Out of Control Policy Blog

Cash for Caulkers... Seriously?

The House passed a climate change bill in June. They passed a health care bill in November. And they passed financial services reform bill last week. All of the bills touch on issues that need to be addressed. All of the bills fail to effect positive change on the whole. What else can the House screw up?

The U.S. House of Representatives aims to pass a scaled-back jobs bill this week to bring down the nation's double-digit unemployment rate, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said on Tuesday. The bill will include money for ready-to-go highway construction projects and aid to cash-strapped states so they will not have to lay off teachers, police and other public-sector employee, Hoyer said at his weekly news conference... The House also plans to extend several federal safety-net programs, such as unemployment insurance and food stamps, to help those struggling with the worst economic downturn since the 1930s, Hoyer said.

Of course, another stimulus. The so called "Jobs Bill" could be passed by the House as early as tomorrow.

But wait, there is more:

President Obama came to a suburban Washington Home Depot store Tuesday to push a program — helpfully called “Cash for Caulkers” — that is aimed at helping homeowners to make their homes more energy efficient.

Before his speech, the president discussed his plan to create green jobs with labor leaders and business owners. “I am calling on Congress to provide new temporary incentives for Americans to make energy efficiency retro-fit investments in their homes and we want them to do it soon,” Mr. Obama said. He elicited a laugh from workers assembled when he added that “insulation is sexy stuff.”

The White House says the retro-fitting program will be similar to the Cash for Clunkers program, which offered rebates for trading in used vehicles for more fuel-efficient ones. Mr. Obama wants Congress to look into consumer rebates for households that make energy efficient upgrades to their homes. He said homeowners could get back their investments in energy efficiency in two to three years.

Yes, given the wild success of the auto industry right now, wait, I meant the stagnant growth after a government funded spending spree by Americans already in the auto market. Oh, right, that Clunkers program only took demand from the future, it didn't create new demand. Caulkers is likely to have the same effect.

Anthony Randazzo is Director of Economic Research


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