To the Editor: Government has run some successful programs
Written by Russ Frye   
Saturday, 10 October 2009 08:00
There were inaccuracies in the letter to the editor by Jill Creps that need to be addressed. She noted that Cash for Clunkers rebates will be fully taxable as earned income. This is not true. "The CARS Act expressly provides that the credit is not income for the consumer."
Ms. Creps also implies that the Cash for Clunkers was inefficiently run and shows that the government should not become involved with health insurance. As of Sept. 25, "98 percent of CARS program rebates . . . have been approved for payment under the program." And the government agency is working with dealers to clear up the remaining 2 percent of submitted rebates.
"Consumers turned in gas guzzlers and bought nearly 700,000 more fuel efficient vehicles in fewer than 30 days. In August alone, retail sales rose by 2.7 percent, due in large part to a notable 10.6 percent boost in sales by auto dealers."
If there were initial problems with the program, they were due in large part to its tremendous success.
A larger issue is the perception that the government can't run a program effectively, that it will always spend too much for too little benefit and that the private sector will always provide better benefit at a lower cost. We certainly enjoy the interstate highway system which was constructed through a federal program. And the National Parks are some of our country's most cherished places, again a federal program. The EPA and OSHA have made our environment and workplaces safer and healthier. NASA has allowed for tremendous scientific advancements that have spun off commercial successes.
We only have to look at the greed of Wall Street, the failures of some of the country's largest financial institutions, and the almost total shutdown of the credit markets to point out the shortcomings of the private sector.
Government, like the private sector, serves a valuable purpose. And with the acknowledged problems with health care from those of all political persuasions, it's time the government stepped in to help repair (not replace) this system. Ms. Creps, you say the government is "incapable of running a 3-week fire-sale" with the CARS program, and yet the government runs the Medicare insurance program, the largest health insurance program in the country, covering nearly 40 million citizens . . . and from surveys from recipients, does that well.
Russ Frye
Bowling Green
(Quotes from www.cars.gov, the official "Cash for Clunkers" government web site.)
 

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