Google's Clunker

I’ll admit it up front: I don’t have the same level of paranoia about Google many others on this site have.  Don’t get me wrong, my stance toward them is a guarded one, but I’m not yet convinced they’re actively and wholly geared towards pushing a left-wing agenda, mounting circumstantial evidence to the contrary notwithstanding.

That said, here’s another piece of that circumstantial evidence.  What I link to is the front page of the”domestic trends” section of Google Finance.  Note the second chart under “Interesting Examples”, and how it highlights the effect of last year’s “Cash for Clunkers” program.  Then also note that the chart cuts off at July 2009, the very peak of CfC.

What they don’t show unless you go look up the current Auto Buyers Index chart, is what happened right after that:

Google Auto Buyers Index Chart

Not that this wasn’t entirely unpredictable. Not only did auto sales fall off a cliff after the program ended, but this year’s sales have lagged significantly behind those of years prior to the big stimulus effort. This of course makes perfect sense: all “Cash for Clunkers” did was cause people to make purchases they would have made sooner or later regardless, opt for “sooner” at the cost of “later”.

Now maybe it’s just me, but I would think a more recent chart considerably more interesting than the upside of the buying surge alone, if only for the fact that it’s more information rather than less. But hey, I’m not Google, and if they want to help convince me that, as our president put it, they “don’t stand with me”, they have a right to do so.

But it’s certainly not going to get me to let my guard down with them.