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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Cash for Caulkers?

by Calculated Risk on 11/17/2009 09:56:00 PM

David Leonhardt writes in the NY Times: A Stimulus That Could Save Money

White House officials are now looking at creating a new version of cash for clunkers — this time for home weatherization.
[John] Doerr calls his proposal, which would give households money to pay for weatherization projects, “cash for caulkers.”... The housing bust has idled contractors and construction workers, who could be put to work insulating homes and caulking air leaks. Many households, meanwhile, would save substantial money — not to mention help the climate — by weatherizing their homes, research by McKinsey & Company has shown.
The Doerr plan would cost $23 billion over two years. Most of the money would go for incentive payments, generally $2,000 to $4,000, for weatherization projects. The homeowner would always have to pay at least 50 percent of the project’s total cost.
This proposal has merit. There are many unemployed construction workers - so this would help with unemployment (a real jobs bill) - and weatherization would save the homeowners money over time.

Added: Of course homeowners with negative equity will probably not want to invest in their homes since deferred maintenance is common for "debtowners". (ht Tim waiting for 2012)