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Obama's federal government can weatherize your home for only $57,362 each


Who could forget the $5 billion in Obama administration stimulus money that was going to rapidly create nearly 90,000 green jobs across the country in these tough economic times and make so many thousands of homes all snuggy and warm and energy-efficient these very snowy days?

Well, a new report due out this morning will show the $5-billion program is so riddled with drafts that so far it's weatherized only about 9,000 homes.

Based on the initial Obama-Biden program promise that it would create 87,000 new jobs its first year, that would be about 10 jobs for each home weatherized so far. Makes for pretty crowded doorways.

ABC News reports that the General Accountability Office will declare today that the Energy Department has fallen woefully behind -- about 98.5% behind -- the 593,000 homes it initially predicted would be weatherized in the Recovery Act's very first, very chilly year.

(UPDATE 12:22 p.m. An Energy spokeswoman disputes the independent GAO numbers as outdated and conclusions as inaccurate. Full statement below.)

The Energy Department is run by Steven Chu, like President Obama a Nobel Prize winner. You'll never guess what the federal government blames for the lack of significant progress.

RED tape.

Not duct tape. Not weatherstripping. But that infamous RED tape. In the form of, well, forms.

It seems that the Pelosi-Reid stimulus plan that was so quickly cobbled together and....

...was supposed to immediately pump so much money into the sagging economy last year included an 80-year-old legal provision requiring all federally funded projects to pay a prevailing wage to workers.

But what's a prevailing wage for weatherization, you ask?

Who knows?

So the Energy Department asked the Labor Department, which set out to calculate what a prevailing weatherization wage is in every single one of the more than 3,000 counties across these United States.

There were some other things to figure out. It seems the law also requires some kind of National Trust for Historic Preservation review for most homes before any contracts could be estimated to be negotiated to be signed to be let to be begun. And states like Michigan have two people assigned to such tasks.

So, good luck speeding up that work.

The Energy folks did tell ABC they've so far spent 522-million Recovery Act dollars on the program. So, let's see, about 9,100 homes divided into that chunk of stimulation change to believe in is -- gee! -- about $57,362 worth of very expensive weatherstripping for each home fixed up so far.

Seems believable for a federal program.

(Energy GAO reaction: "The GAO report cites figures from September 2009 -- almost five months out of date. Since then, we have resolved Davis-Bacon wage issues in all 50 states, clarified how states should handle historic preservation and worked with states to resolve any remaining barriers. As a result, by the end of 2009, our programs had weatherized about 124,000 homes in total, and we are on track to weatherize more than 250,000 this year. In fact, since September 2009, we have tripled the pace of Recovery Act funded home weatherization. The report also erroneously implies that our goal was to weatherize 593,000 homes in 2009. That is wrong. The goal has been to weatherize that number by March 2012, and we are on track to meet that goal.")

-- Andrew Malcolm

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And the govt wants to take over the health care! People will be dying in the hallways, while the red tape is being worked out. Please people, wake up and see that the govt is not the answer! I am not talking party lines, I am talking govt overall. I was shocked when I say that over 80% of Utah has been taken by the federal govt, how would you like you state taken from you? Stand up and show this govt and the people we want our country back. Vote them out and think about who you put in!!!!

$57,362 to weatherize my $100,000 69 year old house. That makes as much sense as putting new weatherstripping on a $1000 beater car. The money would be better spent tearing down the old homes and building new...
Actually I have a question for Obama and Biden since they are proponents of this... What have they done to THEIR HOMES to increase the energy efficiency of them since they last year???? To the best of my knowledge Obama still has a house in Chicago and Biden has his house in Delaware, I assume they are not boarded up with no heat, how much energy could THEY have saved????

I guess I should be shocked but the utter corruption and or incompetency of every government agency has numbed me to reports like this.

Its really easy to waste massive amounts of money when you have no accountability, not bottom line to meet, no profit to achieve and no repercussions if you fail to accomplish your objective.

And Obama and his merry band of idiots think that if they pass a health care bill that all this "red tape" will magically disappear and the government will suddenly become efficient?? What a joke.

Hey Barry, what kind of tobacco do you have in those cigarettes?

And Obama and his merry band of idiots think that if they pass a health care bill that all this "red tape" will magically disappear and the government will suddenly become efficient?? What a joke.

Hey Barry, what kind of tobacco do you have in those cigarettes?

This is why Stimulus won't work. the government will waste 47 to 56 thousand dollars to do a 1 to 5 thousand dollar job. and it will take 5 times longer than if you spent the money from a tax return or credit.

Because the government trusts you to do the right thing about as much as you trust it.

At least with you spending the money the job to money ratio is much higher.

And for some reason, you think the government can provide better health-care than the private sector ! You can't even get something as trivial as weatherizing homes in a timely fashion and lives are not depending on that; I can just imagine how many people would die if the government were in control of the one thing we must have.

And it's not over yet. Soon, to weatherize will cost more than the house. Good aticle.

