Late-night comics have wondered why Congress, instead of bailing out auto manufacturers and big banks, doesn't give money to the public to pay down mortgages or to help buy new cars. Turns out that Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., likes the idea. Brownback is co-sponsoring "cash for clunkers" legislation that would offer up to $4,500 to consumers who trade in cars getting 18 miles per gallon or less for a higher-mileage vehicle. Though Brownback has been a critic of government intervention in the marketplace, he sees the auto industry as a victim that deserves help. "The overall economic landscape has just fallen out from underneath them," he said.