Needed: Cash for Clunker Computers

Posted by: Michael Mandel on August 19

It warms my tough old economist heart to see the new General Motors bringing back workers and adding overtime in response to the “cash for clunkers” initiative. As Americans get rid of those unsightly gas-guzzling wrecks in the driveway, the auto industry is revving up again.

But what of those high-tech companies which were supposed to be the economic foundation of the next 50 years? What about Hewlett-Packard and Dell? What about Micron and Intel? Shouldn’t we do as much for computer and semiconductor industry as we do for the auto industry? After all, tech production shows no sign yet of coming back.

clunker_17734_image001.gif

What we need is a new government program: “Cash for Clunker Computers”. All you people with old Gateways and IBM Thinkpads in your attic or closet need to turn them in for faster and spiffier new models.

Just like the Cash for Clunker program, we’ll need rules. Your “Clunker Computer” will have to meet some minimum requirements: Too little RAM, slow microprocessor, too few USB ports, Windows 98. In return, you will get a rebate to purchase a new computer that will let you roam the Internet at will, downloading all sorts of video and multimedia (Advertisers will love it).

People will storm Best Buy, demanding to trade in their old hardware for the latest fastest model. And the bonus: Those old computers will be disposed off in an environmentally sound fashion, rather than spreading dangerous materials around.

But here’s the big question. Should the “Cash for Clunker Computer” rebate apply to any new computer, or only computers with a specified amount of domestic content—say 50%? After all, since the New Economy boom ended, high-tech employment has fallen just as far as auto industry jobs.

empclunk.gif

Suppose new computers are required to have 50% domestic content to be eligible for the “Cash for Clunker Computer” initiative. The advantage: We will stimulate domestic employment, as computer manufacturers shift production back to the U.S. The disadvantages: The new computers will likely cost more, and we could start a trade war.

Well, okay, I’ll just leave the question of domestic content up to Congress. “Cash for Clunker Computers” is the way to go.

Added 8/19/09 3:10PM :

I see that other people, faster than me, have already come up with this idea. For example:

Microsoft Announces Cash for Clunker PCs

NEW GOVT PROGRAM: CA$H for Sh***y Energy Inefficent TVs & Computers

Cash for Clunkers- finally, a bailout that is working

Great minds think alike. Go for it.

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Reader Comments

John

August 19, 2009 01:07 PM

Cash for Clunkers, Cash for Clunker Computers - does anyone not get it? The government is spending money it does not have! When the bill comes due... and it will... we will have a major economic train wreck. What we should be doing is offering tax breaks to stimulate the economy. This is Economics 101.

Viking

August 19, 2009 01:12 PM

Mike,you might be onto something,except it will never happen,because the computer industry doesn't have a powerful union like the UAW,supporting the Democrats,so without that,no dice!!
If you are trying to determine which industry will be the next target for stimulus,look for heavy unionized industries.Could it be that these are also the least competetive industries?
Once you start down this road,it becomes top down management of the economy,by the government.It seems like that was tried and failed,I think it was called communism.How about giving everyone a tax cut and let the individual decide what to do with the money!!

kc

August 19, 2009 01:22 PM

How about 'Cash for Clunker House' to help housing industry.

Karl

August 19, 2009 01:26 PM

'Cash for Toasters' could stimulate bank deposits, right? Here's how it would work: Simply bring an old toaster into a participating government owned & operated bank, and you'll receive a NEW TOASTER! Just think of how all the manufacturing plants in Korea, China, & other parts of the world would be stimulated by this plan.

Kevin

August 19, 2009 01:32 PM

I would not mind trading in my beat-up Dell Inspiron laptop for a spiffy new Macbook with a nice healthy rebate! I do wonder how much more money Uncle Sam can throw my way to stimulate discretionary spending.

norman ravitch

August 19, 2009 01:36 PM

The government doesn't own any computer companies; why would it want to improve their botton lines?

dave

August 19, 2009 01:37 PM

We helped Japan and Korea with the auto program, so it is only fair that we now help China - the place where most computers are made.

