As a small-business owner in the automotive service industry, I would like to comment on the Cash for Clunkers program.
First, this is another example of the shortsightedness of the president and Congress. They are trying to bail out only one part of a very large industry and forgetting about the damage to all of the other businesses in the transportation industry, such as the loss of repair work now available to the repair centers and even the dealers' service departments; loss of sales for parts for supply companies and the companies that make these parts; loss to the tire manufacturers for replacement tires; and loss of used vehicles for the used car dealers.
The requirement that the dealers must destroy the engine and transmission of these vehicles before they are sent to a wrecking yard now puts a strain on the people who cannot afford a new car and now have lost a used engine or transmission that could keep their vehicle running and getting them to their jobs.
In short, we as taxpayers are subsidizing individuals who can already afford the payments on a new vehicle, not the people who are able to just get by and worry every day they may become unemployed.
Put another way, I have a neighbor who owns a lumberyard business. What if the government stepped into this industry and gave out $3,500 vouchers for home repairs with the stipulation that you could only spend them at national corporations such as Home Depot or Lowe's? You would be required do all of the repairs yourself so you could not spend any money on all of the other workers in that industry such as painters, carpenters, planners, plumbers, Sheetrock installers, electricians, etc.
This is the same thing that is happening in the Cash for Clunkers program. It is destroying the smaller businesses that are the backbone of the United States and that employ the greatest amount of the work force and pay all of the taxes that are being wasted, once again, on a program that only benefits a few businesses and destroys others.
Dennis Roennebeck owns MasterTech Automotive in Salt Lake City.