Still, I expect that even the WSJ is going a bit overboard when it describes “Cash for Clunkers” as “ One of Washington's all-time dumb ideas”.
There are just too many contenders – Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Community Reinvestment Act, the NEA, our entire farm price support policy, foreign aid to the Palestinians, etc.
Still, on a small scale, cash for clunkers does epitomize what's wrong with Washingon: it cost a lot of money, resulted in a net loss to the economy of about $1.4 billion, and had no real positive effect on anyone other than those people the government paid to do what they were going to do anyway.
Perversely enough, it's being billed by politicians as a huge success. I'm not sure how many more successes like this we can afford.