Nk

August 19, 2009 01:42 PM

How about cash for clunker cell phones / smart phones, TVs...and what not...The need for entitlement through deficit spending goes on and on...Dont people realize this is exactly the reason why America is going to be doomed soon?

Brandon W

August 19, 2009 01:54 PM

Computers aren't the same as cars, for one big reason: "Bigger" isn't sexy with computers. Cars COULD be made dramatically cheaper and more fuel efficient, but instead of funneling technological gains into better fuel economy or reducing the price, the auto industry spent many billions of dollars convincing the American public that bigger engines were better, bigger cars were better, more gadgets were better. And we bought into it. So the price went UP (even adjusted for inflation) and cars just got heavier, with bigger engines that still got the same miserable gas mileage... because "bigger is sexy".

Intel lost that marketing war a few years ago. Maybe it was Apple that made processor speed irrelevant? Maybe the fact that humans can only work so fast made faster "bigger" processors irrelevant? The computers got fast enough. "Bigger" wasn't sexier anymore. Who cares what speed your processor is, as long as you can surf the Net, do email, run a word processor and TurboTax, and maybe play a video game now and then? (And video game players are a real minority of overall users; especially since most computers are bought for business). As an example, I recently bought a laptop. $400 from Dell. Very basic processor and memory, but it does everything I need. Especially since I got rid of Windows and installed the FREE open-sourced operating system Ubuntu (Linux) on it. When I want a full-sized computer, my Mac computer works just fine. It's almost 3 years old and still works as quickly - for my purposes - as any new computer would.

So there's no reason to ditch "old" computers. They're not going to improve productivity in any significant way. It's just a waste of resources to throw away perfectly adequate tools under a desperate notion that it'll stimulate the economy. Huge waste.

For what it's worth, I'm not fond of the CARS program either (despite living in Michigan), and I think once the influx of production subsides those people will be back out on the streets and the auto companies will be right back where they started.

Michael

August 19, 2009 02:37 PM

The computer industries are not going bankrupt due to stupid decisions for short term gain.
So, cash for computer-clunkers is not needed. Besides, old computers don't deplete clean air levels in fact if there's a huge rush on destroying old computers it would probably adversely affect the environment with all of mercury and lead in them.
And those computers shouldn't be destroyed they should be donated to schools who have no computers or need more.

Dominic

August 19, 2009 02:38 PM

Brandon

I almost entirely agree with you...the reason why computers are not significantly faster than, let's say, 5-6 years ago it’s more complicated and has nothing to do with Apple (thermal barrier above the 3-3.5 GHz frequency threshold, still suboptimal software architecture exploitation of multi core architecture, etc...)
The fundamental question we should ask ourselves is why in our current economic environment we are "condemned" to grow and buy stuff that we do not immediately need..excessive debt is what got us in trouble….piling more debt will not get us out of it.

Mike

August 19, 2009 02:41 PM

Why should one industry benefit. Of course their won't be a cash for computers because the government doesn't have a stake in it. Paying tax money with tax money to believe that we are creating jobs while creating artificial demand sounds foolish. The money still has to come from somewhere

When I do everything right and self finance my business you think there is help for me, No probably because I am not big enough.

Joe

August 19, 2009 02:50 PM

Can you even purchase enough computer parts made in the US to get 50% domestic content? I haven't seen an Intel CPU made in the US in well over a decade for instance.

Karl

August 19, 2009 03:05 PM

'Cash for Brain-Dead Politicians' might be a good program too, correct? Simply go to Washington D.C. and select just about anyone, (other than Ron Paul), and receive your rebate check, right?

Brandon W

August 19, 2009 03:35 PM

Dominic et al,
I appreciate your agreement. I think the marketing-driven desire for "bigger" processors died long before the current technical thresholds. Either way, there's no point in upgrading to "newer, bigger" technology that won't give 99% of us one nanosecond of real benefit.

