CNN says today that the Auto Industry bailout will end up costing something like $130 billion. This got me to thinking - why are we just sending the car companies money? I have a much better idea.
Let's think about some numbers first.
Car Buyers Notebook tells me that the average new car in 2008 cost $28,715. You can buy a pretty nice car for that even in 2009, so long as you don't want to go all Tricked Out Lexus or something, so let's use that as a working number for the 2009 model year.
That means $130 billion will buy roughly 4,527,250 pretty decent new cars, maybe more if we make the car companies a nice offer.
The Census Bureau tells me that there are roughly 101,301,401 Americans between the ages of 20 and 70 in the U.S. Let's call that prime driving age.
That means the U.S. government could buy about 1 nice new car for every 22 Americans.
I say let's just buy 4.5 million new cars and give them out by lottery. You gotta figure at least some of those 101 million driving-age Americans don't want or need a new car for some reason, so your odds are likely to be a hell of a lot better than 1 in 22 of getting a brand new vehicle.
Who's with me? Personally, Mr. President, I'll take a new 4-door Jeep Wrangler. I promise to take very good care of it.