Obama in Georgia, pitching ‘Cash for Caulkers’

The 44th president makes his first visit to Georgia today, touring Savannah Technical College and giving a speech there this afternoon. The focus of the speech will be new government incentives for homeowners to improve energy efficiency.

The energy efficiency program is being done under the guise of economic stimulus, even if the S-word has been banished from Democrats’ lexicon (which seems strange, considering they’re always telling us about the success of their $862 billion stimulus package last year). And that raises an important point.

The government may want to promote home energy efficiency on its own merits, perhaps for environmental reasons. If so, it should decide how much efficiency it wants to gain, decide the program’s length and cost on that basis, and sell the program to the public on those terms. (Which isn’t to say that we necessarily should buy it.)

What we have instead is an alleged “jobs” program — the J-word is more fashionable in Washington — that focuses on an extremely narrow slice of the economy and is expected to create, well, no one knows how many (or few) jobs.

A real jobs bill would focus on broad-based cuts that give employers a direct incentive to hire more workers: a one-year elimination of FICA taxes, for instance. That policy would present its own problems, but at least it would be a jobs policy that aims directly at jobs.

Would some employers maybe get credit for hires they were going to make anyway? Probably. But, similarly, some homeowners are already planning to upgrade their houses; after spending a winter with 20-plus-years-old windows that leak heat, and with energy prices likely to rise, I’m one of them.

Cash for Caulkers is environmental policy masquerading as a job-creation policy — which, it seems, the administration still lacks.

115 comments Add your comment

Ragnar Danneskjöld

March 2nd, 2010
11:35 am

Maybe, with enough caulk, we could seal the White House and Congress, prevent normal oxygen exchange. Or maybe that explains the policies we are already seeing?

Jess

March 2nd, 2010
11:48 am

In the world of private enterprise this is called “bail and switch”.

Joe

March 2nd, 2010
12:00 pm

Ha. You guys are great. Call me when you have a better plan. You can lay out the rhetoric better than anyone. But where are your solutions? You have none. Nor do the Republicans. Obama could cure cancer tomorrow and you’d have a problem with how he did it. You’re useless.

LA

March 2nd, 2010
12:11 pm

feeling cheated

March 2nd, 2010
12:21 pm

Hey, Kyle, too bad their not giving Cash 4 Lunkheads. You’d make a million.

bwa.

Road Scholar

March 2nd, 2010
12:27 pm

So the people who still have jobs in the caulking, insulation, air conditioning, etc. businesses should just go home. They can sit and watch the houses that are for sale by foreclosure, the houses which are half done, the empty commercial development or the vacant lots collect dust.
If you haven’t noticed, not alot of building is occuring. So, how do you suppose or propose that these people earn a living? Oh, by the way, your Repub legislature is proposing to reduce funding to education in our colleges, trade schools, and high/lower schools. Maybe the teachers and administrators can join this industry’s workers and have a tea party? I’m still waiting on that trickle down!

LA

March 2nd, 2010
12:28 pm

More bad news for the global warming cult.

Head of ‘Climategate’ research unit admits sending ‘pretty awful emails’ to hide data

Scientists at the heart of the Climategate row were yesterday accused by a leading academic body of undermining science’s credibility.

The Institute of Physics said ‘worrying implications’ had been raised after it was revealed the University of East Anglia had manipulated data on global warming.

The rebuke – the strongest yet from the scientific community – came as Professor Phil Jones, the researcher at the heart of the scandal, told MPs he had written ’some pretty awful emails’ – but denied trying to suppress data.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1254660/Climategate-professor-Phil-Jones-admits-sending-pretty-awful-emails.html

Piso Mojado

March 2nd, 2010
12:32 pm

Maybe Obama should consider using some of the job-creation policies employed by both Bushes during their administrations’ 12 years in power, when they created a whopping total 5.5 million jobs. Funny, I don’t remember the Kyle Wingfields of the world doing too much grousing when GWB’s policies (or lack thereof) created less than 3 million jobs in 8 years. Compare that to Clinton’s 23 million jobs in 8 years or Carter’s 10.4 million in 4 years.

Message to Kyle and his ilk: Shut up, crawl back into whatever cave you were hibernating in from 2000-2008, and stay there.

LA

March 2nd, 2010
12:34 pm

“Compare that to Clinton’s 23 million jobs in 8 years or Carter’s 10.4 million in 4 years”

LOLOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Talk about re-writing history!

LA

March 2nd, 2010
12:35 pm

“they created a whopping total 5.5 million jobs.”

President’s don’t create jobs. Unemployment was lower under W than it was under Clinton.

“Shut up, crawl back into whatever cave you were hibernating in from 2000-2008, and stay there.”

You should take your own advice.

