The "cash for clunkers" program was the focus of much of the debate about the stimulus package.
Officially known as the Car Allowance Rebate System, the program gave people a rebate of a few thousand dollars to get rid of old cars in favor of newer, gas-efficient models. Congress found the program to be so effective that it extended the appropriations from $1 billion to $3 billion.
Car dealerships in Columbia found the program increased car sales — but they also said the rules could be confusing and difficult to navigate. One dealer had only been reimbursed for 25 of his 375 sales.
Proponents cited the 457,000-plus transactions and the increase in car sales. But some say the boom now means a decrease in car sales later. And many people have criticized the amount of government spending in the stimulus package as a whole.
How effective was the Cash for Clunkers program? What lessons should lawmakers take away from this for other stimulus programs?