Real Financial Reform – No Reckless Spending

Case Studies in Selective Transparency: Cash for Clunkers

Posted by Center for Fiscal Accountability | 05 Aug

The following was cross-posted yesterday at www.atr.org:

Where is the data on "Cash for Clunkers?"

Earlier today, we took exception to the House Energy and Commerce Committee's claim that it will take a few weeks for them to post the health care bill online after the Examiner mocked its exchange with the committee over the issue:

When we called back for an official comment, spokeswoman Lindsey Vidal gave us the slightly less jarring news that it would take at least two to three weeks, even though we live in an age of computer cut-and-paste.

The Examiner concluded that there could only be one reason for the committee not to post the bill swiftly:

House Democrats are afraid of what people will say when they read the bill.

Now we have to wonder if the Administration (which was supposed to be the most open and transparent in history, remember?) might have similar ulterior motives as President Obama wants an expansion of the ill-conceived "Cash for Clunkers" program for his birthday. Writes the AP:

The Obama administration is refusing to quickly 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.

The Transportation Department said it will provide the data as soon as possible but did not specify a time frame or promise release of the data before the Senate votes whether to spend $2 billion more on the program.

In other words, just trust us and pass the darn thing now, we'll worry about answering your questions later!? This attitude is very disconcerting, but at the same time hardly surprising, as the "stimulus" package was pushed through by the Administration in a similar fashion.

Apparently, the House suffers from short-term memory loss given that they fell for quickly passing an expansion of "Cash for Clunkers" last week without demanding to see the data.

Senator DeMint hits the nail on the head:

And for us to rush through $1 billion and then say, 'Well, we don't know exactly what happened, but it's out of money after one week, so let's have $2 billion more!' this is just an out-of-control government at the federal level now, and we need to stop and see what we've done.

It just doesn't make any sense to keep rushing through bills, borrowing money from our children, and then saying, 'Shazam, we've sold some cars!'