Federal stimulus fail – “Weatherize your home” program buried in red tape

Part of the Obama administration’s stimulus program included a plan to weatherize 600,000 homes in three years – and “save or create” jobs of course – has only completed somewhere between 9,000 and 22,000 homes during it’s first year. The program cost is $5 billion.

Thousands per home to do this and change light bulbs?

My first point – and this is a pretty important point – is that the federal government has absolutely no constitutional authority to spend one dime of our taxpayer funds to “weatherize” the homes of our neighbors. I understand all you greenies out there want to save energy, but it is the personal responsibility of the home owner to make improvements to his or her home to save money.

Are we really going to lay the responsibly to ensure a window is closed at the hands of the federal bureaucracy? The Department of Energy has a 36-page full color booklet on tips to save energy at home but that’s not enough. I’m sure millions of dollars have been spent at the state and local level to create the same time of brochure; it’s probably available in Chinese for goodness sakes.

Andrew Malcolm over at Top of the Ticket – a Los Angeles Times political and commentary blog – stretches the legs of the original story at ABCNews.com quite a bit by suggesting the program has cost $57,000-plus per house so far ($522 million / 9,100).

The Energy folks did tell ABC they’ve so far spent $522 million Recovery Act dollars on the program. Which works out to, let’s see, about $57,362 worth of very expensive weatherstripping for each home fixed up so far.

Although the math is correct and the dollar amount makes a great headline, he’s quite incorrect with his original numbers. We really do not know how many homes were fixed up by the federal government since the Energy Department claims they winterized 124,000 homes in 2009. That still would be an impressive $4,000-plus per home, but maybe we need to focus in – again – on the fact the federal government should not be doing this crap!

Update: Gateway Pundit reminds us about this video.


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Steve McGough

Steve's a part-time conservative blogger. Steve grew up in Connecticut and has lived in Washington, D.C. and the Bahamas. He resides in Connecticut, where he’s comfortable six months of the year.


  1. Plainvillian on February 18, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    "I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents." – James Madison, 1794.

    Madison may have know a little about the limitations explicit in the Constitution.


  2. donh on February 18, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    $5 billion for 9,000 homes. Immagine the new homes that could be built  for 9,000 people with that kind of money. They would have bigger  homes than Opra.

  3. Fish on February 19, 2010 at 3:09 am

    $57,000 for insulation per house?  Wow now I can buy 16,857 cans of expansive foam insulation (at $3.50 per can) .  More if I could only find that darn coupon.

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