There are about 150 headlines a day there to remind you that the auto industry is in the toilet, but there's one segment of the market that is loving it: mechanics.

The USA Today reports that "Auto dealers and garage owners say they are seeing drivers pay more attention to regular maintenance and be more willing to spring for costly major repairs now that they are reluctant to trade in their junkers."

Parts and service departments at dealerships are expected to see their revenues rise 3% in 2009, and the percentage of vehicles scrapped hit its lowest mark since 1996.

It's hard to see this as bad news: A decline in car manufacturing is good for the environment and regardless of what the latest unemployment figure is, driving an old car for a few more years is one of the smartest financial moves you can possibly make. That's why it's so mystifying to me that the United States Senate is passing laws that encourage people to take out loans to buy new cars they can't afford. Of course that's a wonderful gift to hand to automobile manufacturers, but what about the mechanics who are paid to service old cars?

Increasing the number of new cars sold is bad for mechanics and more importantly, it's bad for consumers. it's a shame that lawmakers have been so blindsided by lobbyists that they can't see that.

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