My friend was doing a tile job for a wealthy doctor who lives in a gated community on a hill overlooking Amway valley. When he asked the doctor’s wife why their ’74 Fiat (16,000 miles) was no longer in the garage, she said that her husband had decided to trade it towards a Mini Cooper under the Cash for Clunkers program.
My friend told me that he wanted to strangle the man, as his pristine Fiat is probably worth around $12,000 on the open market. I wondered how a small car could even qualify for the program, for a small car surely gets more than the requisite 18 mpg.
Then it occurred to us what likely happened. The dealership gave the doctor $4,500, but rather than submit the rebate to the government, it decided to triple its investment by selling the car itself. So apparently the Cash for Clunkers program is stimulating the economy in two ways: it not only gives away free money, but it entices rich people to do the same.
Payoff 1: If you live in Grand Rapids and your surgeon drives a new Mini, you might want to get a second opinion.
Payoff 2: My ’90 CRX apparently does not qualify as a clunker, so I can hold my head high as I drive around town. And I’ll need to if I’m going to see over the bumper of the SUVs.
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