part of it is that his style of comedy works best with easy targets–(hence Obama’s terrible explanations on healthcare). The guy who talks about “cash for cluckers” is a more reliable target than policy proposals themselves.

    P.S. Cash for clunkers seems like a terrible idea.

  74. #74 |  Stormy Dragon | 

    One other thing I should note is that while my opinion of the TDS has slid recently, I’ve come to see Cobert as a true genius. One of Stewart’s problems is that he’s captive to his audience. Any time he does start getting even a little edgy about Obama he starts getting booed.

    Colbert, on the other, by virtue of his O’Reilly-on-steroids character gets away with a lot more biting remarks with the exact same audience because they’re willing to handwave it as part of his persona.

  75. #75 |  fwb | 

    “Sebelius replied that the government did have a financial interest in preventing smoking, obesity, and such.”

    – Just exactly to which clause in the Constitution is she alluding? Must be the freakin taxation clause cause the government has absolutely no business being in anybody’s business, health or otherwise.

    The general welfare clause applies only the gw of the entity the USA. It is NOT the gw of the People. If one believes it includes the people’s individual welfares, then the to pay the debts means the government can tax and spend to pay individual debts. And to provide for individual defense.

  76. #76 |  flyingEagles | 

    Radley….possibly a little red faced for a government program that actually worked? :)

  77. #77 |  time123 | 

    Wow, looks like you and patterico found some common ground, he made a similar point a few months ago.

  78. #78 |  Mary | 

    @ James D,
    I had remembered reading that JS considered himself an ‘independent’, which I took for libertarian leaning. Then I reread the Larry King transcript where he clearly states, “socialist or independent”. My bad. No confusing those two.

    As for voting for Obama but not really believing in the lefty way… I had lots of conservative friends who did that b/c they could not stomach the thought of McPalin, or did not believe in throwing their vote away. Being a Californian, I threw my worthless one Bob Barr’s way anyhoo, just so I could sleep nights.

  79. #79 |  Chet | 

    If the government is giving people money to buy cars, and people are using them to buy Fords, then the UAW is happy.

    Ok, but in that case, so what? People are exercising their market choice to buy those cars. CARS doesn’t force you to buy American; the UAW benefits if people do, of course, but in that case they’ve benefited only by making cars people want to buy. Try not to lose sight of the free market in your anti-union hysteria, mkay?

  80. #80 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #76 flyingEagles

    Radley….possibly a little red faced for a government program that actually worked? :)

    In the sense that all government programs consist of giving away other people’s money, they are all successful. Since the people who are ultimately going to pay for this haven’t been born yet, it’s no surprise that there are many enthusiastic supporters. The smell of something for free, whether it be stimulus packages or health care “reform”, draws greedy slobbering parasites like shit draws flies.

  81. #81 |  billy-jay | 


    #77 time123

    Wow, looks like you and patterico found some common ground, he made a similar point a few months ago.

    I expect Patterico to make a full retraction any moment now.

  82. #82 |  billy-jay | 

    Damn. Hosed my tags. Sorry about that.

  83. #83 |  Rick | 

    Since the people who are ultimately going to pay for this haven’t been born yet, it’s no surprise that there are many enthusiastic supporters.

    Amen.

    On a different note, whence all the knee-jerk Democratic commenters lately accusing this site of being a GOP-front freedom-fries subsidiary of Fox News? It’s one thing not to know what a libertarian is, or whose website you’re reading; it’s quite another to proudly carry that ignorance straight into attack mode.

    You’re on the internet, for chrissakes – at the very least, use wikipedia before you insult people. It sounds like all my dumbest lefty pals getting together to argue about who loves the President more.

  84. #84 |  Chet | 

    Since the people who are ultimately going to pay for this haven’t been born yet

    What a ridiculous canard. Compared to wasteful, excess military funding, Cash for Clunkers might just as well have a pricetag of zero.

  85. #85 |  Alas, a blog » Blog Archive » The Sound and Serious Arguments Against Cash For Clunkers | 

    [...] first serious argument Conor quotes comes from Radley Balko (a blogger I read religiously — seriously, if you’re not reading Radley, you’re [...]

  86. #86 |  Rick | 

    Anyone who criticizes the current regime is promptly accused of being in favor of torture, wasteful military spending, corrupt legislators and a secretive, unaccountable executive branch! No psychological projection here. See, all that stuff was bad, but now that Team Blue does it, it’s magically delicious.

  87. #87 |  Steve C | 

    Reason on various cable channels:

    http://video.google.com/videosearch?hl=en&safe=off&client=safari&rls=en-us&q=nick%20gillespie%20fox%20news&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&tab=wv#q=%22reason+magazine%22+%22fox+news%22&hl=en&emb=0&client=safari

    http://video.google.com/videosearch?client=safari&rls=en-us&q=%22reason%20magazine%22%20cnn&oe=UTF-8&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&hl=en&tab=wv#

    http://video.google.com/videosearch?client=safari&rls=en-us&q=reason%20magazine%20msnbc&oe=UTF-8&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=N&hl=en&tab=wv#q=%22reason+magazine%22+msnbc&hl=en&emb=0&client=safari

    And let’s take Nick Gillespie’s interview with Glen Reynolds:

    http://reason.tv/video/show/glenn-reynolds-of-instapunditc

    An excellent example of the Reason-style “libertarian” way of thinking. At one point Reynolds says “both parties are awful, but the Republicans are less bad”. This goes totally unchallenged, which I don’t exactly blame Gillespie for – it’s a friendly interview – but the statement isn’t totally jaw dropping. It ought to be jaw-dropping. I remember a Virginia Postrel article about Bush and Gore before the 2000 election with the same Reynolds line…Bush is bad but Gore is evil.

    Who would have been the more pro-liberty president in hindsight (that seems like a ridiculously simple question to me)? Would a Reason libertarian prefer a President Gore who gave us higher taxes and single-payer healthcare, or the actual President Bush who started a war of choice, brought us torture policy, and whose administration took a truly radical theory of executive power seriously? I know where Reynolds would come down on this, and he’s a Reason-approved libertarian.

  88. #88 |  ASPECTRATIO | 

    Nonsense. ‘The Daily Show’ is just as hilarious as ever with Stephen Colbert on equal par in the lampooning business. It’s not Stewart’s fault Dubya handed him superb material hourly and Obama mails it in monthly. The humor in this era is not with Obama (yet) but the conservative nutbags hell-bent on discrediting him on every front- from the time and place of his birth to attacking him for not fixing thw worst economic downturn in 70 years in five months. The best is yet to come. Sit back, open a bag of GW’s lightly salted cow chips and laugh.

  89. #89 |  supercat | 

    //Since the people who are ultimately going to pay for this haven’t been born yet, it’s no surprise that there are many enthusiastic supporters.//

    Not true. Even if there were a font of ‘free money’ to fund the program, it would still be devastating to a lot of people. In the normal course of events, the cars which are being called “clunkers” would have been sold for $2,000-$3,500 to people whose cars are even worse. Those people in turn would sell their cars to people who needed a car–any car–to get to a halfway-decent job.

    The effect (and goal) of the program isn’t to get clunkers off the road. People with the ability and inclination to buy new cars aren’t apt to keep their old cars anywhere near the point they really become “clunkers”. Instead, the purpose of the program is to destroy the cars which WOULD OTHERWISE REPLACE clunkers.

