There has been some talk about a ‘Cash for Caulkers’ program that would refund homeowners 50% of their costs to renovate their properties in order to make them more energy efficient. The program,officially called Home Star, is unofficially being dubbed ‘Cash for Caulkers,’ and represents another effort in getting us out of the recession.
The program is obviously trying to emulate the Cash for Clunkers program, which helped stimulate the auto industry. While I agree that Cash for Clunkers was a great idea, it was not without its faults. Most notably, though it put people into new cars, it did nothing at all to make America more competitive on the global market. What Cash for Clunkers did, essentially, was to tell the American people, “don’t worry about the recession; buy a new car!” The day after buying their new car, however, Americans saw more unemployment, more banks failing, and more homes going into foreclosure. It didn’t solve the real problem. The money set aside for the Cash for Caulkers program will likely have the same effect: it will make Americans spend money, but it won’t do anything to really end the recession we’re in.
As we’ve said before, to end this recession, we will need to rally all Americans behind a Manhattan type of project that creates a new set of technologies and propels our nation competitiveness on the world market. Having our luxuries subsidized by the government or making our homes more energy efficient, sadly, do not fall into this category. If we are going to put federal money towards solving America’s problems, then we need to be more wise about how we spend that money.