It was in the stimulus package. Buy a new car and get a rebate (up to $4,500.00) for trading in your inefficient old "clunker". The clunker, (if it passed the government clunker-test) would be taken off the road and scrapped, the government-run auto industry stimulated, you'd get a brand-new, new-car-smelling new car and the planet would be saved, all in one fell swoop. Scheduled to kick-in on the 1st of July, many dealers and buyers made their deals over the first two weeks of the month, based on the government's promises and published clunker criteria, only to find the feds holding-up the start of the rebate payments until the middle of the month. When the funds were finally released after the 15th they came with a brand-new, updated and more restrictive set of clunker criteria, non retro-active, thus gumming up a myriad of good-faith trade-ins already made on the basis of the pre-published clunker criteria. Tough break that, for the chumps who will now get no rebate and must pay the full price for the new car. No worries, though, the program was still drawing buyers by the droves to the new car showrooms over the last couple of weeks of the month.
Today, the program was canceled for lack of proper planning. As I recall, Congress didn't have of lot of opportunity to read the stimulus bill before they passed it, and neither did the President, before he signed it, so that's understandable. But they'll read the Healthcare bill, right?