Seeking Liberty

Liberty is the Fruit from Which All Progress Grows

Caulk won’t save our economy.

To improve our economy, President Obama wants us to spend tens of billions of dollars on… Caulk.

That’s right. The President believes that both our energy situation and the unemployment issues that far out-strip any projections made by his economic team can be solved by “weatherizing” our homes. All we need to do is hire hundreds of thousands of union laborers to add weatherstripping and caulk to lower our energy costs. This will have a ripple-effect that will resonate throughout our economy and kick-start the jobs machine. To do this, the Stimulus Package already signed into law provided billions of dollars for training workers to install caulk and other weatherizing improvements into people’s homes.

This is all part of President Obama’s “Green Jobs” initiative, which he extensively campaigned on and continues to hold up as the future of our domestic economy. He even went so far as to call insulation “sexy.”

I have a “sexy” idea for President Obama: Instead of focusing on “green jobs,” how about focusing on “jobs?” We can worry about the “green” part when we get back to that 8% unemployment level that he said his magical stimulus would prevent us from ever topping.

Just who is going to pay for all this caulk, weatherstripping, the energy-efficient windows, and more? Why, property owners, of course! They’ll get tax breaks for putting a few thousand dollars worth of improvements into their homes (which will amount to a few hundred dollars), and these improvements will save them maybe $300 in energy costs each year (if they are lucky). In the end, it will take them many years to earn-back through savings what they spend today on an house that, for most home owners, is still losing value.

The only people who really can afford to pay for all of this are those darn-awful rich people (pardon my French). Y’know: The ones Obama and the Congressional Democrats want to saddle with more taxes by adding a 5% “War Tax,” allowing the Bush Tax Cuts to expire, taxes for houses over a certain size (more of that “green” initiative), taxes on “Cadillac” health insurance plans, and myriad additional items to “increase revenue.”

One wonders if the Democrats would be happy with anything short of a 99% tax bracket for people earning, well, anything more than a Congressional Leadership position?

At some point people have to realize that the cost of government is the real problem. The dollar is weakening in part because of our Public Debt, which the Democrats seem eager to increase (they are extending the “Debt Limit” by $2 trillion). The cost of regulatory compliance with the tax code, labor relation regulations, environmental regulations, and scores more regulatory agencies add more costs. In total, those government agencies employ millions of people for whom salaries, benefits and retirement must be paid, requiring even more dollars taxed or borrowed from the areas of our economy that actually produce something.

And let us not forget the hundreds of billions of dollars the government will be taxing from those high-income Americans each year to pay for its grand takeover of our health care system.

While we’re at it, let’s look at that “Green Jobs” sector that the President is so eager to help grow. Think about it: Who do you know that works at a “Green Job?” The chances are, you don’t know anybody. That’s because these jobs make up such a small part of our economy that The Bureau of Labor Statistics will not start tracking “green” jobs until next year. Green Jobs are simply not important enough to make a dent in our economy. The Obama Stimulus promised $167 billion in incentives for “GreenTech,” as investors like to call it, yet there have been only a few major deals for investment in the industry over the past decade.

“Green” is, realistically, a goal for an affluent, prosperous and economically expanding society. With 10-plus percent unemployment and minimal GDP growth, how can the President possibly expect enough Americans to spend their hard-earned dollars on affluence and delicacies? For most Americans, this “weatherizing” scheme is something akin to asking the hamburger flipper at a fast food restaurant spend his money on slick new aluminum mag wheels for his Yugo: He doesn’t have the money in the first place, it won’t improve the value of the car and even if it did, the mag wheel industry is just too darn small to kick-start the economy on its own.

We have a systemic problem in the United States, and that systemic problem is our continuous election of politicians who tout solutions powered by government. If we want economic growth we need to unleash our economy, not shackle it further; or worse, send it in unproductive directions. Individuals have a remarkable way of spending their own money on what is important to the whole of society. Government just gets in the way. If “Green Jobs” are really that important to us, the free market will create them on its own.

Originally posted at The Minority Report.

Filed under: economics, environment, Government, politics, taxes, wealth, , , , , , , , ,

2 Responses

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