Dominic, I also agree with you tremendously on the idea that we are unnecessarily trying to force people to buy things they don't need. We need to pay off debt. As I mentioned in another comment, debt detracts from quality of life. Being in debt is not a benefit to anyone but the debt-holder. The $1600/mo mortgage payment you're scared sh*tless about making every month for the next 30 years is a $576,000 asset to someone else... but it sure isn't you. What everyone in government and Wall St. is scared sh*tless of is that Americans will realize that buying more crap with debt isn't to their benefit, that they'll stop, and the giant Ponzi scheme of debt that is "modern capitalism" will come crashing down.

Rick Hendricks

August 19, 2009 03:54 PM

The first step towards correcting the economy is reigning in the politicians, who are consumed with their power, which they get from the people--who else?

Our politicians are out of control. On CNN, I saw Barney Frank tell one of his constituents he did not want to discuss healthcare with her or him, because it would be like talking to a dining room table.

This is contempt.

Whether he agrees with the person or not, he is an elected representative, and his constituents deserve respect. This behavior, on the part of a congressman, is an outrage.

Charles

August 19, 2009 03:58 PM

I guess you guys have no stories to write about? Maybe next time.

Prices of Computers

August 19, 2009 04:10 PM

The interesting thing is how much more computer memory, processor power, hard drive you get for your money now in comparison to 10 years ago.

PC manufacturers have continually cut prices as much as possible to stay competitive. It's hard to imagine them giving money back for old PCs when current profit margins are so thin already.

Get used to the New Economy....
AKA Socialism

CompEng

August 19, 2009 04:15 PM

I don't see any value in taxing some people so other people can buy faster computers, and I can't justify having taxpayers pad my paycheck or save a few jobs at Dell. I'm not too sold on "Cash for clunkers" for that matter.

And if we *did* put together an argument for domestic content requirements, it still wouldn't make any sense for a one-time short duration program. There's no way such a program would convince companies to change supply lines or construction locations for a one-time program.

@BrandonW:
Some people drive something more like a Ford Focus, and some people drive something more like a Ford Mustang. Myself, I drive the former, but there are times when I can keep all 8 threads of my core i7 busy. Slow computers drive me nuts.

fedup

August 19, 2009 04:26 PM

well if that the case how about Clonker University. I will trade my community college education which have gone way up and trade up to a university and have the Goverment pick up the tab for the first two years.
think about it we can not buy our way out o debt all this "bandaids" are doing is creating debt which is what got us all in trouble in the first place.

sam

August 19, 2009 04:39 PM

Why not raise the minimum wage and lower middle class taxes and let people buy what they want? Why go on subsidizing specific mature industries? Other than that, why did BW even think it was worth printing this?

bob

August 19, 2009 04:44 PM

How about Cash for Clunkers Congress
and FED??????

We're All Doomed

August 19, 2009 04:44 PM

Up until the last two years, at least people were subtle about voting themselves funds from the public treasure. Now it's just absurdly blatant.

bob

August 19, 2009 04:45 PM

Cash for Clunkers Congress and the FED.

JACK

August 19, 2009 04:56 PM

HOW ABOUT CASH FOR OLD VACUUM CLEANERS? I'M IN THE RETAIL VACUUM CLEANER SERVICE & SALE END OF THE BUSINESS-EVERYTHING IS NOW MADE IN CHINA (HOOVER, DIRT DEVIL, BISSELL, EUREKA ETC). THE WORST THING THAT HAS HAPPENED TO THIS BUSINESS ARE THE BAGLESS VACUUMS SPITTING OUT DIRT EVERYWHERE & MOST COMPANIES MANUFACTURE JUNK THAT ARE ONLY SOLD IN BIG STORES, WHERE THEY ARE SOLD BY SALES CLERKS THAT DON'T KNOW
OR CARE WHAT THEY'RE SELLING. VACUUMS ARE EVEN BEING NOW BY HOME DEPOT! BY A RICCAR VACUUM-MADE IN ST JOSEPH, MO & GET RID OF THE BAGLESS CRAP!!