  90. #90 |  JOR | 

    “What a ridiculous canard. Compared to wasteful, excess military funding, Cash for Clunkers might just as well have a pricetag of zero.”

    Compared to sawing your balls off, shooting yourself in the foot doesn’t seem so bad…

  91. #91 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #84 Chet

    Since the people who are ultimately going to pay for this haven’t been born yet

    What a ridiculous canard. Compared to wasteful, excess military funding, Cash for Clunkers might just as well have a pricetag of zero.

    When you say military spending you must be referring to all the earmarks that were added to the last spending bill that financed projects the military doesn’t want, right? Not that my post made any attempt to justify excessive military spending…

    In any case, the idea that something is ok because someone else is doing it is the kind of logic one would expect from an elementary school child. It’s certainly not the mentality that will ever solve a budget deficit.

    The idea that there’s a threshold below which spending doesn’t count is pretty common, though. From that logic, I guess it doesn’t matter how much we spend as long as it’s in small enough increments.

  92. #92 |  Mike | 

    #49 Certainly that math provided in those links is valid but I’m not sure how it applies to a group rather than an individual. The math assumes I will drive a constant #of miles before and after the trade. I can probably agree with this, it then shows the return on investment from +4 MPG would be much better for me personally if I already drive a car with bad gas mileage.

    I’m not sure though that math could be expanded to a group. It would have to assume that the # of miles driven per year is the same for people who currently have clunkers vs those that don’t. The guy who drives a hybrid here at my workplace has a 2 hour commute everyday and probably puts 30K miles on his car every year. I drive 6 miles to get to work and I’m driving a 12 yr old beater (unfortunately/fortunately still gets about 19-20mpg and it was rated higher in its sale). Buying a car that gets +2 MPG would make more sense for the guy with the hybrid in my office than it does for me. He definately uses more gas than I do. It would make sense for me to buy a porche (assuming I could afford it) as I am immune to any gas price considerations.

    Now certainly there are idiots out there who do not think about these things and are driving loads of miles on a ford excursion everyday and can’t figure out where their money is going. But are these the people we want to encourage to take out a new car loan? Isn’t irresponsible debt what caused the current situation?

  93. #93 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #87 Steve C

    Would a Reason libertarian prefer a President Gore who gave us higher taxes and single-payer healthcare, or the actual President Bush who started a war of choice, brought us torture policy, and whose administration took a truly radical theory of executive power seriously?

    That’s like asking which nut we would rather crush with a hammer.

  94. #94 |  Two--Four | 

    [...] just hideous in its atavistic primitivity. We have the spectacle of stolen money (it’s not “free”, Radley, and you know it) being shotgun-blasted out the doors of roped-up car dealers, “targeted” (you just [...]

  95. #95 |  flyingEage | 

    It’s so funny watching you all scramble to come up with reasons why CARS is failing because it’s impossible for one, just one, government program to be mildly successful.

    We can start with Radley’s pathetic attempt at displaying the most unrealistic, worst case scenario:

    (all of the energy that went into making the old car) + (the energy it will take to destroy it) + (all of the energy it took to make the new car) + ($3,500) < an extra four miles per gallon!

    (all of the energy that went into making the old car)

    Irrelevant, that energy was used regardless if people trade their car in with or without the government voucher.

    (the energy it will take to destroy it)

    Still irrelevant, a clunker will take the same amount of energy to destroy now that it would a year from now when it breaks down.

    (all of the energy it took to make the new car)

    I guess you could argue that this program is creating demand, thus causing car manufacturers to create more cars. But then again, you also complain when the government bails out car companies for going bankrupt because — wait for it — nobody is buying their cars! Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

    an extra four miles per gallon!

    You are, of course, choosing the worst possible scenario. Let me tell you mine. I upgraded from a 15 mpg Explorer with 105,000 miles on it to a Hybrid that gets 40+ mpg. I plan to put 100,000+ miles on this new car over the next 10 years. So yea, I’m pretty sure that is some huge energy savings. I’m sure most of you “libertarians” are just closet “drill drill drill” republicans that don’t care about our energy use.

  96. #96 |  baric | 

    [i]I’m still amazed this hasn’t gotten more attention:
    http://www.glennbeck.com/content/articles/article/198/28836/
    (the actual quote is halfway down if you don’t care about the rest.)[/i]

    Maybe because it’s already been refuted as another Beck CT?

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/8/1/760538/-Beck-conspiracy-theory:-Cash-for-clunkers-site-lets-Feds-control-your-PC

    Anytime Beck makes some outrageous claim, you should wait 48 hours for a rebuttal before assuming he’s telling the truth.

  97. #97 |  Rob | 

    Here is a little fact.

    Increasing from 16 to 20 mpg saves MORE gas than going from 25 to 35…

    In fact, going from 10-12 mpg saves MORe gas than from 25-40 mpg…

    Do the math yourself, if you can…

  98. #98 |  Scott Bieser | 

    A few months ago we switched from watching TDS to watching Chelsea Lately, which occupies the same time-slot over on E! Network. Chelsea dishes on pop celebrities, not politics, but she’s still funny, and one hell of a lot easier on the eyes.

  99. #99 |  The Agitator » Blog Archive » “Cash for Clunkers” Is a Glorious … | Used Cars Online | 

    [...] the rest here: The Agitator » Blog Archive » “Cash for Clunkers” Is a Glorious … Share and [...]

  100. #100 |  Whick | 

    (all of the energy that went into making the old car) + (the energy it will take to destroy it) + (all of the energy it took to make the new car) + ($3,500) < an extra four miles per gallon!

    I am afraid this point might get lost in the noise here, but seriously, that first term in this equation does not belong there. The energy it took to make the old car is already spent, and cash-for-clunkers is not making it be respent. Later you include the energy it takes to make a new car, and that is arguably fair, but that’s the only car-manufacture energy term you may claim.

    A second counterpoint is that this is a stimulus program, and so saving someone’s job in the short term is definitely part of the real political equation. Now if you are against stimulus spending altogether, of course cash-for-clunkers is no good. If, on the other hand, you have better ideas for stimulating the economy with government spending, let us hear them.

  101. #101 |  Chet | 

    It would have to assume that the # of miles driven per year is the same for people who currently have clunkers vs those that don’t.

    People don’t get in the car and say “I’m going to drive until I’ve used a certain amount of gas.” They get in the car and say “I’m going to drive X distance to such-and-such a place.”

    Isn’t irresponsible debt what caused the current situation?

    In a word? No.

  102. #102 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #100 Whick

    Now if you are against stimulus spending altogether…

    BINGO! :D

  103. #103 |  Mike | 

    True they don’t but you can’t blanketly say that buying a new car that gets 25 MPG instead of 18 MPG will save more gas than buying a different person a car that gets 35 MPG instead of 25 MPG.

    Your correct people’s driving habits probably don’t change and the cash for clunkers program isn’t going to change on the # of miles.

    People I know that have long commutes and put a lot of miles on a car already drive cars that get 18+ MPG. However it would technically be better for the enviornment and save more gas to get them new cars than to get new cars for the people who drive trucks to my office. Now I’m not saying my office is typical either but the blanket assumption that more gas is saved by going from 18 to 25 than from 25 to 35 doesn’t apply to a group only to an individual.

