by Katherine Mangu-Ward
Cash for Clunkers wheezes to a halt at 8 p.m. Monday having spent $3 billion to get gas guzzlers off the street:
All told, about 750,000 clunkers will be traded in by the time the program officially ends at 8 p.m. ET on Monday, according to an estimate by George Pipas, sales analyst for Ford Motor Co.
That would be roughly 2% of the approximately 42 million fuel hoggers still clunking along.
In other words, midnight basketball for jalopies has been a less than spectacular achievement, with 98 percent of guzzlers still out on the streets messing up the air and stealing little old ladies' purses.
When Obama said "they are getting the oldest, dirtiest and most air polluting trucks and SUVs off the road for good," he probably just misspoke, and didn't actually mean to imply that Cash for Clunkers would actually get the oldest, dirties vehicles off the road.
No worries, though. If there's one thing we learned from the Bush presidency it's the wisdom of keeping several justifications handy for each major policy decision. No WMDs? That's OK, because...freedom! No environmental gain from cash for clunkers? That's OK, because...stimulus! Ta da!
Read the confessions of a cash for clunkers scammer here.