LAO

August 19, 2009 05:16 PM

Steel is one of the great recycling success stories -- electronics and plastic housings not so much -- and you're not going to bring back computer manufacturing overnight. I would settle for cash for wall wart chargers -- a great many are just sitting there plugged in and forgotten, needlessly gobbling electricity and pumping out heat. The nation's electricity bills might drop 5%+, along with excess power capacity requirements and CO2 generation, and the effect would last well into the future. Let electronics retailers run it, and give them a tax credit equal to their charger payout for doing it. Recyclers can gear up for a consistent flow. Better than an arbitrary one-time tax cut; brings people into stores; creates or saves a few jobs; something for the kids to do; no complaints from foreign nations.

dude

August 19, 2009 05:20 PM

A big goal of the Cash for Clunkers program was to replace low MPG vehicles with higher MPG vehicles to help the environment. Unfortunately, when it comes to computers, newer, faster processors and hard drives usually use more power, not less, although I think a cash for CRT scheme might be very successful.

Strategery

August 19, 2009 05:24 PM

50% domestic content? Seriously? They don't even ASSEMBLE computers in the US anymore, with the exception of high-end, custom orders. I ordered a custom HP laptop a couple of years ago and it was sent directly from China. Microprocessors ARE made in the USA, but they are shipped to Asia for assembly. I live near the HQ for Micron Technology, which makes RAM, and they are shutting down their last Boise (Idaho) production fab this summer. These fabs were used to make older, custom products while investments in new technology were made in Asia. It's too bad because I have RAM from the 90's that says "Made In USA" on it--even the final assembly was done here. Another issue is software, how would you define that as "content?" And, how much of the software development was outsourced?

Ben

August 19, 2009 05:24 PM

Cash for Clunky Business Magazines. Trade in your Business Week which publishes stupid stuff like this for another mag that has a clue.

Eric

August 19, 2009 07:21 PM

Are economists stuck on stupid or just naturally dumb?

First, economists told us that offshoring all of our tech work was good for America as capital flows to those providing the greatest economic efficiency. Now they propose taxpayer subsidies to purchase computers that are, in fact, virtually all made offshore. But oh, we'll add a "Made in America" clause to bring manufacturing back, I guess.

One thing I've learned the past year - "free market" theories espoused in business school do not exist in the real world where every CEO in America is seeking tax cuts, tax credits, labor subsidies by importing cheaper labor, government grants and contracts, and regulations designed to harm their competitors. By their actions, none believe in free markets.

So yeah, let's go ahead and socialize the computer industry too while we are at.

Or, let's consider a Cash for Clunker Economists. Let's get rid of the old clunkers and instill some one that can think straight and consistently.

James

August 19, 2009 07:38 PM

Cash for clunkers, will define GM when they attempt their IPO next year.

Clunker defined.."failure, or flop"

They failed their current shareholders and flopped badly with their bondholders, and expect to raise hugh amounts of cash?

Relax, people

August 19, 2009 08:26 PM

Looks like the cable news screamers have awoken. Mandel's regulars, as usual, have something constructive to say -- the rest of you should follow suit.

Dominic

August 19, 2009 09:46 PM

Eric

To your statement

"One thing I've learned the past year - "free market" theories espoused in business school do not exist in the real world where every CEO in America is seeking tax cuts, tax credits, labor subsidies by importing cheaper labor, government grants and contracts, and regulations designed to harm their competitors. By their actions, none believe in free markets."

I would add one of the biggest item, currency manipulation by world central banks to "force" a competitive advantage that would not exist or nwould gradually disappear under natural trade flows.

Remember that the typical free marketer wants the concept applied to everyone except to himself.

Dominic

August 19, 2009 10:06 PM

Brandon

You said:

"The $1600/mo mortgage payment you're scared sh*tless about making every month for the next 30 years is a $576,000 asset to someone else..."

Yes that's exasctly right. This is why we are "condemned" to grow continuously, your debt is someone else asset.

Money as debt and the FRB system "monster" need to be fed continuosly.
This is the reason why deflation is the evil, to be avoided to all costs and central banks are terrified by it.
In a fiat currency FRB environment deflation make money vanish into thin air as it come into existence in the same way.