  104. #104 |  Mike | 

    I would personally suspect that with the last 3-5 years of high gas prices. Most the people who put a lot of miles on their cars have already seen the light and purchased a higher MPG car as they already have major incentive todo so. So the population of people who have eligble clunkers would contain a proportionally larger number of people who don’t drive a lot of miles.

    This would make the assertion that going from 18MPG to 22MPG has a bigger effect than going from 25MPG to 35MPG suspect without additional research.

  105. #105 |  Chet | 

    However it would technically be better for the enviornment and save more gas to get them new cars than to get new cars for the people who drive trucks to my office.

    The people who drive trucks to the office probably drive more places than just the office. And again, you’re not understanding the non-linear growth, here. Going from 10 mpg to 15 saves 5 times as much gas as going from 20 mpg to 25. Do your commuters really drive 5 times the mileage of your truck drivers? I doubt it. Your truck drivers drive to the store, tow stuff, pop to the next town over for some shopping, etc. What they save in their daily commute, maybe they make up for in longer drives to the other places they need to go.

  106. #106 |  flyingEagles | 

    The people who drive trucks to the office probably drive more places than just the office. And again, you’re not understanding the non-linear growth, here. Going from 10 mpg to 15 saves 5 times as much gas as going from 20 mpg to 25. Do your commuters really drive 5 times the mileage of your truck drivers? I doubt it. Your truck drivers drive to the store, tow stuff, pop to the next town over for some shopping, etc. What they save in their daily commute, maybe they make up for in longer drives to the other places they need to go.

    Percentage wise, that is correct. However, higher mpg vehicle still will always use less gas than a lower mpg vehicle. So for every 100 miles driven, of course an upgrade from 10 to 12 mpg will save more gas (%-wise) than a jump from 25 to 35. However, the 12 mpg truck will use over 8 gallons of gas to drive that 100 miles, while the 35 mpg car will use under 3. Those are the important numbers.

  107. #107 |  Kmath | 

    I disagree with the initial inequality as well. The numbers I have seen have the gas milage increase at +9. The most traded in vehicle were old Ford Explorers and the most purchased car if a Ford Focus. With gas prices raising to $71 a barrel, I think this will help out a lot of people who have to commute for work.

    Most people bought those big cars when gas was cheap and the economy was good. Now they are looking for a way to get into a new car. This not only helped commuters, but it helped American auto workers and the environment.

  108. #108 |  Robin | 

    Stewart also covered an episode about a South Carolina man having sex with a horse, replete with sarcastic remarks about our politicians and the teen Miss S.C. and Confederate flags over the place. One little thing he forgot to mention-the man was black and probably an Obama supporter. But that wouldn’t fit the biased
    comedy bit, would it?

  109. #109 |  he lost it a while ago | 

    The Daily Show and Jon Stewart lost me and so many I know years ago. He’s become a political pundit. No fairness to his content anymore. I could laugh at the Left, the Right, the middle. Now, I have no more laughs left for a one track mind fit into a one track show.

    Just stop watching him, and give him no more attention.

  110. #110 |  Mike | 

    I completely understand the non-linear growth. It doesn’t seem like you are understanding that this is all assuming the # of miles driven is a constant. People do have different driving habits and different total miles. The point of the different calculator links/articles that have been provided has been to show that even a small increase is helpful for a family and has the biggest monetary savings. In that I do applaud them and I have to assume that at least some people have listened to them and gone through the math and realized the savings they could have.

    If people have gone through the math then there should be a greater percentage of people who drive a lot of miles running more fuel efficent cars. They work out the math and either its “Wow I could save $4000 next year and trade in thier car” or “Meh, its only a difference in $200 bucks and not worth it”. So you can’t directly use the 5 times number you are saying as people who haven’t switched to a better MPG car may well have had a reason for not switching. No doubt gas will be saved but it would be a distortion to assume that people who drive low-MPG cars have exactly the same driving habits as those who drive high-MPG cars.

    As I have said I own an old car a big stationwagon helpful (as a truck would be for hauling stuff) and it gets me to work everyday. I DONT use this car reguarly for longer drives/shopping or any of your examples. We generally take my wife’s car which gets better MPG and is newer/more comfortable. As I intentionally bought a house that is close to my workplace I put about 5000 miles/year on my car. Buying a higher MPG car would be foolish for me personally AND the enviornment for me to trade it in.

    If I were to trade it in either a) it would be destroyed thus causing +1 cars to be manufactured, or b) somebody would buy the used car and almost assuredly drive it more than I do.

  111. #111 |  Steve Stone | 

    When your own ox is being gored, it’s not a bit funny.
    But when THEIR ox is being gored, it’s hilarious.

  112. #112 |  muffler | 

    Stewart is a freakin’ comedy show. There are good days and bad days. Some days I laugh and other days I don’t … big deal. I do have to admit that the Bush administration provided more comedy material and over 8 years the stuff wrote itself. I figure Obama will also provide material, but after only 6 months I think you all have expectations of instant reciprocity.

  113. #113 |  sub | 

    the worst part of stewart is that he’d like to think that he’s fooling us, that he’s still a sharp witted critic of politicians, generally. in fact, he’s practically panting for the opportunity to give Dear Leader a rim job. amazing how entertainment liberals can be so insanely full of it. they’re worse than any other breed….

  114. #114 |  DenverInfidel | 

    Sancitmony is always the death of satire. TDS was great in its time, but Stewart has become unbearable.

    Re: cash-for-clunkers – so stupid it borders on criminal. It is a program that destroys the supply of cheap transportation for the working poor so people earning $50k+ can buy cars they would have bought anyway.

    Destroying functioning, usable assets in order to create wealth. Pure genius.

  115. #115 |  Ross | 

    Anyone remember Arsenio Hall and Clinton?

  116. #116 |  jpdog5 | 

    I always found him to be like Howard Stern, you must watch/listen for an hour to get 10 minutes of truly creative humour.
    Mostly Stewart just panders to the I hate Bush/I now love Obama crowd.
    Because that crowd never wants to examine the facts (Bush Lied…)
    or ( Real Change….) Stewart is a perfect Man of mostly nonsense.

    It is a shame because he is talented, he needs to work a little bit harder.

  117. #117 |  David | 

    4 miles per gallon not accurate

  118. #118 |  AK | 

    “I keep hearing the same refrain “he’s a comedian, what do you expect.'”

    This is known as “clown nose off, clown nose on.”

    If Stewart actually has a legitimate point to make, he demands to be treated seriously. But when challenged, the clown nose goes back on, and he’s just a comedian! Don’t take me so seriously!

  119. #119 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #105 Chet

    Going from 10 mpg to 15 saves 5 times as much gas as going from 20 mpg to 25.

    Not to pick nits, but it saves 3.3333 times as much, which means you’re off by 50%.

  120. #120 |  No_Civil_War | 

    Um . . . don’t you know that partisans don’t have a sense of humor?

    One of the funniest movies of all time, The Life of Brian, is despised by a significant number of people who can’t get over the fact that it makes both partisans and fundamentalists look ridiculous. Stewart started the segment by poking at exactly what you’re queefing about: the whole bribing people to go out and buy crap (“cash for dunkers, spelunkers, etc.) — but his whole shtick is letting idiots out themselves, and surveying the criticism of the program as being “too popular” and demonstrating mismanagement was too ridiculously fat of a target. It was a tiny step to tie in the tinfoil hatters who somehow think that government — which is accountable to voters — isn’t the only hope we have of saving ourselves from interests in the private sector who’d have entrenched themselves as a legitimate ogliarchy (instead of the subversive one responsible for the anti-government propaganda the special-interest owned media swamps us with.

