A clunker of an idea
August 14, 2009
President Obama’s “Cash for Clunkers,” the destruction of good vehicles, reminds me of a story my father told me years ago of President Roosevelt’s solution to low farm commodity prices during the Great Depression.
In an attempt to raise farm income, the food supply had to be reduced by destroying crops and animals.
In about 1937, a government agent surveyed the potato and cattle production on mom and dad’s Missouri Heights farm above El Jebel. The agent measured the quantity of potatoes in the cellar and then contaminated a portion of them with a purple dye. These potatoes were then dumped in a field to rot. Some farmers close to the Roaring Fork and Colorado rivers dumped their potatoes in the river(s). It was illegal to give those potatoes to people in need.
Suffering a fate greater than the potatoes, a portion of dad’s cattle herd was destroyed. The carcasses were poisoned so no human could consume the meat. Dad said this was “just terrible” at a time when many families across the country were in soup lines.
I understand many rail cars of live pigs were emptied into the Mississippi River.
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Roosevelt’s Farm Stimulus Program of destruction did not accomplish its goal. He did pay the farmers a tiny pittance for the loss of their crops and animals, but nothing like Obama’s $4,500 to destroy perfectly serviceable vehicles.
I would hope President Obama will call a halt to those stimulus programs that lack common sense, especially during a severe recession.