And the sad thing is that people buy this absurd fear.

19th century America enjoyed robust growth in a deflationary environment..but at that time we had a sound currency and real productivity improvement which is the real engine of the economy, not credit.

Productivity improvement should naturally lead to lower prices.

I always bring the example of the electronic industry where "deflation" is the rule....how many people do you know that have postponed the purchase of their flat screen TV, Play Station and so on because after 1 or 2 years the prices for the same item would be cut in half???

Cash for clunkers programs (not only for autos) are not new in Europe, the car market has been basically supported on and off in this way over there for the last 15 years under the PR banner of environmental reasons....don't get me wrong I do believe that the planet environmental issues are very real but this was not the main reason for the cash for clunkers programs in the old continent.

Info Tech Guy

August 19, 2009 10:15 PM

Sorry, Altho I'm an IT pro who would certainly take advantage of cash for old computer, the problem is the lack of specific tie-in to domestic content. If middle class American jobs aren't created or supported I believe it's a misdirected effort. Why do "Jack" to help companies which offshore all possible work or import non-American "guest workrkers" under false pretences (e.g., H-1b visa workers here in the US b/c of phony claims of a skilled worker shortage.). FYI, I have 20 years in software engineering, database administration and systems administration in Fotune 500 corporations.

Rick

August 19, 2009 10:40 PM

No chance for cash for clunker PCs because the tech industry is a not heavily unionized industry. The stimulas is all about votes, not jobs.

econguy

August 19, 2009 11:44 PM

Rick, you are correct. Also, a tech stimulus would be twisted by Dems as an excuse to bailout Calif. anyway.

Domenico

August 20, 2009 01:44 AM

Food for thought

An interesting article: "In Defense of Keynes: Aggregate Demand & Pump Priming"

An excerpt about the concept of pump priming "leakage", very relevant in the discussion about the usefulness of the cash for clunkers programs.

=========================

"Also overlooked by today's corporate media shills, was Keynes's recognition that for pump-priming to work, aggregate demand could not "leak" out of the economy into import demand. In fact, Keynes recommended that Great Britain change its trade policies from unrestricted free trade to moderate protectionism during the Great Depression. He knew that if government pump-priming went mostly into import purchases, it wouldn't stimulate British domestic production. It became clear that unless newly-created demand was contained within a country's borders, it would not stimulate domestic production in that country.

The concept of outward demand leakage into foreign import demand seems to have been ignored by our government. Unrestricted free trade and outsourcing—and the ensuing job losses—have been the result.

To put "leakage" in proper perspective, it must be difference in the economic landscape back in the 1930's must be considered. Keynes' pump-priming proposals came at a time when the US trade deficit was minuscule in comparison with today. This means there was little "leakage" of US aggregate demand into imports during that time, and thus little need to control such leakage. (i.e., via tariffs or embargoes).

Such is not the case today. At the present time, US aggregate demand is leaking out into import purchases. Though this is actively damaging our economy, it also provides a potential source of "new" aggregate demand—the recapture and conversion of import demand back into domestic demand.

Since demand IS leaking out of the economy today (at the rate of about $700 billion/year), "plugging" that leak would provide a huge source of additional domestic demand. And plugging the leak wouldn't cost taxpayers a dime. To the contrary, "plugging the leak" by levying tariffs would RAISE Federal revenue. With $1.7 trillion of non-energy related imports, the US has an abundant amount of imports to levy tariffs on, and abundant import demand that could be re-channeled into domestic demand."

=========================

http://www.examiner.com/x-17571-LA-Populist-Examiner~y2009m8d2-In-Defense-of-Keynes-Aggregate-Demand-Pump-Priming--Leakage


Kartik

August 20, 2009 02:47 AM

Michael,

Your point is well made. However, take heart in the fact that each new car in this day and age has about $4000 worth of electronics in it.