    Yeah — people who expose our partisanship as ludicrous don’t get much applause from the fringes. I’m sure your view is shared by the woman who spoke at Sebelius’ town hall whom Stewart linked to the fireball who erupted at Mike Castle’s town hall two weeks ago (“Do they have one of these in every town?”). My point is that maybe it’s not that Stewart is less funny (Last week’s segment “Douching with the Stars” was among the shows best ever). It may just be a sign that you’re watching too much TV . . .

  121. #121 |  Mike | 

    Found an interesting study to provide evidence that you can’t just use the simple math here to determine the usefulness from a gas savings perspective by the C4C progam in a general sense.

    People with Hybrids drive more:
    http://blogs.thecarconnection.com/marty-blog/1022235_hybrid-drivers-more-ticket-and-accident-prone

    This naturally implies people without hybids drive LESS, as I don’t believe there are any hybrids that get less than 18 MPG you should be able to safely say that the group of cars being replaced by C4C are driven less than their non-C4C counterparts. So the straight savings formula being used isn’t correct at a larger scale.

  122. #122 |  Laughing Liberal | 

    Why do righties get so upset over John Stewart, when none of you even bother to watch his show? It’s like lefties getting upset over Glenn Beck, which none of them watch either. Why do you care?

    BTW – Most good comedians are moderate to liberal (Lenny Bruce, Carlin, Pryor) because so much of their routines comes from making fun of the institutions uptight silly right wingers are falling all over themselves to defend (religion, the military, etc).

    Conservatives just aren’t funny. I defy anyone on here to name three funny right wingers. Ain’t easy is it?

    The only thing a conservative, (Dennis “Douchenozzle” Miller anyone?), would be funny in is a burning car.

  123. #123 |  Lou | 

    I was basically done with Stewart when he went off on Mad Money Cramer. Jim Cramer is an entertainer and is a major Wall Street pimp. I don’t expect someone like him to be responsible for reporting on an economic collapse only a few really saw coming.

    Stewart seems to want the best of both worlds – be taken seriously as a news guy but continue his comedy act. Too bad he can no longer pull it off.

    I would much rather watch Colbert. He gets away with the pomp and pretense in the guise of a character and it works well.

  124. #124 |  Hummer | 

    http://www.edmunds.com/cash-for-clunkers/new-car-candidates.html#h

    2009 HUMMER H3T 3.7L 5cyl 5M 4WD Category 2 Truck

  125. #125 |  G-A-B-E- | 

    The matter of this plan it’s to restart the died detroit and the usless 400 hp cars to go to mcdonals for a cheseburger.

  126. #126 |  Belmontian201 | 

    Refreshing to see others’ comments on Jon neither being relevant nor funny anymore. He started believing his own press, apparently. Funny, I’ve not heard much about the other guy… uh, whathisname whose show follows Stewart’s.

  127. #127 |  JohnR | 

    Stewart does satire and has never been a really “ha ha” funny type of comedian. And, he’s always been very Left of Center, so we shouldn’t be surprised that his stuff has grown tepid now that there are fewer highly visible Right wing bogeymen to take shots at.

    Like Bill Maher (another unfunny comedian who has embarked on a mission to destroy the eeevil Republicans and push Obama as far Left as he can), Stewart’s stuff has grown quite old. IMO these guys don’t really influence opinion anyway; they reflect it. The people who watch them already agree with their views and only watch to hear their own opinions parroted back at them.

  128. #128 |  Phil | 

    He hasn’t been funny for a long time. Occasionally he is, but about 80% of the time he is trying to be the “guy that pretends to be the neutral comedian, but is really an extreme partisan”. It comes across in everything.

    When he makes fun of people it’s funny sometimes. But his sneering, hissing attacks on anything that is conservative, even being fiscally conservative is getting to the point where it is ridiculous. His views are more Partisan than 85% of the country, yet he tries to pretend they aren’t by occasionally putting a small non-political criticism of a Democrat.

    I mean you have Henry Waxman’s resemblance to a pig, Nancy Pelosi’s botox, Tim Geithner, Robert Gibbs etc these people are walking caricatures more extreme than any in the Bush administration, yet John Stewart seems more likely to give them a cushy interview and parrot their talking points, then make the slightest joke about them.

    In a recent show he spent more time making fun of a former republican city councilman from a small town in South Carolina, then he did the entire Democratic party. This is how much he has to dig in order to find material.

    Just so everyone knows I did like his show at one point, but that was a *long* time ago. When he started trying to shove the political talking points of a major US party in a comedy show, I got digusted with 80% of what he joked about.

  129. #129 |  Cat | 

    I bought a new car in May – a Chevy the day before they filed for bankruptcy – I got a good deal, traded in my 10 year old car – I went to the http://www.cars.gov website to see if I got screwed by buying a new car too early – well it’s seems by 1999 4 cyl Grand Am does not qualify for the program. You MPG average has to be 18 or less, which means unless you are driving a truck/mini-van or a huge sedan you are not getting crap – so why reward the folks who do the wrong thing and bought a car that gets bad gas mileage while the people who do the right thing get screwed (and have to pay for the stupid people!). I’m tired of the government taking my money and giving it to people who buy poor mileage cars, buy a house they can’t afford, and give money to banks who then turn around and raise my rates and change the rules to make my life more difficult.

  130. #130 |  Brad | 

    Jon doing the heavy policy lifting for Democrats; that not funny that’s justice

  131. #131 |  Scott | 

    #95 FlyingEage

    “It’s so funny watching you all scramble to come up with reasons why CARS is failing because it’s impossible for one, just one, government program to be mildly successful.”

    You stupid fuck. Stealing money from some to give to others will ALWAYS be successful in the short-term. That’s not the point.

  132. #132 |  sofunny | 

    because you guys are so desperate. You lost, and the guy we elected is fixing the problems you created. And it’s working. That must be unbearable for you.

  133. #133 |  Stain | 

    Like the teabagging wingnuts posting here even watch the show. This article was linked to from RCP, which is a clearinghouse for rightwing talking points.

  134. #134 |  Noreen | 

    Stewart was NEVER funny — except to those suffering from BDS (Bush Derangement Syndrome) and their dupes who wanted to look “cool”. Ditto for Letterman who never impressed me as even mildly amusing. Both S & L are bores.

  135. #135 |  Bill | 

    Anymore?? When was he funny?

  136. #136 |  Stainball | 

    Teabagging Bush-voters trying to define what’s funny! That’s funny.

  137. #137 |  Chet | 

    Not to pick nits, but it saves 3.3333 times as much, which means you’re off by 50%.

    Are you looking at the graph I posted? 10 to 15 mpg saves 500 gallons over 10,000 miles; 20 to 25 saves 100. Or so. It’s hard to tell on a graph with no grid lines.

  138. #138 |  Hap | 

    @ chet

    That’s the point if your going to be a comedian then tell Jokes. If your not going to tell jokes because your not willing to ridicule your own beliefs for a LAUGH then you not doing that. Not telling Jokes = not funny which was the point of the article. Just because you like JS and agree with him doesn’t make that untrue. So get off your soapbox “Get over yourself” and perhaps try reerading the article.

