Bob Franken

Cash For Clunkers. Why Stop There?


I’ve been thinking. How about expanding the wildly popular “Cash for Clunkers” program. Wouldn’t it work equally well for the divorce business?

It’s been so successful with car sales, maybe we should similarly allow the dissatisfied spouse to get rid of his or her marital “clunker” and get thousands from the government to pay for a brand new model. The money could be a down payment on alimony.

Perhaps the Senate can attach the idea this week when it considers adding billions to the auto version that ran out of money after it barely got, uh, rolling. That was probably because of pent-up demand. Imagine all the pent-up divorce demand in this economy.

As the Neil Sedaka song goes, “Breaking Up Is Hard to Do.” It’s too expensive — few can afford splitting because there’s so little left to split.

I’m sure there will be those who will insist this is an idea whose time has not come, but then many of them are your usual naysayers, who question whether spending billions to juice any enterprise is a good idea — including automobile sales.

Next thing you know the government is going to try and get involved in health care. You know how dangerous that could be. Already, some of the most vigilant among us have warned that in the name of cost containment, bureaucrats will transform a subsidy for periodic counseling about living wills into some sort of pressure to abandon care for the elderly, discarding them as, you know, “clunkers,” instead of continuing to maintain their quality of life.

The alarm is being sounded by some of the same geniuses who are fresh off their “birther” triumph. So we certainly need to pay attention to them.

Maybe it’s time we combine a few ideas here. Perhaps Congress should just pass what is called an omnibus bill. Instead of taking in taxes, government should simply pay out thousands that individuals can use to subsidize whatever they want: new cars, washing machines, divorce, health care, guns, whatever.

The funding will come from the same source as the trillions allocated to bail out the economy: newly printed money. The way things have gone, maybe we should rename that effort the “Cash for Bankers” program.

The scary part is that if we continue down this slippery slope, we’ll end up in the dump at the bottom. Our entire country will have become a clunker

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