Dallas Congressman Jeb Hensarling had a few choice words about the Cash for Clunkers program, which the House voted to give an extra $2 billion today:
“Yes, people are hurting in the auto industry. There’s no doubt about it. But I would also note that the taxpayers are hurting. Eighty billion dollars to Chrysler and GM, but the auto industry does not have a monopoly on hard times in this economy. Recently, one of the largest poultry producers in America–Pilgrims Pride, just a few miles outside of my Congressional District–had to declare Chapter 11. Maybe we should have a ‘Cash for Cluckers’ program and pay people to eat chicken? Then after that we can have a program to pay people to buy TVs and then a program to pay people to buy lumber. It would pass the test. It has a clever title. It would help a large industry. It would put free money in the hands of consumers. But this is not a humorous affair. It’s not humorous because this is an extension of a program that has the government picking winners and losers. Why is the auto industry the winner? Why is the poultry industry the loser? This is one more step in enshrining us as a bailout nation.”
Hensarling, by the way, was on the losing side of today’s 316-109 vote.