    @ Yizmo Gizmo

    I don’t know how to say anything to you that wouldn’t sound rude. But are you really saying you don’t think he’s that talented? I for one think there are plenty of talented comedians that could find funny things to say about the current administration. Making fun of stuff is kind of what they do.

  139. #139 |  Chet | 

    It doesn’t seem like you are understanding that this is all assuming the # of miles driven is a constant.

    It is a constant. People don’t drive substantially more just because they get a more efficient vehicle. People’s driving habits just aren’t that flexible.

    <i.So you can’t directly use the 5 times number you are saying as people who haven’t switched to a better MPG car may well have had a reason for not switching.

    Maybe they can’t afford it. Maybe they can afford an extra $50 in gas every month, but can’t afford $20k all at once. Maybe the CARS program gets them into the car they always wanted but couldn’t quite afford.

    I know that’s what’s going on around here; suddenly having quadruple the trade-in value on my old hand-me-down SUV makes the math a lot more affordable. With any luck I’ll be in a much more efficient car in a few weeks. (We’ll see.)

    If I were to trade it in either a) it would be destroyed thus causing +1 cars to be manufacture

    Is that really how you think it works? Your car gets scrapped, and a signal is sent to Ford to roll exactly one new car off the line? WTF is wrong with you people?

  140. #140 |  Chet | 

    If Stewart actually has a legitimate point to make, he demands to be treated seriously.

    Can a comedian not make a serious point? I don’t understand the criticism, here.

  141. #141 |  Faldo | 

    Yes, Jon Stewart jumped the shark as soon as Obama got elected. Early on he tried an Obama joke and his audience is so partisan that they did not like it. I think right then he and his writers decided they could not poke fun at the Chosen One despite the fact that there is a ton of material. Its too bad, it used to be a great show.

  142. #142 |  INTJ | 

    Stewart was never particularly funny, but now that his team is in power, he isn’t cracking any jokes. Bill Mahr (who, once upon a time, was hilarious, back when he didn’t care which side he skewered) is in the same boat. They won’t survive in the Obama era, if they’re afraid or unwilling to poke fun at power.

    Now, as for the C4C program, based on the numbers we have, we can infer that roughly half the trade-ins were for a 4 MPG upgrade(I will assume the 18 to 22 MPG boost for this discussion), and roughly half were a 10 MPG upgrade (assume 18 to 28). Now, assuming that it is true that 80% of those cars would have been turned in anyway, and that the average new car will travel roughly 50,000 miles that the old car otherwise would have traveled – I am generous here – we find that the new cars will save 37.4 million gallons of gasoline over the old ones (which amounts to about 0.1 days of Americans’ average use). If we triple the C4C money, and get nothing but trade-ins that would not otherwise happen, the new cars will save, over their lifetime, 411.7 million gallons, or about 1.1 days of gas, just 0.30% of one year’s consumption.

    Now, if someone can factor in the energy utilized to manufacture the 550,000 newer cars that we’re trying to push into the system, plus the energy required to destroy all 750,000 trade-ins, and factor in the effect of the temporary boost in car sales and another $3 billion in hock on the price of borrowing and the economy, plus the future taxes required to pay this off plus interest, we’ll know exactly what the net “benefit” of this program is to America.

  143. #143 |  Mack | 

    Well, my problem with the cash for clunkers program was two-fold:

    1. I thought dealers would find a way to game the program through straw purchases or fudging on the registration trail. Car dealers are crooks, by and large, and i made a lot of money in the car business, so I know a little something about it. Surprisingly, the administration rigged the reporting system to participate so that fudging was impossible. The car had to be what they demanded, and the paper trail couldn’t be off a single day. I saw this first-hand.

    2. The other concern was that the dealers would do something they did during the “lease” craze that occurred in the 90s…. steal from the trade. Say your car is worth 2000 dollars in real cash. Dealers are very, very good at knowing what a car will bring on the market, wholesale or retail. So, when you go to trade, they tell you that your trade is now worth 5000! (Including the cash from the Govt) So, essentially, depending on the car you bought, they have made 500-1500 for just taking your car in trade. I’ll be watching to see how many of these clunkers wind up on BHPH lots or at public auctions….

    Other than that, I like the idea of helping over-leveraged dealers move some inventory….once. This keeps all of the ancillary markets moving as well.

  144. #144 |  INTJ | 

    “Isn’t irresponsible debt what caused the current situation? In a word? No.”

    Of course it is. The credit bubble was caused by too-easy access to credit by people who couldn’t afford it, both in housing and in consumer debt. You can argue that lenders shouldn’t have lent it, you can argue consumers shouldn’t have borrowed it, you can argue government should have stopped it, or you can argue some combination of the three, but you cannot argue that over-borrowing is not what brought down America’s house of cards.

  145. #145 |  Mandy | 

    Probably Democrats do not offer the same possibilities for satire as do republicans. That is one of the differences between the reality-based community and drooling ideologues.

  146. #146 |  Nigel Johns | 

    #95 | flyingEage |

    I’m sure most of you “libertarians” are just closet “drill drill drill” republicans that don’t care about our energy use.

    Congrats on the new hybrid! We are all thrilled to help pay for it. And thanks for finally giving a crap about energy use. 15 mpg on your Explorer??? Now that you’ve dumped the gas guzzler…feel free to start judging…and go enjoy an $8.00 cup of joe at your next poetry reading.

  147. #147 |  Tanner | 

    but mr.president, why DO you have to be so awesome?

    the ridicule has been directed towards the right wing nuts like glen beck, oreilley and limbaugh. oh and the uninformed tards who scream fallacy in ” town hall meetings “. if you really want to make the show less funny, just stop being stupid right wingers…………

  148. #148 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #111 Chet

    Are you looking at the graph I posted? 10 to 15 mpg saves 500 gallons over 10,000 miles; 20 to 25 saves 100. Or so. It’s hard to tell on a graph with no grid lines.

    Nope. I didn’t look at a chart. I did the math.

    10,000 miles at 10 mpg = 1000 gallons.
    10,000 miles at 15 mpg = 667 gallons
    difference is 333 gallons

    10,000 miles at 20 mpg = 500 gallons
    10,000 miles at 25 mpg = 400 gallons
    difference is 100 gallons

  149. #149 |  HT | 

    I think the posters here probably underestimate Jonny’s self-interest in all this. He cants left during the lead-up to the election so that for a time he gets both his regular viewers plus all the Krazy Kos Kids and “re-birthers,” who need to find out whom they are all supposed to hate this week. Eventually the regulars (like me) tune out for good, but in the meantime he takes the ratings spike to the bank in the next contract cycle. So basically it does not matter to him that he is becoming another Bill Mahe–yawn–and besides, he lives in a narcissistic liberal echo chamber anyway. He probably is planning to run for the Senate, the last refuge of boring, unfunny, self-important, depraved, communist ex-comedians.

  150. #150 |  Wassup Dumbasses? | 

    John Stewart is making jokes about all of you “Regressives”. For those of you with the mental capacity to even understand the joke, how could it be good? it is on you!

    For the rest of you Regressives (most of you) who dont even understand what is going on, just switch back to Fox news and get your hate on with some ridiculous spoon fed propaganda…PDF that fake Kenyan / Australian birth certificate and send it to your friends.

    PS – WE dont think Limbaugh and Beck are funny either…

  151. #151 |  Chet | 

    Fair enough, Dave. You’ve successfully picked my nit.