For 57 thousand dollars you could build a house.

Could it the LA Times is waking up?
Hows that whole rape and change working out for you folks?

(You need to bookmark us and check more often. We've been writing this for a very long time.)

Yet again, just another example how government - Dems or Repubs - cannot run anything cost effectively or efficiently. My tax dollars are flushed away at every turn. VOTE ALL THE BUMS OUT

This is absolutely insane. In Dallas where I live there are lots of contractors that would happily do a quote for Obama before doing the weatherization. That is what the local contractors did for me before weatherizing my home. It was fairly inexpensive. I think I spent about $300. With the amount the government is currently spending, $57,362 I could pay off my mortgage.

I look at something like this as a big waste of taxpayer money. If you must insist to spend the money, how about giving folks a tax credit. That way they could hire local contractors and keep them running, while putting money in the economy, and satisfying the big spend policy of democrats. What they are doing now is idiotic. Its funny in a way, democrats spending money poorly.

Just where exactly in the Constitution does it say the Federal Government is responsible for the weatherization of homes?

When is the average citizen going to get to the point where we tar and feather the pukes up on capitol hill? LITERALLY

What do you get when you cross two Nobel Prize winners? Broke

How ISN'T this redistribution of wealth? How ISN'T this generational theft? Has anyone here seen any breaks, jobs, home improvements, or, hell, has anyone here seen any cash, from this 787 BILLION dollar boondoggle? Nearly a trillion dollars thrown out and hardly anyone in the real world gets a whiff of it. To hell with throwing tea into Boston harbor. We should throw the congress in jail!

What companies are involved in the program? Is Serious Materials one of them? You know, the new company that had VP Biden appear at the opening of one of its plants? With such praise as, "You are not just churning out windows; you are making some of the most energy-efficient windows in the world. I would argue the most energy-efficient windows in the world." Although their windows are no better than other window companies. don't suppose it's because Cathy Zoi, who oversees $16.8 billion in stimulus funds, much of it for weatherization, happens to be the wife of Robin Roy, who happens to be vice president of "policy" at Serious Windows. Just a couple of vice presidents hanging out, I guess. Nothing to see here...move along...

The only people able to take advantage of any of these programs are the ones capable of spending tens, or hundreds, of thousands of dollars. I've been able to NONE of them. So far all I've seen is almost $20,000 of my tax dollars going to those who didn't need the financial help. I could have put that money to very good use.

All the "cash for clunkers" program accomplished was an artificial spurt in car sales, the destruction of perfectly good used cars that could have been sold to people who couldn't afford a new one, and a shortage of used cars that now cost more. (Not to forget the suprise many people will get when they find out that $4500 is TAXABLE!) Notice how quickly the hoop-la over the "success" of that program disappeared once everyone learned the details of it.

Which such government efficiency what could go wrong with healthcare? Who is John Galt?

Uh-huh. Yep. Totally predictable.

When the government is in charge of picking winners and losers, and is involved in the most picayune details of your life (such as weather-stripping your home), OF COURSE it's going to cost untold billions of dollars, with absolutely zero accountability. Why would we expect anything else?

Government GOVERNS. That is to say, it coerces with force. By it's very nature it cannot nurture. To think otherwise is nuts.

I want to sign up for this program. Can I get mine in cash please?

Throw the bums out and start over. If they don`t listen to the citizens throw them out too. eventually we will get the message through to them. We have that power with our vote.

Duh! As we used to say as kids. For 57k I could do a lot more than weatherize. Why don't we use that money to start new companies that create jobs instead.

Where dose one apply for such a program? I could use 57k for new windows.

Where dose one apply for such a program? I could use 57k for new windows.

$57K huh? Funny every winter I go down to Home Depot and buy about $150 worth of weatherizing products.

$150 vs. $57K. That in a nutshell is everything you need to know about government.

And these idiots want to run my health care.

$57,000 per house -- why that's a bargain???
$24,000 per cash for clunker automobile???
$160,000 per stimulus job???
The federal government is as incompetent as it is bankrupt.

I think Nancy and Harry will do better with Health Care.

Oh yeah. We need these guys running our health care. That's the ticket.

They must be using government hammers as well we know they cost about $1,100 each along with $800 toilet seats!

This is why it was stunning to see the the mindless useful idiot drones out there during the campaign that crammed stadiums full chanting Obama Obama Obama as the man promised them he was going to have government do this and government take over that was absolutely surreal.

Here's the logic, we need a government run health care system-- to clean up the mess, corruption, waste, and fraud of the government run systems we already have. We need a government run system to clean up the $500 billion in waste in Medicare. We need a government run system to lower the 20% fraudulent claim rate in the government runs systems we already have! By the way, the fraud rate in the private system is less than 1%.

Barack bragged about creating (or saving) 2 million jobs during his state of the union address. That's $164,000 per job! He was bragging about spending hundreds of billions to RAISE the unemployment rate from 7% to 10% and he calls this a success.

