More lack of transparency from the Administration that promised to be the most transparent in in history. Sometime this week the Senate may be voting whether or not to give an additional $2 Billion to the program. Funny thing is Obama’s department of transportation is stonewalling the the release of the data that would show how the program is doing. How can the senate vote on the extension of a bill without knowing whether the program is a success or not? Well when you look at how the president has rammed things through before, without letting congress read the bills, you come to realize that its just the Obama way.
Obama administration withholds ‘Cash for Clunkers’ data
By: BRETT J. BLACKLEDGE
A car turned in as a clunker sits in a recycle dumpster at Capitol City Buick Pontiac GMC in Berlin, Vt. Tuesday, July 28, 2009. Car and truck owners looking to junk their gas guzzlers are flocking to dealerships to take advantage of the government’s ‘cash for clunkers’ program and buy more fuel-efficient vehicles, boosting sales in showrooms across the country.
The Obama administration is refusing to release government records on its “cash-for-clunkers” rebate program that would substantiate — or undercut — White House claims of the program’s success, even as the president presses the Senate for a quick vote for $2 billion to boost car sales.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Sunday the government would release electronic records about the program, and President Barack Obama has pledged greater transparency for his administration. But the Transportation Department, which has collected details about 157,000 rebate requests, won’t release sales data that dealers provided showing how much U.S. car manufacturers are benefiting from the $1 billion initially pumped into the program.
The Associated Press has sought release of the data since last week. But the public and Senate Republicans demanding more information will have to wait for details because federal officials running the program don’t have time to turn over data delivered by car dealers, said Rae Tyson, spokesman for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
LaHood said in an interview Sunday he would make the electronic records available. “I can’t think of any reason why we wouldn’t do it,” he said.
DOT officials already have received electronic details from car dealers of each trade-in transaction. The agency regularly analyzes the data internally, producing helpful talking points for LaHood, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs and other officials to use when urging more funding.
LaHood, the program’s chief salesman, has pitched the rebates as good for America, good for car buyers, good for the environment, good for the economy. But it’s difficult to determine whether the administration is overselling the claim without seeing what’s being sold, what’s being traded in and where the cars are being sold.
LaHood, for example, promotes the fact that the Ford Focus so far is at the top of the list of new cars purchased under the program. But the limited information released so far shows most buyers are not picking Ford, Chrysler or General Motors vehicles, and six of the top 10 vehicles purchased are Honda, Toyota and Hyundai.
LaHood has called the popular rebates to car buyers “the lifeline that will bring back the automobile industry in America.” He and other advocates are citing program data to promote passage of another $2 billion for the incentives — claiming dealers sold cars that are 61 percent more fuel efficient than trade-ins and Ford’s Focus is the top seller.
LaHood also said this week that even if buyers aren’t choosing cars made by U.S. automobile manufacturers, many of the Honda, Toyota and Hyundai cars sold were made in those companies’ American plants.
But there’s no way to verify his claims without access to DOT’s data.
Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has argued against quick approval of $2 billion for the program because little is known about the first round of $3,500 and $4,500 rebates.
“We don’t have the results of the first $1 billion,” McConnell spokesman Don Stewart said. “You don’t have them. We don’t have them. DOT doesn’t have all of it. We’d hate to make a mistake on something like that.”
So all we know about this program is that it is allowing some people people get new instead of used cars by giving them free money. Wait a second, does that mean that people who can barely afford cars are now taking out auto loans? Isn’t that what we did to the housing industry?