  152. #152 |  Pete | 

    Wait a minute…I’m confused. People who don’t support Cash For Clunkers and people who are Republicans don’t think Jon Stewart is funny anymore?

    How shocking! For the record, I find Jon Stewart even funnier than ever. Truth be told, I stopped watching him a year ago, and then picked up again this year because I watched a few that were great. His stuff on “Birthers” last week was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen.

    Maybe the reason he’s doesn’t go after Obama so much is because he’s not offering up inane dribble like the possibility that Obama isn’t a real American.

  153. #153 |  bmmg39 | 

    justaguy: “When the tide goes against obama stronger, so too will TDS.”

    Well, THAT certainly takes guts.

  154. #154 |  Brian P | 

    Here’s the math (generous; unreferenced but easy to find on google):

    Average car driven 20,000 miles per year
    Old mileage: 15 mpg
    New mileage: 25 mpg
    Old gallons: 1333 per year
    New gallons: 800 per year
    Net gasoline savings: 533 gallons per year per car
    Number of clunkers exchanged for $1B: 200,000
    Total gasoline savings for US: 106,600,000 gallons per year
    Gallons refined gasoline per barrel of oil: 20
    Barrels of oil saved (i.e. equivalent carbon reduction) : 5,330,000 per year

    For perspective:
    Daily barrels consumed in 1 day in US: 20,000,000

    Thus, cash for clunkers saves us about 6 hours (1/4 of one day) worth of carbon emissions per year or 0.04% of current consumption. Of course this is being generous and doesn’t t doesn’t take into account increased driving due to the utility of a nicer car or the fuel consumed in disposing of them.

    Averaging the cost over the 130M taxpayers, we each paid about 8 bucks for this privilege.

    Personally, the kicker is that most of these people would have bought one of these cars anyway in a couple of years and, assuming the average salvage value was $500, we’ve actually managed to DESTROY $100M of economic value … poof, gone, not there. Like Steve Martin’s old book … “How to turn $1M in real estate into $25 cash”.

    But hey, at least it works. SOS.

  155. #155 |  Jamie | 

    Agreed. He was funny once, when the targets were easy. With “a black guy” in the White House, he lost his nerve, and is now a lame duck. So sad. Lick-spittle comedians are just court jesters, afraid of the King’s wrath.
    Some new star will step up eventually.

  156. #156 |  Jonathan | 

    I watch the show every night and think it is just as hilarious and informative as it ever has been.

  157. #157 |  bmmg39 | 

    JP: “two, Bush was a walking disaster…”

    As you accusing someone else of doing, you are seeing only what you want to see.

  158. #158 |  CourtJester | 

    Yizmo Gizmo | August 4th, 2009 at 10:24 am wrote:

    Stewart’s strongest stuff has always been polemic in nature.
    So when you elect a sane Administration, and logic kicks in, his weapon is effectively blunted.
    Would you rather have a warmongering, opaque,
    paranoid Administration and funny, poignant comics
    or a transparent, dedicated Administration and weak TV
    humor?

    Gizmo, this is the funniest post I’ve seen in weeks!
    You have real talent as a comedy writer!
    Perhaps you are the new Stephen Colbert.
    I like the dead-pan humor–not even a hint of sarcasm!
    The moniker is not bad either. LOL!

  159. #159 |  Al Ramy | 

    He was never funny, frankly, a rude and ignorant light weight.

  160. #160 |  frank | 

    Health care help is not on the way for me. My policy (4 thou per annum) and my deductible(2 grand) eat up much of my income and I still can’t afford all of the tests that a person my age is supposed to get.(I’m 57). With C4C I was able to replace my 13 year old car with a brand new one for 7500 bucks. So at least for the next 5 years or so,probably much longer actually, I won’t have to figure unaffordable car repairs into my ever -shrinking budget.I at least got some relief somewhere.Why do I get the impression that most of the people commenting on this site also think that sarah Palin would ably rule the freel world? If you don’t think that stewart is funny(and admit it,most of you never did) listern to Hannity or Beck or anyone of their ilk. Now that is some funny shit.

  161. #161 |  Ron Victor | 

    You’re right, stewart doesn’t interview with the same passion as when he was interviewing or joking about republicans or the Bush administration. I have stopped watching the show because of the obvious left wing bias….http://cooperscopy.blogspot.com/

  162. #162 |  Roving Karl | 

    Stewart has been a shill for the Dems since the show started.

  163. #163 |  Bobby Boucher | 

    What a bunch of douchey responses. Jon Stewart is every bit as brilliant today as he was during the Bush years. Sorry that you don’t think he is as tough on the people on the right side of the issues, but there IS a difference between Kathleen Sebelius and, say, Bill Kristol (who Stewart just eviscerated and showed to be nothing more than a lying sack of dung). Too bad there isn’t a comedian smart enough to carry the Republican mantle. Maybe that’s because their too smart.

  164. #164 |  Mike | 

    “It is a constant. People don’t drive substantially more just because they get a more efficient vehicle. People’s driving habits just aren’t that flexible.”

    I never said or implied that people drive more once they get a more fuel efficent vehicle. I stated that those who drive more are more likely to already be driving a fuel efficient vehicle. Those who drive a ‘clunker’ are more likely to be driving fewer miles. Those who drive a lot of miles have already been switching over for years now. I certainly know at least one aquintaince where this is true. Don’t you? Further if you noticed I posted a link showing that people who drive more fuel effiecient cars DO put more miles on them. I’d say a similar study on low MPG vehicles would show they put fewer miles on a car. Again I don’t think it is because they decided to drive more after getting the new car, but it was they were already driving more and wanted to realize the economic benefit.

    So it wouldn’t surprise me if the average person who is driving a 10MPG car, and is taking advantage of the program, is only driving 6,000 miles per year on it while somebody who drives a 20MPG car drives 18,000. If this that is the case then the savings would be roughly equal.

    Heck if I wanted a new car right now I would go out and buy a 1996 ford explorer today (kelly blue book price = $1100) just so I could trade it in for $4500. So I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of tradeins are happening on vehicles that aren’t daily driver cars anyway.

  165. #165 |  Debby | 

    I think the funniest person on political satire is Glenn Beck! He makes me LOL! And no surprise, Fox News is the top rated cable news station in every time slot!

  166. #166 |  Mack | 

    Mike, under the program, you’d have to own it AND insure it for two years.

  167. #167 |  bmmg39 | 

    “Would you rather have a warmongering, opaque,
    paranoid Administration…”

    No, but the good news is we haven’t had one of those in many years, contrary to what some people here seem to think. No wonder their thinking is clouded when it comes to Jon Stewart’s bias.

  168. #168 |  Harrison | 

    Stewart never was funny. He is one of these news sources that pretends to be unbiased but they are very biased, very unethical in news reporting.

  169. #169 |  Gary | 

    You worked for the Cato Institute. Why would you think Stewart is funny?

  170. #170 |  ben | 

    Um, no. He’s still funny. I just wonder why there have been so many “John Stewart is not funny” articles by “conservative” dorks lately. Come on dorks, no one who watches the show gives a crap about what you think is funny.

  171. #171 |  ben | 

    Harrison,

    Earth to Harrison, Earth to Harrison, John Stewart is not a “news source.” he is a comedian. And a funny one. Just because he makes fun of the idiotic things that “conservatives” say and do does not make him un-funny as others are suggesting.

