Cash for Satire
Cash for Clunkers; you’ve got to admit it’s a catchy phrase replete with alliterative genius. The creativity here is especially surprising, given
that the name was likely concocted by a government bureaucrat. I guess it’s not surprising that any government program with the word "cash" in
it is going to draw some attention. I mean, who doesn’t want to get some cash back from the government?
So, in honor of this paragon of government generosity, I propose that we extend the “Cash for” program to a few other sectors of the economy. I
mean, why should the auto industry be the only one to benefit?
After all, if giving cash away for broken-down cars works, why not apply that same logic elsewhere? So, without further ado, let’s take a look at
a few industries that could use a little government stimulus.
WARNING: Readers lacking a sense of satire may want to proceed with caution through the following pages.
Cash for Smartphones
Tired of your old cell phone? Hey, who isn’t? After all, every American has the right to own a fancy 3G network smartphone, so why not start a program
called Cash for Smartphones?
Here’s how it works: You bring in your old cell phone, and the feds will give you some cash toward the purchase of a new smartphone from either Research
In Motion (RIMM), Palm (PALM) or Apple (AAPL).
Then everyone can be connected to everyone at anytime via their newfangled devices.
I mean, isn’t being connected to each other with the latest technology an essential part of the American experience? I certainly think so, so let’s
tap the tax till and get the citizenry connected.
Cash for Operating Systems
Well, there’s no need for that. The new Cash for Operating Systems program can solve your problems.
All you have to do is log on to a special government-run website that will identify your computer’s current operating system. If your OS qualifies,
the government will send you a rebate so you can upgrade to the latest iteration from whatever software maker you prefer.
With the Cash for Operating Systems program, you’ll never again be forced to deal with those pesky Vista crashes.
Cash for Golf Clubs
Any duffer out there knows that you can always blame that bogie on your clubs. Yes, there’s a lot of angst amongst the weekend golfer set, but there
really doesn’t have to be.
With the new Cash for Golf Clubs program, you can get some government money for a brand-new set of high-end Callaway Golf (ELY)
Let’s face it, there’s nothing worse for a person’s self-esteem than shooting a poor round, so in an effort to make sure all golfers feel better
about themselves, the full faith and credit of the federal government must be brought to bear.
Cash for Cameras
Is your photographic equipment outdated? Are you taking pictures with a device that only captures up to 5 megapixels? If so, then you need the new
Cash for Cameras program.
Just take your old, low-resolution digital — or, god forbid, print — camera, and return it for a cash voucher good for the purchase
of a new, high-end digital camera. Not only will this benefit you, but it will be great for companies like Canon (CAJ), Eastman
Kodak (EK) and Sony (SNE).
Hey, we all have a right as Americans to capture those precious moments for all time, and the Cash for Cameras program lets you do that in full
Cash for Pets
Let’s face it, there comes a time when all of our pets get a little long in the tooth. As they age, they just aren’t as playful as they used to
be. But you don’t have to put up with your pet getting older.
Thanks to the Cash for Pets program, you can turn in your old furry friend and get a cash voucher good toward the purchase of a new best friend.
Cash for Houses
Is your property worth considerably less than it was during the height of the real estate boom? If your home qualifies, you can turn it in for cash
toward the purchase of a new home in the Cash for Houses program.
This program will be the easiest for the feds to operate, as they’ve already proven so adept at managing home lending agencies Freddie Mac (FRE)
and Fannie Mae (FNM). Of course, this program won’t just help underwater homeowners. It will also help
homebuilders like Hovnanian Enterprises (HOV) and Toll Brothers (TOL).
I ask you, what is more representative of the American dream than home ownership? The answer is nothing, and that is why the Cash for Houses program
is so critical.
Cash for Caterpillars
Farmers, heavy construction firms and builders, you’re in luck. If you’re tooling around in an old earth mover, or driving around in an aging dump
truck, you need to take advantage of Cash for Caterpillars.
This program lets you take that depreciating capital asset off your books, and helps put you into a brand-new depreciating capital asset. Of course, Caterpillar (CAT)
is going to be the big beneficiary here at taxpayer expense.
But as someone once famously said, "As Caterpillar goes, so goes the country." Or was that GM?
Cash for Fashion
Bouncing around town in out-of-date suits or dresses? Are you wearing shoes that are just oh so last season? Well, don’t worry, the new Cash for
Fashion program can fix that.
Simply take your old, outdated suits, shirts, blouses and slacks to your favorite retailer — along with your voucher from the government — and
you can don the latest in sartorial splendor.
After all, isn’t it better to look good than to feel good? With the Cash for Fashions program, you can do just that.
Cash for Airfare
Have you traveled lately? If so, then why not jump on another big ol’ jet airliner with the help of the Cash for Airfare program. Just take that
old ticket stub you purchased earlier this year, along with your government voucher, to your favorite participating airline and get a big discount
off your next getaway.
Not only will you be helping stimulate demand for companies like American Airlines (AMR), Southwest (LUV)
and United Airlines (UAUA), you’ll also get to go back to your favorite vacation spot for another
round of rest and relaxation.
Cash for Appliances
Our final "Cash for" program is perhaps the best one of all. It’s called Cash for Appliances. Using money provided in the recent stimulus
bill, the Department of Energy could make available about $300 million in rebates to customers who trade in older appliances — such as refrigerators
and dishwashers — for new, more efficient appliances carrying the Energy Star label.
Oh, wait a second, this Cash for Appliances thing isn’t satire? You mean this program is actually for real? Say it isn’t so!