Saturday, October 31, 2009

White House adds to enemies list over Cash for Clunkers on Mars

The number of new cars sold on the planet Mars under the United States government’s recent Cash for Clunkers program is at the center of a dispute that has landed, a company that provides information and reviews about new and used cars to consumers, on the White House’s growing list of enemies. Here’s the story:

Chapter 1: Government offers $3 billion Cash for Clunkers program to stimulate sales of new cars in the U.S.

Chapter 2: issues a report stating that only 125,000 of the 690,000 cars sold in the U.S. during the time of the Cash for Clunkers program were sales inspired by the program, as opposed to sales that would have happened anyway. Edmunds concludes that each new car purchased under the program cost the American taxpayer $24,000.

Chapter 3: White House posts an entry on its blog entitled “Busy covering car sales on Mars, gets it wrong (again) on Cash for Clunkers,” in which it criticizes's report, stating that “ has released a faulty analysis suggesting that the Cash for Clunkers program had no meaningful impact on our economy or on overall auto sales. This is the latest of several critical 'analyses' of the Cash for Clunkers program from, which appear designed to grab headlines and get coverage on cable TV. Like many of their previous attempts, this latest claim doesn’t withstand even basic scrutiny.” In a sarcastic barb, the blog post later adds: “In other words, all the other cars were being sold on Mars, while the rest of the country was caught up in the excitement of the Cash for Clunkers program.”

Chapter 4: defends its claim that the Cash for Clunkers program was a lemon: "Apparently, the $24,000 figure caught many by surprise. It shouldn't have. The truth is that consumer incentive programs are always hugely expensive when calculated by incremental sales — always in the tens of thousands of dollars. Cash for Clunkers was no exception. The White House claims that our analysis was based on car sales on Mars and that on Earth, the marketplace is connected. We agree the marketplace is connected. In fact, that is exactly the basis of our analysis ... With all respect to the White House, thinks that instead of shooting the messenger, government officials should take heart from the core message of the analysis: the fundamentals of the auto marketplace are improving faster than the current sales numbers suggest. Isn't this a piece of good news we can all cheer?"


JD said...

What does this have to do with scifi?

Just so my first comment isn't totally negative, I follow your blog and enjoy the vast majority of it, just not sure why you posted something that is totally irrelevant to everything else in your blog.

Paul said...

The White House blog post is pure Martian science fiction, because was not "busy covering car sales on Mars."

Paul said...

Note that I just updated Chapter 4.

JD said...

guess I should have read the whole thing - my bad... still, that's a pretty weak link!

Paul said...

Back in the early 1990s, Pamela Sargent took a quote uttered by Vice President Dan Quayle about canals-water-oxygen-breathing-on-Mars from Mother Jones magazine and turned it into a 68-page SF story of alternate history entitled “Danny Goes to Mars” (1992). It won the Nebula Award for Best Novelette.