  172. #172 |  wytshus | 

    I agree, I was a huge fan of Jon Stewart, until Obama got elected. The straw that broke the camel’s back was having Barney Frank on his show, and he didn’t even make fun of him.

    And there is a guy just DYING to be made fun of…….

  173. #173 |  ASPECTRATIO | 

    Stewart (and Colbert) are superb. Comedy is serious business. Ask the staff of CNN’s ‘Crossfire.’ He torpedoed those clowns nicely and neutered the bow tie of Tucker Carlson forever. And using Cramer’s own words against him brought that blimp crashing down along with the economy.

  174. #174 |  old | 

    Meh. Much ado about nothing.

  175. #175 |  Bill45 | 

    Memo to Jon.
    Re: Script
    Subject Cash for Clunkers

    A staple of comedy is the ironic, the disconnect between the wind up and the punch line. When delived with appropriate timing and emphasis laughter ensues. Please share with your brilliant writers the following and consider it as a topic for tonight’s show.

    The Obama administration, which claims to champion the poor, has designed a program that gives cash gifts to the upper middle class to buy cars. (laugh track)

    And even funnier is that this program will hurt the poor (laugh track) by reducing the market of serviceable used cars that the poor need to get to work (laughter)

  176. #176 |  Mike | 

    Mack,
    I figured there might be some kind of restriction like that, I checked cash4clunkers.com and they didn’t mention it but it felt like some kind of restriction they would put in.

    I guess my whole point is we can’t assume the cars traded in were daily drivers or were driven a similar number of miles as a non-clunker. So thinking that the program was the best thing that could be done for gas consumption is premature. If they started this program next year when my brother was in College my parents would absolutely have traded in my little brothers car (as well as thier own) for a new car. I can think of lots of reasons why these cars weren’t being driven.

    As a program if we define sucess as spending all the money then yes C4C was a big success, as successful as if I had a program to goto the mall and hand out 10 dollar bills would be. Sucess though needs to be measured by whatever the long term goals are and for that it is way to early to tell.

  177. #177 |  tony | 

    Bush had an incentive for autos also that was more expensive.
    You could take 50% depreciation on a large suv. This would give someone a $25,000 tax deduction or up to $8,750 in less taxes owed. Of course this was only taken by the wealthy.

  178. #178 |  Harriett | 

    I think this all has to do with him making Bill Kristol look like more of a fool than ever. You just can’t stand it when one of your “heroes” is exposed as an idiot and a liar.

  179. #179 |  bmmg39 | 

    You keep telling yourself that, Harriett.

  180. #180 |  Andrew Williams | 

    Man, that sucks. I watched Dennis Miller suck the lead pipe after 9/11 and boy was it ugly.

  181. #181 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #180 Andrew Williams

    Man, that sucks. I watched Dennis Miller suck the lead pipe after 9/11 and boy was it ugly.

    Yep. He used to be one of my favorites. I often didn’t agree with him, but at least he seemed to be doing his own thinking. Nowadays, it’s like he’s on the Republican payroll.

  182. #182 |  Dave Krueger | 

    Well, C4C has now been extended, tripling its size from a one to three billion dollars. Given its “success”, perhaps they’ll make it a permanent program.

    Every cash give-away Congress enacts is just more encouragement to enact even more such give-aways. When you jump off a building, you can claim to be flying until reality suddenly sets in at ground level.

    The discussion about gas mileage is completely immaterial. The biggest argument against it, is that it’s simply not necessary. But even beyond that, it’s not the business of the government to ensure the survival of any company, particularly when that entails the confiscation of cash from the successful in order to reward those who failed, not to mention the fact that the majority of those who will ultimately shoulder the burden for this fiscal depravity had no voice in the decision to do it.

    In other words, this program can’t possibly be justified under any principle typically associated with a free society. The argument that it “only” cost a billion dollars and is, therefore, inconsequential epitomizes the popular state of mind today. It doesn’t matter whether you become insolvent one dollar at a time or all at once. You’re still spending money you don’t have. It’s delusional to think it’s going to pay for itself. Any way you slice it. it adds $ 3 billion to the national debt and it will have to be paid back.

    It’s no different than our growing rate of obesity in the sense that we think we can just go ahead and stuff our faces today and worry about going on a diet some other time. The only difference is we can’t unload our fat onto our children to let them be the ones who have to deal with it.

    If you support programs like this, I suggest you go have a look in the mirror and take a long look at the person who is responsible for the national debt that your kids and grand kids are going to have dumped in their laps.

  183. #183 |  flyingEagles | 

    Jeez Dave, that was deep.

    “Take a look in the mirror..”? lol….I think you’re taking yourself a little too seriously.

    population of US ~300,000. Rebate that I got: $4,500. That means you contributed a whopping .0015 of 1 penny to the voucher that I got for my hybrid. Thanks for your sacrafice buddy. I will think about it every time I drive.

  184. #184 |  Dave Krueger | 

    Ok. I understand. If you only take a tiny amount from a lot of people, it’s different from taking a large amount from one person.

    I’m not participating in the program, but I will, of course, be contributing a part of my paycheck to the hundreds of thousands of those who do. I guess I should consider it an honor to be able to improve your standard of living at the expense of my own. How arrogant of me to place my interests above yours in the spending of my money.

    I find it interesting that my losing that money is inconsequential whereas your getting it is important.

  185. #185 |  flyingEagles | 

    “I find it interesting that my losing that money is inconsequential whereas your getting it is important.”

    Oh boy, get over yourself. I pay plenty of taxes (probably more in income taxes than you do) for programs that I don’t participate in. You’re getting away from the point that this program is stimulating the car industry. The other option, of course, is for car factories/dealerships to shut down and their employees to go on government unemployment which, of course, is paid for by my and your taxes. With all your posts, you’ve failed to cite another solution.

  186. #186 |  Dave Krueger | 

    Blockquote>#185 flyingEagles

    Oh boy, get over yourself. I pay plenty of taxes (probably more in income taxes than you do) for programs that I don’t participate in.

    You’re right. It’s not me who is going to suffer. I will be long dead before this program is ever paid for. It will be my grand kids.

    For someone who “probably” pays more income taxes than I do (and I should get over myself?), I’m surprised you feel completely justified in buying yourself a new car paid for, in part, by a future generation who had no part in the decision to do so.

    Oops. I forgot. You’re not buying a new car at their expense. You’re stimulating the car industry. It just looks like a new car. Yeah, that’s it.

    My solution? Simple. I don’t saddle my kids with debt so I can party now. But, feel free to keep right on thinking of it as a “stimulus” package. I’m sure they’ll understand and won’t be pissed off in the least.

  187. #187 |  Dave Krueger | 

    Crap. Screwed up the tags in #186. The first paragraph was a quote.

  188. #188 |  flyingEagles | 

    My solution? Simple. I don’t saddle my kids with debt so I can party now.

    Ok so basically do nothing. Fair enough. Can I assume then that you don’t believe in unemployment checks then? Because with the way that the car industry was/is going, the big 3 were headed down the tubes. That’s hundreds of thousands of job layoffs, of which all would be then getting unemployment checks from the government. Those will of course, be paid for by “your kids” as well. Not only that but the people layed off will not be working or producing anything, just receiving a check from the government. You failed to offer up a reasonable solution. Move along now.

  189. #189 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #188 flyingEagles

    Can I assume then that you don’t believe in unemployment checks then?