For each car sold, more revenue is going to semi and software companies, than is going to steel or rubber companies.

jimwhenry

August 20, 2009 03:56 AM

That is correct, Only purchase or lease of new vehicles qualify

Henry
Blogger
www.cashforclunkersfacts.info
http://www.cashforclunkersfacts.info

gina vaughn

August 20, 2009 05:59 AM

Why is it so many of you jump all over the government? You seem not to realize it was gambling in all sorts of non regulated over-the-counter wheeling and dealing since the 1980's that has destroyed the economy, not the government. These arrogant thieves created all kinds of "smart guy" schemes to rake in millions for themselves and convince so many investors to think they could get rich quick whether they were in charge of banks, pension funds, mutual funds, etc Perhaps it would enlighten some of you if you read "Infectious Greed" by Frank Partnoy who was an investment banker and derivatives trader and knows whereof he speaks. Let me quote briefly:

"Frank Partnoys "Infectious Greed" is a compelling and disturbing narrative of the rise of the trading instruments (such as derivatives) and corporate financial structures that imperil the economic health of our country."

I feel you should read this book and see what has been going on for a long time. You will see the names of some of the "genius" traders along with participating banks, hedge funds, (for example Orange County where non regulation and careless financial officers bankrupted a whole county), Enron, etc, etc from the 1980's till now and probably still going on.
Our outrage and efforts should go into exposing and stopping these people who actually are doing much more harm than the arch thief, Bernie Madoff. As I see it, the government is left. to clean up the mess these people create in their quest for money and power and the hell with the rest of us as we are too stupid to understand and stop them. Read it and see what you think. I find it hard to take seriously anything you say until you do more research and thinking. Maybe you would see how you are being snookered by the people who do everything in their power to make you believe if the government kept its hands off everything you too would be rich and able to do anything you pleased. Might be nice but, as you can see it is only real for them.

. Maybe you would like to see no garbage collection, no courts, no socioal security, no medicare, no purified water, no police, no firemen, no major highways, no ports, on and on (all government functions).

Squeezebox

August 20, 2009 01:08 PM

Never mind the computers, we need new refrigerators! There are still some refrigerators that are manufactured in the USA, but the way things are going, not for long. I have an old Hotpoint. Harvest Gold. The price of a new one (which would consume 1/3 the electricity of the old one) is about $700.00. A rebate of $140.00 and free delivery and disposal would be enough to get me into an appliance store.

Strategery

August 20, 2009 01:58 PM

Squeezebox, for once, I agree with you. I think small rebates have a big impact. Large appliances are still made in North America and even in the USA; such rebates would help the US and our neighbors. The power company in my area is offering $30 plus free pick-up and disposal of old refrigerators & freezers. It's not a huge amount but keep in mind that the rebate is from a private company and disposing of an old refrigerator (properly) costs money and is a chore. Also, one poster suggested that instead of cash for clunkers, we should give people a voucher towards a tune-up for their car.

Joe Cushing

August 20, 2009 09:20 PM

I see that lots of other people were faster than me at commenting on this article.

Forget about where the computers are made; what they need is an energy star rating.

While we are at it. Those pore home goods improvement and furniture stores are hurting. We need cash for couches and cash for carpets and cabinets. In Indiana there are places where they make RVs and unemployment is at depression levels--so we need cash for campers. Even the video game industry is having trouble selling the latest game machines so we need cash for councils. Sense farmers are committing suicide over low commodity prices, we need a program to boost prices. How about cash for cows. wait a minute, they did this during the depression. Yes I remember. The government slaughtered and destroyed pigs while those who wanted to eat them starved.

The the logic behind taking wealth from the population in the form of taxes (today's or tomorrow's) and using the money to pay people to destroy real wealth in the form of cars or pigs escapes me. How does destroying wealth make us better off?

Rick

August 20, 2009 10:53 PM

I thought your "tongue in cheek" article was a good comic relief. But it appears most of the posters here either thought you were serious, or are so mad they cannot see straight. You were making a joke, right.., right.., right? OMG, if not you must be one of the amateurs from the Obama administration!

