Let me see if I've got this straight.
The government offers $1B for old cars during a recession. 7 days later, they run out of money as 250,000 new cars are sold.
The government is surprised at this.
Pretty simple, so far, right?
Except how in the blue hell do they act surprised when they say, "Come and get your free cash!" and people take them up on it? Didn't Hawaii learn the same lesson with their free health care for children? Didn't the feds learn the same lesson with the vouchers for analog-TV converters? Henrico County with the cheap iBooks (if you don't recall, that was a stampede that got national media coverage)?
When are you liberals gonna learn that if you offer something for free, people will swarm and swamp it? You want to bitch about Bush's tax refunds, but there was no swarm to deal with--just a cheque. At least with a tax refund, you know right off the bat how much money is going out. It's pre-capped. With this cock-up, Congress is now looking for more money to fulfill their "obligation" to this goofball program.
Oh, but before you get too excited about bilking the feds, make sure your car fits through the myriad caveats and EPA estimations and re-estimations and re-re-estimations of your MPG.