The Ultimate Bailout Machine

As governments around the world study ways to save tanking car manufacturers, it appears the nation known for fine automobiles has engineered the best solution to the car crisis to date.

According to Der Spiegel, "Included in Germany's €50 billion ($64 billion) stimulus package, which finally cleared the last legislative hurdle last week, is the so-called "scrapping bonus." The measure hands Germans €2,500 to junk their old cars -- provided they immediately buy a new one."

"As a result, a number of German brands have experienced record sales so far in 2009. Volkswagen expects February sales to reach 120,000 cars, more than ever before. Opel, which is struggling to survive as its parent company GM sinks further into economic woes, experienced its best month in five years this February, selling 40,000 cars. And the Romanian auto manufacturer Dacia has even had to boost production lately to keep up with high demand in Germany," Der Spiegel reports.

"There has never been a state promotion that has had such a positive effect as the scrapping bonus," Robert Rademacher, president of the German Association for Motor Trade and Repairs, told Motor und Sport this week.

This plan is remarkably similar to an idea floated by the Brookings Institution last month, and it's something the U.S. should adopt immediately. What Der Spiegel article doesn't mention is the positive environmental impact of getting junkers off the streets.

Still, it is unclear whether the measure can provide long term help to larger, more expensive cars. "Signature brands such as Mercedes, Porsche, BMW and Audi are all suffering," Der Spiegel reports. Sales of high-end sedans plummeted by 48 percent in January relative to the same month a year before. "Because of higher profit margins on such models, the downturn is doubly dangerous."

How to vaccinate the world’s most vulnerable? Build global partnerships.

Pfizer's partnerships strengthen their ability to deliver vaccines in developing countries.

Susan Silbermann, Global President of Pfizer Vaccines, looks on as a health care worker administers a vaccine in Rwanda. Photo: Courtesy of Pfizer.
  • Community healthcare workers face many challenges in their work, including often traveling far distances to see their clients
  • Pfizer is helping to drive the UN's sustainable development goals through partnerships.
  • Pfizer partnered with AMP and the World Health Organization to develop a training program for healthcare workers.
Keep reading Show less

Why the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner won’t feature a comedian in 2019

It's the first time the association hasn't hired a comedian in 16 years.

(Photo by Anna Webber/Getty Images for Vulture Festival)
Culture & Religion
  • The 2018 WHCA ended in controversy after comedian Michelle Wolf made jokes some considered to be offensive.
  • The WHCA apologized for Wolf's jokes, though some journalists and many comedians backed the comedian and decried arguments in favor of limiting the types of speech permitted at the event.
  • Ron Chernow, who penned a bestselling biography of Alexander Hamilton, will speak at next year's dinner.
Keep reading Show less

Juice is terrible for children. Why do we keep giving it to them?

A glass of juice has as much sugar, ounce for ounce, as a full-calorie soda. And those vitamins do almost nothing.

Pixabay user Stocksnap

Quick: think back to childhood (if you've reached the scary clown you've gone too far). What did your parents or guardians give you to keep you quiet? If you're anything like most parents, it was juice. But here's the thing: juice is bad for you. 

Keep reading Show less

A new study says alcohol changes how the brain creates memories

A study on flies may hold the key to future addiction treatments.

Scott Barbour/Getty Images
Mind & Brain
  • A new study suggests that drinking alcohol can affect how memories are stored away as good or bad.
  • This may have drastic implications for how addiction is caused and how people recall intoxication.
  • The findings may one day lead to a new form of treatment for those suffering from addiction.
Keep reading Show less