Health Care and Clunkers

Went back to physical rehab for my dead foot this morning. Good to see everyone again. And I had a pleasant visit — ending with a new shoe insert and the diagnosis that we are now entering into the “trial and error” stage.  Woot.

Wonder if we are experiencing public policy by trial and error these days as well?

While watching TV and enjoying my daily glide on the elliptical trainer I learned that the brakes were being placed on the so-called cash for clunkers program. That fact, by the way, didn’t deter Toyota from running the same annoying ad every few minutes hyping the program and benefits. I digress.

But apparently the cash for clunkers program is so popular and has created so much demand for new cars and trucks that it is out of money already — burning through a billion or so in just a few days. Oh well. I can’t imagine that this ruse to take gas-guzzling cars and trucks off the streets to improve the environment would matter one bit in terms of global warming and so on. But it does look like one of the few economy stimulus ideas that is, ugh, stimulating sales, the economy and I expect production of cars and trucks.

Here’s the point. These policy initiatives deal in mind-boggling numbers, forecasts and projections — that, let’s be honest, are almost always wrong. For instance, send an e-mail to the White House and ask about how many jobs have been created or saved (the stimulus test, remember) in the last six months. Nah. Time used more productively by taking a nap. I digress again.

So if the cars for clunkers is out of gas — and money — how sure are we that the trillion or so price tag that is being tossed around for the administration’s health-care plan is realistic? Oh well.

And finally, as we approach the weekend, my brother Mark informs me that the Pittsburgh Pirates are still the model for ineptitude and fan frustration that the Cleveland Indians are trying to emulate.

True. But Mark — give us time.

If, as rumored, Victor Martinez is heading to the Boston Red Sox or elsewhere before the trading deadline, will Slider be next?

And I have tickets for the game next Tuesday.

Cash for clunkers, indeed.

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