Cash for Clunkers cost how much?

As the debate intensifies on whether and what form to extend the home buying tax credit, one argument against it is why give a credit to someone who planned on buying a home anyway. With 85% of 1st time home buyers who were eligible to collect the tax credit planning to buy a home anyway, the Brookings institute estimates that the $8,000 credit equates to a cost to the taxpayer of $43,000 per home. This is based on the belief that 85% of the almost 2mm buyers are getting free money. Edmonds.com today is estimating that the Cash for Clunkers program cost taxpayers $24,000 per vehicle sold. They estimate that 82% of sales would have happened anyway and thus the handout of up to $4,500 really only enticed 18% of the buyers of 690k vehicles sold under the program.

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