Is Cash for Clunkers a Waste of Money?

Forecasters: Clunkers Program Should End After Additional $2 Billion

Zandi thinks that Congress should add the $2 billion to the program but stop there. Hopefully, he said, this will be enough to jump-start spending. Zandi acknowledges that selling more cars now will cause sales to slump in a few months.

"I think there will a lull in sales because of this early next year, but hopefully by then the broader economy will have found its footing," Zandi said. He did note that "this is a boost to the economy when it needs it most, and hopefully it's a catalyst for a more-sustainable economic expansion."

Car Sales Will Have Ripple Effect on Economy

Zandi said the auto industry is the "largest multiplier of any other industry in the economy" and that this program will create jobs in America compared to pushing other consumer products which are mostly built overseas.

"This is a very a logical thing to do to provide a quick boost to economy," he said.

Darrell M. West, director of Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution, put it this way: "What's good for Ford and General Motors is good for the country.

"Anything that gets people buying automobiles is going to have a ripple effect across the entire economy," he said. "Cars are essential to the American economy, so if we can get the automobile industry going again it will have a huge multiplier effect."

West also noted that the government has lent billions of dollars to the auto industry, so taxpayers have a vested interest in seeing the companies thrive.

He also said though that there is only so much the government can do to prop up the economy.

"The recession is supposed to end in the second half of this year so there shouldn't be much more need for programs like this," West said. "Eventually consumers are going take over and spend on their own behalf."

With reports from ABC News' Erin Keohane, Charles Herman, Sunlen Miller and The Associated Press.

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