Kyle Wingfield

March 2nd, 2010
12:36 pm

Road Scholar: I’m sure it would help those people. But how many people are we talking about? (The administration offers the oh-so-precise “thousands.”) And are those the jobs we should be most focused on? Why wouldn’t we do something that helps all employers, regardless of industry?

The answers to those questions, I believe, get back to my premise: That this is far more about energy policy than jobs policy.

Marine

March 2nd, 2010
12:40 pm

Anyone that puts a dime into a house that drops in value as we speek is a fool.

Marine

March 2nd, 2010
12:44 pm

Anyone that can’t spell speak..is me. And that got past spellcheck.

Jefferson

March 2nd, 2010
12:44 pm

Kyle are you for jobs or against jobs ? Sounds like an attempt to boost the economy, good thing right? Why not just help the employees and not the employers?

Vinny

March 2nd, 2010
12:49 pm

Kyle,

What do you expect from a community organizer with no practical experience in the real world? Obama is bereft of anything but a new government entitlement program. He is trying to get America hooked on these stupid ideas that don’t amount to anything but transfer of tax dollars from one segment of the population to the other. He’s never had to produce anything in his entire life, and he is hell bent on trying to make America dependent on government for handouts.

Th

March 2nd, 2010
12:52 pm

Kyle: do you support the tax cut bill that just passed the Senate that included the same items you are pushing here? How about the broad based tax cuts ($288 billion worth) in the original stimulus bill? To say the stimulus bill did not create jobs is to say that nearly $300 billion in tax cuts did not create jobs. Is that what you are saying?

As a long time small business owner, I assure you I want customers a whole lot more than tax breaks. Not much of a tax bill without income.

NowReally

March 2nd, 2010
12:52 pm

Kyle – I don’t see any employer hiring just because of an elimination of FICA for one-year or two. The biggest expense to an employer is healthcare cost and training. How many small businesses are going to hire two new employees because FICA has been eliminated? Will FICA elimination gaurantee that customers will make a purchase or use the service of that small business? I don’t think so. Reason: I’m more likely to make a purchase or use their service, if it’s going to benefit me (the customer) in the long run or short term.

Down in Albany

March 2nd, 2010
12:55 pm

Cash for caulkers will probably work about as well as the jobs stimulus bill did…in other words, pretty lousy! Take a look at Recovery.com. You’ll see such things as $274M in D.C. for waste management (2996 jobs), 578M for Miami and a “smart grid” (6304 jobs), $306M (3344 jobs) for the Adult Vaccine Contract (whatever the heck that is), $100M (1090 jobs) to build new barracks on Ft Benning, $121M (1322 jobs) to the Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority. The list goes on and on. The jobs stimulus package was neither timely or targeted. Practically NO private sector jobs have been created. And, those that were are short-term construction jobs. In Georgia, only 1703 (9%) of 20,007 jobs created (or saved) were in the private sector. And, to had insult to injury, we BORROWED the $862 Billion! Understand, I’m no fan of GWB, but, BO is definitely driving the bus off the cliff. He has no idea of how to create jobs, much less manage the affairs of this nation.

Road Scholar

March 2nd, 2010
12:55 pm

Mostly the whole buiding supply and contractor personnel could benefit! And what is bad about reducing our energy dependancy?

Ok Let’s cut all taxes back to nothing! Businesses can have them, even though there hasn’t been a report on how those past cuts/exemptions have helped Ga. Remember the last cuts by the ga legislature and the report that they couldn’t quantify any of the benefits? The people won’t have to pay taxes on not making any wages!

Maybe what we need is another war? Yeah that’s the ticket! At least the defense contractors and the armed forces will have jobs available!

Housing Prices

March 2nd, 2010
1:09 pm

People who think of their homes as an investment are fools Marine. Buy a house, pay for it and live there.A home’s value is simply the cost of materials and labor to put it together. What is losing value is the 1/3 acre you paid 150k to build your McMansion on because the developer told you that your neighborhood’s value would continue to appreciate…

Kyle,

replacement windows are foolish both from an environmental and return on investment perspective. Buy storm windows.

Carl Davidson

March 2nd, 2010
1:17 pm

Kyle, ask any business owner, which would they rather have? Tax cut or purchase order? You can cut their taxes to zero, and it won’t add one job in a down economy. What they need are customers who buy things, and the economy doesn’t care where the purchase order comes from. County governments buy wind turbines and make public buildings energy efficient, and those purchase orders lead to jobs. When the orders pile up, then they start looking for new hires. The supply side crap only works when you’re booming, and not even well then.

Hillbilly Deluxe

March 2nd, 2010
1:21 pm

Housing Prices

I think the wheels started to come off the cart when we started looking at houses as investments, rather than as a place to live.

