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With the Federal debt standing at $11,581,201,791,282.14 today, I'm having a terrible time trying to reconcile the idea of pouring billions more into the "Cash for Clunkers" program. We can't just look at today's "sticker price" for the program -- $3 billion, if the House of Representatives gets its way. We have to look at the fact that every penny of the program is just brand-new deficit spending. So we're going to pay interest on all that debt -- and depending on the length of time the government is going to take to pay it back, we're talking about 4.25% interest or higher. On $3 billion, that's $127.5 million a year in interest payments alone. This is just absurd behavior. And it's even worse because it requires destroying the "clunkers" and their engines. That's going to make used cars (and used car parts) more expensive, which is going to disproportionately hurt poor families and young drivers.
If you've ever wondered about whether the pace of change has really accelerated in our day-to-day lives, here's proof that it has: Apple sold ten million iPhones in 2008. That's more than the total number of refrigerators sold in the 1920s.
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Keywords in this show: adoption rates for technology • automobiles • Apple • cars • cash for clunkers • debt • Federal debt • iPhones • refrigerators • technological change