Thursday, October 31, 2013

Cash for Clunkers? Was it a Success?

I do not think that Cash for Clunkers (properly known as Car Allowance Rebate System—or CARS) was a good approach to help decrease air pollution from mobile sources. In fact, the program ended up being a complete debacle, resulting in creating more waste than it was meant to save in the first place. 

The Automotive Recycler’s Association (ARA) suggests that “in addition to conserving natural resources, automotive recycling plays an important role in reducing air and water pollution, and solid waste generation” (2010). This would have been wonderful, except for one important fact. The cars that were collected from the CARS program were federally mandated to be shredded, rather than recycled. 
Where do you suppose the shredded material went to? That’s right, the landfill—Gasp! “For each ton of metal recovered by a shredding facility, roughly 500 pounds of shredder residue are produced, meaning about 3 to 4.5 million tons of shredder residue is sent to landfills every year” (Santisi, 2013). 100% of vehicles are able to be recycled. In fact, the engine itself takes the most amount of energy and resources to manufacture, so car companies reap both an environmental and cost benefit from being able to recycle engine parts” (Santisi, 2013). Therefore, companies that could have been repurposing those engines were instead having to use important resources to create brand new ones to keep up with the new market demand void that was left by the CARS program. 

Just like every other government program, the Cash for Clunkers deal was a complete failure. I would be extremely hesitant to suggest that the government should be involved in any other method for pursuing decreased air pollution from vehicles. I don’t believe that they can do a better job at environmental protection than the private market can.

For a very enlightening Fox Business News report in which Michael Wilson, executive vice president of the Automotive Recycler's Association discusses the impact 'Cash for Clunkers' has had on the environment, click here

Daniel Wagner.


Automotive Recycler’s Association, 2010. The Role of the Automotive Recycling Industry. Retrieved October 31, 2013 from
Santisi, J. January 2, 2013. The Cash for Clunkers Conundrum: That Cash for Clunkers Program Was Not an Environmental Success Story. Retrieved October 31, 2013 from

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Top 5 Fears Keeping You from Succeeding

I don't think I've ever met a person who did not have a goal or a dream that they wished they could achieve. It's like our lifeblood, keeping us moving forward. But what happens to those who get left behind; stuck in an unfulfilled monotonous rut? Most might automatically assume it's money, time, or skills that provide that nagging roadblock, continuously keeping us from pursuing our goals. However, you might be surprised to discover that its more in our heads than we think. Today, I want to discuss some of the real reasons many goals never reach fruition.

1. Fear of Failure:

FailureFailure in and of itself is a necessity for survival! We all are born with this innate sense that we must keep trying if we wish to succeed. How many times did you fall over when you were trying to learn how to walk? Yeah, I don't know either, but I'm fairly certain that you didn't come crashing out of the womb with both legs marathon ready. We all have this great goal setting ability very early on in life. Do you have any idea how many times that stubborn ol' mule Edison had to fail before he successfully created a commercially viable light bulb? (The internet can't seem to agree on an exact amount, but they all agree that it was A LOT of times).

I can say one thing for certain: Never trying at all guarantees 100% chance that you will fail.

2. Fear of Being Different:

There seems to be this misconception that standing up above the crowd and being different is a bad thing. This fear of being different is crippling for people. People will even try to put you in your place when you are becoming too different from them. It's ok to be concerned with what others think of us; it's how we get our social proofs that we're on the right track. However,  you should not simply listen to what others think of you and take that as law. There needs to be an evaluation process so you can measure yourself against your own beliefs to determine how different to be. For example, if your goal is to dance in the street in mid day with no music, people might find you to be a bit crazy. But as long as it's not hurting anyone, who gives a crap??

3. Fear of Not Adding Up or Not Being Accepted:

What if I'm not good enough? This question plagues many of us and cripples us in such a way that we simply don't try. It's this concept that the experts will scoff at us and call us out. It's the idea that we will only disappoint people with our ideas and gifts; that they will not be worthy. My question is this: What makes them the experts? What committee was put in place that offered them some official title of 'most knowledgeable in their subject?' You have much more to offer the world. Perhaps it's in a different voice, from a different point of view, or from a slightly different angle. Perhaps your method for getting the information across to someone is more powerful or entertaining. There are so many ways to "add up" without feeling like you have to become an authority on a subject before you are allowed to speak.

4. Fear of the Unknown:

This is a big one... what kind of questions does this invoke for you? For me, it's a HUGE list of 'what if's.'

What if it doesn't work out? What if my website doesn't look good? What if new technology comes out that makes all this work invalid or obsolete? What if I don't know the answer to someone's question? What if these tutorial classes I signed up for end up being worthless?Gulliver

These are just a few examples I could come up with off the top of my head. Very real questions for me that I am dealing with individually. But, if I continue to let these questions eat away my drive to succeed, I'll never get anything done; I'll never achieve my career goals. The fear of the unknown can end up being the death of a dream if you let those nagging questions keep pulling you away from your objective. The scene from Gulliver's Travels comes to mind when the Lilliputians (small people who are about as big as one of Gulliver's fingers) tie him down and he ground with their tiny ropes; rendering him helpless.

Don't let the Lilliputians get you too!

5. Doubt:

Nobody gets inside our heads more than we do. The effects of self-doubt can cripple us, even to the point of never trying. The mental and physical toll it takes can be detrimental to our health and can affect our ability for goal setting. It certainly doesn't help that we always seem to have that little voice called doubt constantly nagging us--keeping us from achieving great things. For me, doubt is a cold combination of all fears combined into one. I believe it has been doubt that has kept me constantly going back and forth to work everyday in my 9 to 5 boring job. It has been doubt that has forced me into thinking that I am not good enough, or that people don't care what I have to say, or that my actions don't have an impact on anyone's life.

But I'm here to take back my life and banish doubt  from my vocabulary, and you can do the same. Typically, your doubts are ungrounded in reality and are simply constructs that you put up in front of yourself to obscure your vision of a brighter future.


Of this list of five fears, the main fear that I struggle with is the fear of not adding up. I always wonder, who in the world wants to hear what I have to say? I feel as though my words will not have an impact the way I hope they will. That I will be called out as a fraud or disingenuous or a phoney. But, I have decided to try anyway. I decided that I will write because it helps me clarify my goals. I will continue to do this because there's certainly at least one person who cares what I have to say, and that's enough for me.

Remember: Never trying at all guarantees 100% chance that you will fail. Overcoming fear is a great place to start.

So, what fears do you have that keep you from pursuing your goals?

Daniel Wagner.
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