I built my own house and intend to live in it until I die, so it suits me fine, if the value never goes up.

MAC

March 2nd, 2010
1:24 pm

Trying to micromanage the economy and consumer behavior with programs like this is a path to nowhere.

MAC

March 2nd, 2010
1:27 pm

However, those with philosophies oriented toward central planning by an omnipresent federal government LOVE these programs. Draw your own conclusions.

The Tar and Feathers Party

March 2nd, 2010
1:55 pm

“Have Caulk Gun, Will Travel” reads the card of a socialist con artist. “Have Hot Tub, Will Seduce” reads the card of Slick Willie ClinTax.

CJ

March 2nd, 2010
2:23 pm

Carl Davidson nailed it. You can give employer tax cuts until the cows come home, but they won’t create jobs where there’s no demand.

lmno

March 2nd, 2010
2:29 pm

I predict that this program will be wildly successful.

One of my toilets in my home is ancient and I have thought about replacing it with a newer one, but never have never gotten around to it. Now, I will definetely do that.

If the incentives are strong enough, I may install storm windows as well.

lmno

March 2nd, 2010
2:32 pm

Its a shame that the President thinks more of Georgia’s Technical Colleges than the State of Georgia does on a side note.

Linda

March 2nd, 2010
2:38 pm

On the agenda are:
Cash for Salters to help the Dept. of Transportation employees clearing our warming roads of snow,
Cash for Vaulters to help the funeral home & safety deposit box industries,
Cash for Halters to help school crossing guards,
Cash for Chaulkers to help pre-school teachers,
Cash for Malters to help the depressed beverage shops,
Cash for Walkers to help the health care industry & nursing homes,
Cash for Faulters to help our needy prison population.
Only BO can decide who is worthy of phantom money.

JF McNamara

March 2nd, 2010
2:38 pm

Same old, same old…

“Nothing works but tax cuts. Any other idea, especially from a Socialis..I mean Democrat is bad. Tax cut, tax cut, tax cut…”

Maybe they should try tax cuts in Greece. It’ll solve their debt problem in no time. Cut taxes to zero and they’ll be out of debt by noon tomorrow. Tax Cut, tax cut, tax cut! Gimme a break.

The Tar and Feathers Party

March 2nd, 2010
2:41 pm

The Future of America: A Nation of Caulkers. Good thing I got mine while the getting was good. No, I won’t share.

Intown

March 2nd, 2010
3:01 pm

So I guess you would prefer something that looked like the Governor’s Water Task Force Contingency plan … which while it looked good on paper to someone who knows nothing about water, was filled with false certainty about conservation gains, costs and feasibility. I’m sure Obama could slap together a bunch of chamber of commerce folks to slap something together full of made up numbers. Would that make you feel better Kyle?

Gerald West

March 2nd, 2010
3:12 pm

Kyle, you just don’t get it! The incentives for making homes more energy efficient creates useful jobs. The alternative is to pay unemployment compensation to those out-of-work construction people. So, isn’t it better to have workmen doing something that will save on energy costs now and in the future that having them do nothing?

Tell us a better way, if you know one, on just how the country can climb out of the hole we fell into in 2008. And don’t talk nonsense about tax cuts. It was the Reagan and Bush tax cuts that racked up the $12 trillion federal deficit.

The tired argument that tax cuts promote investment in American industry and commerce has been disproved over the last 100 years. People with surplus income are smart enough to invest in whatever offers a high rate of return with preservation of the principal. America hasn’t been a good investment since the heyday of the dotcom industry during the Clinton administration.

itsme

March 2nd, 2010
3:19 pm

It’s J O B S, Stupid. And, not just for construction workers.

Hayek

March 2nd, 2010
3:25 pm

@Ragnar–Nice tag.

No More Progressives!

March 2nd, 2010
3:26 pm

Joe

March 2nd, 2010
12:00 pm
“Ha. You guys are great. Call me when you have a better plan. You can lay out the rhetoric better than anyone. But where are your solutions? You have none. Nor do the Republicans. Obama could cure cancer tomorrow and you’d have a problem with how he did it. You’re useless.”

Well, that was refreshing. Odd, I didn’t seem to read any objective suggestions from your deathless prose; perhaps you intend to enlighten us at a later time?

lmno

March 2nd, 2010
3:30 pm

Kyle, will you be willing to revisit this topic in say 6 months?

If the program is successful, creates jobs, and sales for companies as well as helps reduce our dependency on foreign oil, will you stand up and say your were wrong.

If this program does poorly, i will admit I was wrong.

However, I must say it feels good to be rooting for good than hoping for bad.

The Tar and Feathers Party

March 2nd, 2010
3:39 pm

I can use a caulk gun better than some illiterate Mexican working for the politically well connected guy in downtown Atlanta….I will do my own work and claim my own tax credit.

