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Cash for Clunkers?

Okay. Here we go, low and slow. Just so I got this straight. The United Sates government borrows money in the name of it's citizens, promising to repay it in the future from tax revenue collected from these same citizens.
The government then gives this borrowed future tax money back to it's citizens who must repay this money through higher or ongoing taxes in the future. So these same citizens can buy a new car?
Now this is were I start to shake my head in bewilderment. So as not to form a prematurely nurtured opinion, I must 'walk a mile' in one of these citizens shoes.
I own a clunker that is ten years old. Completely paid for some time ago. Not the greatest on fuel mileage, but I keep it in good mechanical order and it gets the job done, transporting me around.
I take the "Cash for Clunkers" deal from the government. Trade in my old car for a new one, and go into debt. I now own a vehicle that is an unknown quantity as to quality, that I will make monthly payments on for the next few years. After which I can look forward to repaying the cash 'gift' that I received from my government to purchase the vehicle in the first place! On top of all this, I will probably get saddled with an environmental fee to dispose of my old car. Or worse yet higher taxes to pay for the environmental damage this will cause.
This is where my head starts to ache from all the head shaking I'm doing. Why? The preceding tale is mind boggling! Absolute lunacy. The lunatics now have the keys to the asylum and are running things!
Throw out a perfectly good operating automobile, buy one I can't afford, use money that I have to repay the government for through taxes, to help me go into debt for years, hoping in the mean time I don't lose my job! Why?
Indeed Martha, crazy times we live in, kinda like throwing the baby out with the bath water isn't it? 
Disclosure: No position. Not even a new vehicle.