The Corner

‘Wildly Popular’

The phrase, and ones like it, keep popping up in discussions of the cash-for-clunkers program. But is it wildly popular? It’s certainly wildly popular among car buyers who qualify, but that’s not a representative sample, now is it? Rent control is hugely popular among occupants of rent-controlled apartments. But that’s not quite the same thing as a poll showing that Americans love rent control. Cash-for-Clunkers is also very popular with car dealers and car companies — and some statists eager to prove government can do something right. But again, that’s not exactly a representative sample of America writ large.

Has there been any polling? It may be that the program is popular, but I’d be surprised if it is wildly popular. Giving away free money is always wildly popular with the people who receive it, less so for those who are forced to pay it.

Update: Well, I guess I shouldn’t have been in such a hurry to perambulate my canine and spent the extra minute or two googling the question. It seems there has been polling. Here’s Rasmussen from June:

Despite the willingness of people to accept the money if it was available, 54% opposed the “Cash for Clunkers” proposal and just 35% were in favor the plan. Twelve percent (12%) were undecided.

So, the press keeps saying “wildly popular” — I’ve done it myself, I’m afraid — without the all-important qualification “wildly popular among people who get thousands of free dollars from other taxpayers.”

Jonah Goldberg, a senior editor of National Review and the author of Suicide of the West, holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

The Sinking Collusion Ship

The entire Trump-Russia collusion narrative was always implausible. One, the Washington swamp of fixers such as Paul Manafort and John and Tony Podesta was mostly bipartisan and predated Trump. Two, the Trump administration’s Russia policies were far tougher on Vladimir Putin than were those of Barack ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Problem with Certainty

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is Jonah Goldberg’s weekly “news”letter, the G-File. Subscribe here to get the G-File delivered to your inbox on Fridays. Dear Reader (Including those of you having this read to you while you white-knuckle the steering wheel trying to get to wherever you’re going for the ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Worst Cover-Up of All Time

President Donald Trump may be guilty of many things, but a cover-up in the Mueller probe isn’t one of them. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, attempting to appease forces in the Democratic party eager for impeachment, is accusing him of one, with all the familiar Watergate connotations. The charge is strange, ... Read More

Theresa May: A Political Obituary

On Friday, Theresa May, perhaps the worst Conservative prime minister in recent history, announced her resignation outside of number 10 Downing Street. She will step down effective June 7. “I have done my best,” she insisted. “I have done everything I can. . . . I believe it was right to persevere even ... Read More
PC Culture

TV Before PC

Affixing one’s glance to the rear-view mirror is usually as ill-advised as staring at one’s own reflection. Still, what a delight it was on Wednesday to see a fresh rendition of “Those Were the Days,” from All in the Family, a show I haven’t watched for nearly 40 years. This time it was Woody Harrelson ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Democrats’ Other Class War

There is a class war going on inside the Democratic party. Consider these two cris de couer: Writing in the New York Times under the headline “America’s Cities Are Unlivable — Blame Wealthy Liberals,” Farhad Manjoo argues that rich progressives have, through their political domination of cities such as ... Read More

The Deepfake of Nancy Pelosi

You’ve almost made it to a three-day weekend! Making the click-through worthwhile: A quick note about how National Review needs your help, concerns about “deepfakes” of Nancy Pelosi, one of the most cringe-inducing radio interviews of all time, some news about where to find me and the book in the near ... Read More

America’s Best Defense Against Socialism

The United States of America has flummoxed socialists since the nineteenth century. Marx himself couldn’t quite understand why the most advanced economy in the world stubbornly refused to transition to socialism. Marxist theory predicts the immiseration of the proletariat and subsequent revolution from below. ... Read More