The ‘Stimulus is Working’ Update: ‘Weatherization’ Project Costs $57,000 Per Home

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Sheriff Roscoe P. Biden was too busy tending to Peggy Fleming at the Olympics to catch this one:

A $5 billion federal weatherization program intended to save energy and create jobs has done little of either, according to a new report obtained by ABC News on the one-year anniversary of President Obama’s American Reinvestment and Recovery Act.

Only 9,100 homes had been weatherized nationwide as of Dec. 31, according to the new report by the Government Accountability Office, to be released Thursday.
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The problem is red tape, according to the GAO. Local governments and contractors have to jump through several hoops before getting full funding.

For example, the Recovery Act included so-called Davis-Bacon requirements for all weatherization grants. Davis-Bacon is a Depression-era law meant to ensure equitable pay for workers on federally funded projects. Under that law, the grants may only go to projects that pay a “prevailing wage” on par with private-sector employers.

The Department of Labor spent most of the past year trying to determine the prevailing wage for weatherization work, a determination that had to be made for each of the more than 3,000 counties in the United States, according to the GAO report.

The government says that $522 million Recovery Act dollars have been spent on weatherization, and the GAO says that 9,100 homes have been weatherized as of December 31.

I’m no math whiz, but that comes to $57,362 per home. I later ran across a piece by Andrew Malcom and he came up with the same number.

How many months worth of heating bills could each of those homeowners have paid for with over $57,000? And knowing the government, their quality “weatherization” is probably leaving each home with swifter drafts than the Iranian military.

This kind of thing is bound to happen when you insulate with red tape.