LAO

August 21, 2009 02:11 PM

Isn't it wierd that the government will give you a few thousand cash back on solar panels that will generate a return as good as today's lousy certificates of deposit, but people just grumble and ignore it, while they get overly excited about cash back on a new car that is a money pit and the bottom line savings will evaporate in depreciation almost as soon as they drive it off the lot?

CompEng

August 21, 2009 02:46 PM

LAO,

interesting point. Solar panels have a pretty long payoff period in most locales, though, while upgrading your car now does have the advantage of allowing you to drive for 10 more years without an upgrade. And my most recent car costs less than adding solar panels to my roof!

Eric

August 21, 2009 09:57 PM

I'm waiting for Mike to admit he thought it was April 1st in writing this nonsense. Otherwise I hoping he's in treatment for not thinking straight. Cash for clunkers, in fact, appears to have been a real mess, wasted money we don't have, to replace a lot of vehicles we didn't need to replace.

Ryan Stotler

August 21, 2009 09:59 PM

I am very happy with what the Cash for Clunkers program did for automakers, auto dealers and the environment as well. Where will a cash for clunkers program do us any good for computers though? We weren't totally doing this to boost car companies, the fact of the matter is that it is obvious that the ratio of car to human is astronomical. We have too many options and that's why cars couldn't be sold. Because supply and demand did what it always does. It was necessary for the supply to go down. There is not an overabundance of computers and to be totally honest anyone who still has an old Thinkpad probably isn't still using it and it does no good for them to trade it in for a new computer. There is no environmental benefit when the old, less efficient model isn't even being used and therefore isn't contributing to heavy energy consumption. To add onto this, the new computers may be more efficient in some ways, but people do not buy computers to save on energy. They buy them to be fast and have tons of hardware, most of which they probably will never use. So while the cars these people bought are lowering emissions as opposed to their old clunkers, this computer program sounds like it does nothing but hand money to technology companies for the fact of making money. If that's what the entire plan was, why don't we have a cash for clunkers program on food as well. I know that there is a distinct difference between an expensive bottle of champagne and a cheap bottle, I want the expensive bottle, if I trade it in can I get the better bottle? That's why this program sounds so ridiculous.

CompEng

August 22, 2009 09:48 AM

I'm getting tired of that aspect of human perspective by which anything a person does not understand is ridiculous and anything a person does not agree with is idiotic.

Joe Cushing

August 23, 2009 10:35 PM

Yeah CompEng, people often call me an idiot and attack the college I went to--telling me I got ripped off etc. We often disagree but we don't call each other stupid. I have a youtube channel wich I used to upload videos to discussing views on economics and other stuff. People still comment on 2 year old videos. Youtube is full of this negativity. I tell people that I won't have a discusion with with them if they attack me or the people I quote personaly. I only debate with those who will debate facts or logic.

Dub

August 25, 2009 10:11 PM

Cash for computers early 2010, after Christmas. This will cause the market to hit new highs in 2010. They are already doing cash for appliances. With markets at all time highs, it will be the perfect time to raise taxes in 2011. They are going to do it and it will work. Long aapl.

Bill

August 26, 2009 12:05 PM

Incentive sales programs incentivise those who have the money, and who might have it to spend anyway, to spend it on a targeted area. That takes away spending from something else.

On the cash for computers, how about looking at this a different way: how about subsidizing the purchase of computers by those who do not have them, but rather make them accessable for everyone? Ever go to a library? We need more computers in libraries and in schools, and not multiple computers in well off homes. There is a digital divide.

Joe Cushing

August 27, 2009 12:46 AM

I just heard today that there is a cash for ( I can't think of a C word for) appliances coming soon.

A.Adams

August 27, 2009 09:57 AM

I'm glad that cash for clunkers benefited Japan and Korea. WHY?? Because they have invested in the Southeast and provide great paying clean jobs. They are helping our economy grow in the South. Germany, Japan and Korea will be an integal part and partners in the rise of the South to potential geo-politcal dominance and potentially a new republic in the next 50+ years. By the way the Washington government never really told buyers the cash for clunkers subsidy is TAXABLE to the buyer....typical of D.C.

