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Q&A: Cash for Clunkers cost: $2.77B

The government’s Cash for Clunkers program was costly, but drove up car sales in August.

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The government’s Cash for Clunkers program was costly, but drove up car sales in August.

Cash for Clunkers cost: $2.77B

Now that all dealers have, or at least should have, been paid in the Cash for Clunkers program, do you know how much it cost the government to administer the program?

The Cash for Clunkers program, which provided up to $4,500 for trading older, low-gas-mileage vehicles for new cars with better fuel economy, began July 1, 2009, with an appropriation of $1 billion from Congress. Four weeks later that money was gone, and Congress allocated another $2 billion. By the time the program ended Aug. 24, about $2.77 billion had been used for 665,000 transactions.

The overall sales for August posted the first year-over-year increase in auto sales since October 2007. And yes, sales dropped sharply in September without the incentives.

For greater detail about the program, you can go to this Department of Transportation Web page: www.dot.gov/affairs/2009/dot13309.htm.

Skinny on 'Boston Legal' actor

There is a small person, a black-haired woman, who has made several appearances on Boston Legal. I have never been able to get her name in the credits. What can you tell me about her? She is quite the scene stealer.

You're referring to Meredith Eaton-Gilden, playing the Bethany "the Badger" Horowitz role on the series Boston Legal. She joined the cast in 2006 as a love interest of William Shatner's character, in a role written for her by series creator David Kelley.

Eaton-Gilden, 35, stands about 4 feet tall. She was born in Long Island to a clinical psychologist mother and an administrative law judge father. She graduated from Hofstra University in 1996 with a degree in interdisciplinary sciences and a minor in theater. She later earned a master's degree in clinical psychology from Adelphi University.

She advises would-be actors to have a "backup plan" and considers her psychology degree her "safety net."

She started acting with a role in the movie Unconditional Love, which was shot in 1999 but wasn't released until 2002. She also made guest appearances in Greg & Dharma and NYPD Blue. She landed a regular role in 2002 as attorney Emily Resnick in the drama Family Law. When it was canceled a year later, Eaton-Gilden jumped fields, using her education to work at a psychiatric facility in California before getting back into TV in 2006 with a role in House.

She was married to another small actor, Michael Gilden, from 2001 until his death in 2006. In 2008 she married Los Angeles photographer Brian Gordon.

In a 2007 interview with USA Today, Eaton-Gilden acknowledged that her "opportunities are always going to be more limited than actors who are a foot taller than me, but I hope I've proven myself just like any other actress. And I hope that I get a chance to read for parts."

Q&A: Cash for Clunkers cost: $2.77B 10/12/09 [Last modified: Monday, October 12, 2009 3:20pm]
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