Like I've said before though, anybody crazy enough to still be daily driving one of those cars is not going to trade it in all of a sudden.
Why can't they put healthcare together this fast?
The qualification for the program isn't that it be a daily driver car, or even daily driveable. It requires it be licensed, insured, and "driveable".
We have four year plates in our state, a lot can happen between the date that the plates are renewed, and the time they come up for renewal, three years and eleven months later. We have to have plates to park a car outside, even on private property. And we have to have insurance to have plates. I see a lot of cars that don't move from the spot they are parked in, but they have plates, and because they have plates, they must have insurance.
And "driveable" is subjective. We aren't talking about a car that you can get in and drive from coast to coast and back without any problems. The name of the program has "clunkers" in it. We're talking about the car in front of you in traffic, that is belching out smoke, has rust holes larger than the windows, and is leaving a trail of parts like bread crumbs behind it. The is "driveable" as in "I can't believe they let that guy loose on the road in that thing".
But these are the cars that we buy for a couple hundred dollars as a parts car, or as a rebuild project, or as a source of parts at the junk yard.
Maybe I'm a little more sensitive to this than others, because this is a list of the items I can no longer obtain from the dealership for my 90's cars:
headlights, fog lights, fenders, grilles, wiring harnesses, engine mounts, suspension arms, sway bars and sway bar hardware, egr valves, timing belt pulleys, most interior and trim panels, intake and exhaust valves, crankshafts, pistons, ABS sensors, unibody floor panels, rear quarter panels, rocker panels, any interior trim panels...
To me, any single junk car is a precious source of just about anything I need to rebuild what I have. And this must be an odd occasion, because Stationwagonguy seems to understand this point and we are in agreement on this.
The program specified that the cars turned in were to be crushed and melted, and no parts reused.
That said, it is not clear that this is actually going to happen.
This afternoon, a local radio program interviewed a Honda dealer salesman, who complained that they had to do 11 forms for each car turned in (boo hoo, you sold a car, be happy for that). The next question was what happened to the cars that were turned in, and he responded saying "They go to local junk yards. We have instructions on some kind of liquid that we pour into the engine to make it unusable..."
If they are going to junk yards, they get put into the yard and stripped for parts, but be careful of engines from now on.
The logic of "no one will turn in a car worth anything" assumes people are smart, make good decisions, and don't screw themselves. That's giving the average person a lot of credit they don't deserve.
(Think about this, no matter who you voted for for president, 49% of the population or more voted for the other guy. Roughly half of the people you deal with on a daily basis weren't smart enough to vote for the same person you voted for. Sort of makes a person wonder about the intelligence of most people...)
These are people who compare the blue book value to the cost of the repair, and decide not to fix what they have, but to go out and spend $25,000+ on something new that they will be spending the same amount of money to fix by the time they have it paid off. These aren't people who appreciate an older car, these are people who sell an older car to one of us so we can fix what they couldn't and enjoy driving what they couldn't fix.
Remember those direct injection V6 engines from the SUVs that would make such wonderful road rocket engine transplants into little cars? They sell for $3,000-3,700 in salvage yards. These cars are worth more as parts, than as clunker program credit.
Also, like Stationwagonguy hinted at, there has to be some camaraderie across different areas of the auto world. I may not like jacked up pickup trucks, but I know if they start making laws against jacked up pickup trucks, they are just one step away from telling me that I can't use my coilovers on my car, and I don't want that to happen, so I don't want them messing with the pickup trucks just as much as I don't want them messing with me.
Health care fast? A health care program that is funded for six days? Sorry, I plan on living past the seventh day, and this guy can't put together a program that survives a full week.