House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has announced plans to introduce legislation on the first day of the new Congressional session that would provide funds that would be used to pay people for taking old cars off the road. The "cash for clunkers" approach is intended to get older cars crushed, with economic and environmental goals in mind. The economic part would be part of a stimulus package by putting cash in people's hands so that they can presumably by new cars
instead. This argument is dubious since the program is unlikely to provide enough money to people driving such cars to allow them to afford a new car. The environmental aspect makes more sense since older cars are the most polluting and create a disproportionate amount of the emissions.
The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA
) is urging employees of member companies to contact their Congressional representatives opposing the bill. SEMA's argument is that the bill would do more harm than good by taking cars that aren't driven much off the road while eliminating a source of parts for older cars. This is a debatable argument since any useful parts could be stripped off before cars are crushed. SEMA also argues that historical cars could be destroyed which is also dubious since owners of cars with any potential value are unlikely to take advantage of such a program.