Picture this:

Driving through town, a family spies an interesting display in front of a local car dealership. A large construction dump bin contains two automobiles, nose down, seemingly disposed of (quite tidily) for any number of reasons. One of the cars is a bit rusted, paint perhaps a little faded, the other has no apparent defects whatsoever…except that it appears to be at least 10 years old.

This is an advertisement for the “cash for clunkers” program…yet another impractical and completely inane attempt by the Obama administration to “bandage up” our sinking economy.

Here’s the premise: global warming is destroying the planet (snicker) and fuel prices are at an all time high. Add to that mixture a stagnant new car sales market on the heels of one of the largest government sponsored financial bail-outs in history.

The answer? Trade in your ol’ gas guzzler for a spiffy new model and Uncle Sam will give you up to $4500 towards the purchase. This, of course, only applies to vehicles with a combined “New EPA MPG” of 18 or less…which, BTW, large Catholic families, totally knocks out your 12 to 15 passenger vans!

You gas guzzlers, you! Look at all those messy carbon footprints and fingerprints you’re leaving all over the place…shame! Perhaps Uncle Sam could interest you in three or four new Toyotas in exchange…yeah…that would work. Not!

All jesting aside…this is actually quite serious.

Serious because our government is suggesting that its citizens undertake more consumer credit debt. Debt up to $45,000 per vehicle…all in the guise of doing us a favor and helping out the planet.

Here’s a news flash…the economy is bottoming out! We are not “digging out.” We’re “digging in.” To suggest that anyone should take on new car debt at a time when unemployment is rampant and home foreclosures continue to rise, is quite simply, egregious.  This program will cost billions in the long run, billions that our own government must finance because there’s nothing in the coffers…

And as for “green…”

Just how green is this whole process?  Where will these “clunkers” end up?  In a landfill?  What about increased emissions during the whole revved up new car production process?  Is anyone thinking?

It doesn’t seem so…

Our grandparents and great-grandparents had it right, oh, so many years ago.  The Depression lasted for more than a decade and during that time “use and re-use” was the name of the game.  While frugality was a way of life, large families were the rule, not the exception.  No one saved up their money to have a baby, in the meantime enjoying new cars, new homes, new computers, new clothes, expensive vacations, etc., all the while declaring the world “no place to raise a child” or stating “we simply can’t afford to have children right now…”

No…children came and were welcomed.  Home ownership was a dream to be accomplished when the family had saved up enough money to actually afford one.  Cars were driven, repaired, driven some more, repaired, and driven…until they were no longer drivable and the family could afford to purchase another one.

With all the interest in being “green”, society forgets that large families and the poor have been exercising this practice out of necessity for many years.

We use and re-use.  We buy our furniture used, our cars used, our clothes from thrift stores, and save until we can afford those luxuries which some have come to see as necessities.

We aren’t traversing the skies in airplanes.  We plan our errands with fuel economy always in mind, and are more likely to recycle…hand me downs count, right?

We turn off the lights when we leave a room..most of the time.  In all, while we may have more people under one roof, we use fewer resources per capita.

Let’s look at a few startling facts…the average American home contains 2.5 people.

2.5 living, breathing human beings…

The average American home has 2.86 televisions.

2.86 plugged-into-an-outlet-energy-hogging-relationship-destroying-televisions…

So…here’s my suggestion.

On July 24th forget “cash for clunkers.”  Save yourself the debt, save the landfills yet another junk car, save the economy billions, save the planet, too (if you’re into that kind of thing!), turn off those 2.86 televisions and have a baby.

Yep…invest in the future, be bigger and greener.  The only way to truly boost an economy is to expand the population…history bears this out!

And there’s really nothing more hopeful, more encouraging, than new life, is there?

A new car just isn’t going to cut it, folks.  No matter how good the fuel economy.

Blessings,