Now Democrats are back at the trough telling us we need a $1.6 TRILLION dollar spending deficit (four times the greatest deficit in US history) and they say they need it so they can lower the unemployment rate to 9.7% by the end of the year.

And the useful idiots clap and cheer as liberal "progressives" spend all of our economic futures into oblivion without improving a thing! If they'd had their way and passed that ludicrous cap and trade global warming rubbish the unemployment rate would be 25% instead of 10!

How do I get $60,000 to weatherize my rental property in Sunny Southern California? Why do I never get in on these scams? Do I have to become a Mexican or something?

Wait, do you guys really believe that the Democratic controlled Congress and the Democratic President really mandated union wage rates on "stimulus" jobs merely as an oversight? Really? As in, "Oops, it was a total oversight that my legislation benefited the unions that gave me hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign assistance and turned out tens of thousands of campaign workers to get me elected"?

p.s. The easiest way to analyze any Obama Administration initiative is to simply ask how it helps the unions (AKA "the organizations that funded and staffed Obama's campaign").

And they will save $$ in health care costs? This fiasco is symptomatic of what will happen if the feds get their inept hand on health care deform. Why am I not surprised by this result?

Our government is broke, and went deep in debt with the Chinese in order to spend this money in such an incompetent way! We are now deep in debt, still in a recession, and our future looks bleak! Can we please get these IDIOTS out of control of our spending!?!?!?!

And Government wants to run our healthcare... That would be funny, if it wasn't so frightening.

Indeed ! But do not worry.., this won't happen when we take over healthcare.. !!

Seems tome that the prerequisite for a Nobel prize is total incompetence,,,,,Carter, Gore, Chu, Obama,,, need I say more?

When are we going to stop this madness. Everybody knows the government cannot do anything in a competent manner. Cash for Clunkers spent $24K for every 4$K credit, this program is the same. Who in their right mind would think that government involvement in health care, or anything for that matter, would do anything but cause a cost explosion. MEDICARE is 8 times over estimated costs already and climbing. The answer is that buying votes with entitlement programs has become the status quo in Washington and it has to be rolled back.

Such a diasaster. When will the people learn that government cannot do anything efficiently??? Sad.

Isn't socialism GREAT??? I can't wait for the government to fix EVERYTHING!!

Nice....kinda like the clunkers that cost a fortune.

Wouldn't it be nice if the Federal government one day just went "poof," disappeared and was replaced by people who actually had brains which were capable of understanding common sense. The first step on the road to recovery will be a complete house cleaning of all of the government agencies created to make the jobs programs look viable. Get rid of all of those people and you will cut down on spending and stupidity in increments of 100!

(But what about national defense?)

Just imagine what would happen with Obamacare. EVERYTHING the federal government does is inefficient, wasteful, and full of fraud, and abuse. We need to dismiss these bureaucratic clowns ASAP. They have bankrupted our country by wasting so much money. Weatherization of homes is not a federal-level issue. And the money that was wasted here, as alwasys, primarily goes to companies with connections who pay for their share of largess with quid pro quo campaign contributions funneled through lobbyists.

Vote'm OUT "Yes" Vote'm ALL OUT


Dear God...

You can buy a lot of votes with $500M though.

When we first applied, we were told we would fall within the income requirements. After waiting six months we were notified that our application was rejected due to the fact that we make too much. It appears that, sometime during last fall, they lowered the income ceiling even further.

I’ve since become unemployed, so I’ll apply again. Though I don’t have much faith that I’ll hear anything back before next winter. Not that I feel entitled. Beggars can’t be too picky – I guess.

I want these people running my healthcare!

Kinda like the half a million cost (430k) per job "saved" by the Obamessiah.

Why is it that any government program costs 10x the benefits provided?

If the evil insurances companies operated at that margin, then we'd all get our claims denied. Now you see why government run insurance (or worse yet, single payer) is going to stink.

Assume 45 million need insurance. Assume cost of cheap insurance is 10k a year (those evil companies that only charge its employees $550 a year). 10k * 10 * 45 million = 450 billion a year = 4 - 5 years of coverage per government estimated cost. Eats up that couple of trillion pretty quick. Factor in that 50% of the population doesn't pay taxes, that's 2-3k a year to the middle and rich class per person, not houshold. That's 10k average to every household.

Oh.... isn't that the cost of an average households insurance?

When will people wake up and quit looking to Government? Big Govt. = Fraud, waste, corruption.

Vote for candidates that will stay out of your pockets people.

My wife and I have no children and seldom have overnight company so our housing needs are less than others. For $57k I could build a modest size cottage for us which would include super-insulation, solar panels, batteries, controller, inverter, LED lighting, etc. in a rural setting. Housing costs are mostly labor and markup. Do it yourself and do it right to save. Weatherizing an existing home for $57K is another government boondogle in the making.

But, hey, the "stimulus" is working. He's already told us so.

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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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