Kyle

August 29, 2009 11:07 AM

The reason that cash for clunker cars makes sense is that the program accomplishes more than just helping out the auto industry. By replacing less fuel efficient cars with newer more fuel efficient models the program helps to gradually reduce carbon emissions in addition to stimulating consumer spending in the auto industry. The same can not be said for a program such as cash for clunker computers. Since it serves no additional purpose it would be like the government writing a check to the tech industry similar to the way they gave money to the banks, however in this case the money would not have to be paid back to the government. Also cash for clunkers is far from a perfect program. Do you realize that someone that owns a car getting 18 mpg who wants to upgrade to a car getting 23 mpg may qualify for the program while a someone with a car that gets 20 mpg wanting to upgrade to a car getting 40 mpg does not qualify? They put the limit at 18 mpg, any car getting more than that automatically does not qualify regardless of the size of the mpg increase achieved by purchasing the new car. How dumb is that?

Data Centre cleaning

August 29, 2009 12:09 PM

What next? Cash for houses! Its seems unfair that industries that deserve a cash boost do not get a penny and those that caused the world into doom. ie bankers received billion dollar bailouts.

Dub

August 29, 2009 03:06 PM

I think Obama is playing the hand he was dealt. He will not serve a second term with a ten trillion dollar deficit. A cash for computers program would cause businesses and consumers to participate. Tech stocks will increase first, but it will lead the overall market to new highs. This will roll downhill in our economy. 401k's will increase in value, therefore generating wealth. Which in turn will cause consumers spend in other places. Either way the economy has to be booming in 2010 to raise taxes in 2011.

mike

August 30, 2009 08:32 AM

sure something should be done with old computers/eletronics.I think it is time the oil industry/gov,release suppressed technoligy .. Back in the mid 70s my father who worked for ford motor co.came home all excited because they had discovered a carburator that would get 100 miles to a gallon!!tech was bought up,covered up!Even in the early 80s in my small hometown a person purchased a new full size car,he drove the allot.Thought their was something wrong with it because it would not take much gas!Went back to the dealer,oops, that was an experimental car that slipped though the cracks.They took the car back and gave him another that got 12-15 mpg!I am surprised that their is no public out cry for this tech to be released immediately!!Global warming and all the pollution,The money mongers will not stop until our world is all used up!!A little over 10 years ago a canda co was going to set up shop in the US and build a fuel injection system for any vehicle that got up to and more than 70mpg.The product was called a molecular reactor that broke gasoline down to a single molicule the inject it into the engine, for a better than 90% burn!It was even on the front page of the local newspaper!Disappeared never herd from the co again!this is totally not accepable!Wake up America,PLEASE for our children,our future...

jhenry

August 31, 2009 05:48 AM

You can buy or trade in both domestic and foreign vehicles so not just the US made cars.

jhenry
Blogger
www.cashforclunkersfacts.info
http://www.cashforclunkersfacts.info

P Mescher

September 11, 2009 06:00 PM

I do not believe that this would be productive for the computer companies because they would not be making the money they need to continue. Computers and such technology will always be needed in the society that it we live in today. The reason why they can do that for automobile sales is because people have to take out loans to buy new cars. This is problematic because banks are not giving out loans as much as they did before the recession. However, people don't have to take out loans for a computer that costs less than one thousand dollars. So the sales of technology might not be going up because the majority of the products that the companies are trying to sell are luxury products like the PS3 or the new I-phones which are extremely expensive luxury items. Although these plans might attract more customers but the companies might not make very much money if lots of customers are paying a really low price for items that are not super cheap to buy. Even if the companies were making enough money what is to say that the software costs would not go up. That way software companies can benefit greatly from the fact that lots of people will get a new computer and need software, because with out it it would be useless.

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About

Michael Mandel, BW's award-winning chief economist, provides his unique perspective on the hot economic issues of the day. From globalization to the future of work to the ups and downs of the financial markets, Mandel-named 2006 economic journalist of the year by the World Leadership Forum-offers cutting edge analysis and commentary.

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