    I don’t have a problem with unemployment checks provided it comes from insurance that you buy for yourself to insure yourself from unemployment. I don’t believe in unemployment checks written against my kids’ banks accounts for people, long dead, who were too busy spending their own paychecks on new cars to worry about covering themselves against unexpected emergencies.

    I know, paying your own way is a difficult concept to wrap your head around when the new national pastime is to see how much debt we can run up just to make sure no one suffers for their own financial irresponsibility.

    I never thought I’d see the day when the idea of not running up a huge debt would be met with such absolute scorn. In the end, at least you’ll be able to fall back on the excuse that you just went along because everyone else was doing it. It won’t be the first time in history that’s happened.

  190. #190 |  maoSpecial | 

    And if they don’t have private unemployment insurance (like everyone can afford that, lol), then what? Let em rot n’ starve? compassionate conservatism at its finest.

  191. #191 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #190 maoSpecial

    And if they don’t have private unemployment insurance (like everyone can afford that, lol), then what? Let em rot n’ starve? compassionate conservatism at its finest.

    First of all, despite their rhetoric to the contrary, there is nothing about conservatism that opposes welfare anymore. They jumped on that bandwagon a long time ago.

    Secondly, I applaud your willingness to be compassionate with other people’s money. I guess that would be compassionate liberalism at its finest.

    I’m arguing against financing today’s bailouts on the backs of future generations who don’t have any voice in the matter. You know, that “taxation without representation” thing. It used to be popular back when the country was founded. Not so much anymore, though. The new attitude is “Fuck ‘em”.

  192. #192 |  Mattocracy | 

    We aren’t compassionate conservatives here. Nor are we conservatives. Most of us are libertarians and we aren’t GOP wannabe’s or any other derivitive of the right. Why is that so hard for liberals to understand and beleive? I know a lot of pople get their rocks off by taking cheap shots at conservatives here thinking “Oh man, we totally showed them!”, but if you visit the agitator on any regular basis, you’d realize we don’t have a warm spot for republicans in this corner of the internet.

    So many of the liberal minded people who leave their character attacking comments here see the world in black and white. It’s like we’re either with you or against you…hmm…where have I heard that before?

    To be fair, the right wingers do the same thing when the posts are about the war on terrorism or the like. The neocons call us lefties and the lefties call us neocons. Good to know you’re all flip sides of the same coin. Stewart and Dennis Miller are the bizarro versions of each other.

  193. #193 |  Mattocracy | 

    The solution to helping the US auto makers is don’t help them anymore. What have they done to help us? Have they produced cars just a good as the Japanese? Have they stopped lobbying the government for stricter import laws that raise the cost other automobiles that don’t suck?

    Someone will buy them, restructure the companies, and make them profitable again. People might lose their jobs, but 99% of Americans should not be responsible for employing 1% against their will. I don’t see how we can justify exploiting the majority in a such a manner.

    It doesn’t matter how you try to white wash it, forcing debt onto people and making them pay back the principal and interest against their will is a crime. It’s theft. I don’t care if it is to pay for wars or for bailouts, it’s always wrong and it always has been.

  194. #194 |  Andrew Williams | 

    Here’s the worst thing you can call Jon Stewart at this point:

    “shanda fur der goyim”

    If you meet him, and you say those words, be prepared to run like Hell.

  195. #195 |  The Agitator » Blog Archive » Saturday Links | 

    [...] of Cash for Clunkers my post criticizing Jon Stewart got a few links around the web, which then brought in a flood of pissy comments from lefties. [...]

  196. #196 |  ChrisD | 

    @Chet
    “It is a constant. People don’t drive substantially more just because they get a more efficient vehicle. People’s driving habits just aren’t that flexible.”

    Back to Econ 101 for you.

  197. #197 |  bmmg39 | 

    Chris, if you get to the extremes, such as obtaining a vehicle that gets 96 MPG, then, sure, you might take that cross-country vacation you’ve always wanted to try, rather than driving one state over or taking a plane. But it isn’t as though people are going to do five MPG better than they were before and then decide to move an hour farther away from work just for the hell of it.

    None of this, by the way, should be misconstrued as an attempt to defend Chet, Jon Stewart, or CfC.

  198. #198 |  Rob S | 

    “Not only that but the people layed off will not be working or producing anything, just receiving a check from the government. You failed to offer up a reasonable solution. Move along now.”

    OK, remove the government check from the equasion and you have a supremely reasonable solution. As opposed to the concept of ‘to each according to their needs, from each according to their ability’, the concept of ‘free minds and free markets’ is infinitely more reasonable.

    Just because you are enamoured with your ability to spend my money on your agenda does not make your motives valid, honest, or good.

  199. #199 |  Pinandpuller | 

    Maybe if people saved up and payed cash when they needed “new” vehicles their budgets wouldn’t be looking so grim when gas prices fluctuate. Car’s drive a lot better when they aren’t towing a car payment around. Dave Ramsey anyone???

  200. #200 |  MattinCincy | 

    Note to Stewart: Reverence isn’t funny. You need to decide if you’re a comedian or a shill.

    Unfortunately, it looks you already have.

    Well said.
    I went without cable for a few years- just got it back- and I was looking forward to watching TDS… until I watched it. Was that Jon Stewart or Bill Mahr? Terrible show and his true colors are really showing. Thanks for pointing this out.

  201. #201 |  Mike | 

    Stewart was always the least funny, and most partisan, part of his own show. If the show has gotten less funnny, it’s not so much because of him but because, as others have already pointed out, the funny people who surrounded him have left.

  202. #202 |  colson | 

    It’s funny to see all of this over John Stewart because I always felt Bill Maher did the same thing about 5 years sooner. Maher is interesting when he has actual conservatives and the occasional libertarian who are permitted to get a word in edgewise. Most of the time you get two liberal actors and a token conservative everyone really wants to hate. The worst episodes are those where they can only muster three liberals. It looks like a bobble-head convention on HBO.

    The best Maher episodes were those with PJ O’Rourke sitting on the same side of the desk as Maher. At least Maher doesn’t get away with as many stupid statements as he makes anymore. So maybe JS needs Glenn Beck as a co-anchor. That might be half-way interesting.

  203. #203 |  kurt | 

    Wife and I used to watch TDS religiously. We laughed. GW was such a gold mine for material. Thing is, it got too easy. I didn’t realize how easy until he was no longer in office because BO took GW’s place. Now, neither my wife or myself have really understood all the fuss over BO’s supposed charisma and eloquence, etc… actually feel he comes across flat and bland and generally ho-hum. Maybe that monotone causes hypnosis upon the fuzzy-minded. And I wonder if, even if the writers were to be struck by lightning and decided to exert some of their brain muscles on ways they could do their comedic duty, BO would still give them problems because, well, he’s just a very boring man. GW, nutty as he may’ve been gave the writers easy gigs and made Stewart look good. BO being a boring man, offers little to comedic writers who probably should’ve stayed on strike or they could go on another one; anyway, consequently, Jon Stewart has become a boring man too.

  204. #204 |  AnarchyIsTrueFreedom | 

    “First, your criticism of this episode is really about you being a libertarian and Stewart being a liberal. Liberals like cash for clunkers because they don’t have a problem with the government nudging the economy in different directions and basically handing money to consumers.”

    You are sorely mistaken. When people are handed a blank check, that’s handing money to the consumers. When people are handed a check already filled out to the UAW, that’s union pandering. Nice try, though.

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