What the government sees in this program is a chance to improve the auto maker's fortunes and the environment at once.
What I see is a bunch of rich people making it much much much harder for us poor folks to be able to get a car in the future (since they are scrapping all the cars that we count on being able to buy for cheap when our current clunker dies). This program was conceived by people who have no concept of what it is like to be poor. (Also no concept that money doesn't grow on trees--and sold to people who don't see they'll be paying more than the rebate amount in increased taxes!)
This is NOT an economically wise move, in terms of making employment accessible to the poor or in terms of being wise with our resources. It's a plan based on the same old "debt is good" economic model that caused the grief we're in now! (Not to mention it takes the people who actually had cash to put into the economy and ties that cash up in a car payment that wasn't on the budget before...hmmmmm....).
It's just a way for rich people to help moderately rich people show off, keep an industry that can't make good products alive, and make themselves feel good for 'doing their part to help the world'.
I can't believe nobody mentioned to them that the worst clunkers are driven by those of us too poor to take advantage of their program. So it just once again widens the gap between the middle class and the poor and guarantees that gap will be wide for a long long time (since the cars they're supposed to be investing in don't last and they got rid of all affordable cars for years to come)...(hey, wait--that might actually LOWER the value of all American-made cars in the long run. How does that help the industry?)
When is someone going to fire the idiots we elected? Or are we really that dumb and greedy that Cash for Clunkers is going to be seen as a good plan?
Meanwhile, if you have a big old van you're thinking about getting rid of, don't Clunkerize it! I'm gonna need a bigger van soon....