Irishmafia

March 2nd, 2010
3:39 pm

Maybe I’d more faith in the government (dems or repubs) if things like the following didn’t happen on a daily basis. Yet we as a nation are broke but have money for :
The Pig Book Summary profiles the most egregious examples, breaks down pork per capita by state, and presents the annual “Oinker” Awards. All 10,160 projects are listed in a searchable database on CAGW’s website http://www.cagw.org. Examples of pork in the 2009 Pig Book include:

* $3.8 million for the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy in Detroit;
* $1.9 million for the Pleasure Beach water taxi service in Connecticut;
* $1.8 million for swine odor and manure management research in Ames, Iowa;
* $380,000 for a recreation and fairgrounds area in Kotzebue, Alaska;
* $143,000 for the Greater New Haven Labor History Association in Connecticut;
* $95,000 for the Canton Symphony Orchestra Association in Ohio; and
* $71,000 for Dance Theater Etcetera in Brooklyn for its Tolerance through Arts initiative.

Citizens Against Government Waste is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating wast

No More Progressives!

March 2nd, 2010
3:40 pm

Carl Davidson

March 2nd, 2010
1:17 pm
“Kyle, ask any business owner, which would they rather have? Tax cut or purchase order? You can cut their taxes to zero, and it won’t add one job in a down economy. What they need are customers who buy things, and the economy doesn’t care where the purchase order comes from.”

Yes, cutting taxes will add jobs. The behind-the-scenes costs and taxes of running a small business are onerous, at the minimum. Those costs & taxes may displace a potential new hire. Having run one, I can attest to that. We won’t even begin to address the hidden costs of compliance (another “tax”) imposed on businesses.

Customers have to have cash to buy things. We’re taxed enough as it is. We’re on the verge of a massive income tax increase to pay for all of BO’s phantom cash projects. When customers have less discretionary cash, they tend not to buy things, except essentials.

Actually, I want both. But I also want to see unemployment back down to 4% so others will be better off.

Th

March 2nd, 2010
4:02 pm

No More Progressives: “Yes, cutting taxes will add jobs” How did the $288 billion in tax cuts in the first stimulus bill work out?

No More Progressives!

March 2nd, 2010
4:06 pm

Th

March 2nd, 2010
4:02 pm
No More Progressives: “Yes, cutting taxes will add jobs” How did the $288 billion in tax cuts in the first stimulus bill work out?

This is pretzel logic. Why is it neccessary to spend money to cut a tax?

Makes no sense in the real world.

@@

March 2nd, 2010
4:06 pm

Heaven help us! I doubt seriously that technical students need encouragement to caulk.

Harvard students? Definitely!

Sealant would be a great solution for Obama’s mouth.

jconservative

March 2nd, 2010
4:14 pm

“…a one-year elimination of FICA taxes…”

Kyle a couple of weeks ago you had a column calling for reducing the deficit. Now you want to eliminate FICA for one year and increase the deficit.

You sound inconsistent.

LA

March 2nd, 2010
4:17 pm

Hey Kyle, you may want to take notice at the Supreme Court. They’re about to rule in favor of the Constitution. Gee, who’d a thunk that?

Chicagoans are about to be able to buy hand guns!!!!!!

LA

March 2nd, 2010
4:18 pm

“How did the $288 billion in tax cuts in the first stimulus bill work out?”

?????????????????????

jconservative

March 2nd, 2010
4:21 pm

Irishmafia at 3:39 pm

But remember every item on your list is the pet of an Incumbent who is trying to remain an Incumbent and that idea was brought to him by constituents who promise to keep him an Incumbent if he will get their project funded.

If Citizens Against Government Waste will launch a national campaign to vote against Incumbents, I will send them a check the next day.

Linda

March 2nd, 2010
4:21 pm

All this time when the Dems were touting their pledge of Pay-Go, I thought they were saying Play-Dough. Is there a difference?

JF McNamara

March 2nd, 2010
4:22 pm

jconservative,

I’m with you, but Kyle’s going to say that makes no sense at all. He’s cutting taxes, therefore there will be more revenue from those now working on the newly created jobs more than making up for the lost FICA money. Please don’t do that math on that though…

Its a tax cut. Tax cuts always work. They generate more revenue than all other ideas combined by a power of 1,000,000,000. Tax cut, Tax cut, Tax Cut.

Wait. Kyle’s got another idea. Nope, it just him thinking to cut taxes again.

Jeff

March 2nd, 2010
4:23 pm

Send the stimulus money directly to every household (tax-paying or not, who cares) and let them spend it as they wish. Catch up on mortgage, credit cards, buy something new or give it to the drug dealer. Let the free market decide where it goes. It’ll certainly help more people than the current strategy.