A Good Example of the CO2 Abatement "Stupid Stuff"

In my transpartisan climate plan the other day, I wrote this:

Point 3:  Eliminate all the stupid stuff

Oddly enough, this might be the hardest part politically because every subsidy, no matter how idiotic, has a hard core of beneficiaries who will defend it to the death -- this the the concentrated benefits, dispersed cost phenomena that makes it hard to change many government programs.  But never-the-less I propose that we eliminate all the current Federal subsidies, mandates, and prohibitions that have been justified by climate change. Ethanol rules and mandates, solar subsidies, wind subsidies, EV subsidies, targeted technology investments, coal plant bans, pipeline bans, drilling bans -- it all should go.  The carbon tax does the work.

So what do I mean by "stupid stuff."  Well a good place to start is solar roads, but I have already flogged that not-dead-enough-yet horse many times. So let's find a new example -- cash for clunkers.  The original cash-for-clunkers program that paid fixed government payments for old cars that would then be destroyed was billed as both a stimulus (sells cars!) and a CO2 reduction (newer cars mostly all more efficient than older cars).

In fact, it did neither.  It turned out that the stimulus was virtually non-existent, as it just pulled forward sales that were already going to happen.  And while there might have been a teenie bit of CO2 reduction, it occurred at ridiculously high cost-per-ton (meaning the same investment in any number of other approaches would have reduced a lot more CO2).

Incredibly, given all this, Kevin Drum wrote recently:

Cash for Clunkers! My favorite stimulus program of all time. Sure, I agree with the experts who say that it’s not all that great purely as stimulus, but as a way of making stimulus popular it couldn’t be beat. More like this, please.

This is the man who, on not one but two occasions, responded to a detailed critique of mine on something he wrote by saying he had "science" on his side.  Are these guys even trying any more?