Costly caulkers & crackpots – Ralph R. Reiland

Posted by Jason | Posted in Government | Posted on 04-01-2010

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Here’s a great op-ed from the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

So Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab got within an inch of having hundreds of airline passengers fall from the sky over Detroit on Christmas day, thanks to the ongoing holes in government-run security — some eight years after the attacks of 9/11.

And then we discovered that taxpayers paid almost $2 million to caulk and seal just seven leaky houses in Texas, i.e., $286,000 per house, under the federal government’s go-green weatherization program.

And we're still supposed to believe that these amateurish and occasionally corrupt half-wits in government are up to the task of fixing something as complex and multifaceted as America’s health care system?

I thought cash for clunkers was nuts, but cash for caulkers might well have it topped on the craziness meter.

With the clunkers fiasco, promoted as a way to prop up the U.S. car industry, we ended up borrowing money from China to buy cars from Japan and South Korea.

By the time the cash ran out, we were an additional $3 billion in the hole, more than half a million turned-in trucks and cars had been unnecessarily smashed, and eight of the 10 top-selling new vehicles in the program were purchased from foreign manufacturers, thereby subsidizing Detroit’s key competitors.

At $286,000 per house, the cash-for-caulkers deal looks like it’ll have no trouble racking up even higher levels of irrationality, fraud and tax waste.

Texas got millions in federal tax dollars via the stimulus package to fix up the caulk-ready houses of the poor. Over the first four months, the state spent $1.8 million, and only the aforementioned seven houses had been weather-treated. A tube of the best caulking at Home Depot, enough to caulk approximately 50 feet, sells for about $7.

Rather than paying for caulking or putting jobless caulkers to work, nearly all of the $1.8 million ended up in the pockets of state employees, i.e., the planners, the green team.

President Obama, nonetheless, praised the caulking program as a triple delight: “You’re getting a three-fer. Not only are you immediately putting people back to work, but you’re also saving families on (their) energy bills and you’re laying the groundwork for long-term energy independence.”

Actually, he should have called it a four-fer. It also redistributes income by taking money from the top half of income earners (the top half of income earners pay 97 percent of total federal income taxes) to provide free weather-stripping to those at the bottom who disproportionately vote for Democrats. It’s like sticking up “the rich” with a caulking gun.

Read the full article here Costly caulkers & crackpots – Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

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