Cash for Blunders

"Cash for Clunkers" was upside-down and wrong-headed, rewarding bad behavior rather than punishing it, says Libertarian Richard A. Epstein.
October 26, 2009, 11am PDT | Tim Halbur
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With a new $2 billion in funding working its way through Congress for 'Cash for Clunkers', Epstein warns that the 'mega-program' is impossible to manage and rewards polluters instead of punishing them.

He writes, "Since buying off wrongdoers creates upside-down incentives, we should tax the offenders. Unfortunately, for pollution, this approach is not easy to implement in the absence of any reliable technology to monitor automobile pollution mile by mile. But we can find a respectable proxy by imposing an age-adjusted licensing fee tailored to the amount of ambient air pollution in different locales."

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Published on Sunday, October 25, 2009 in Forbes
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