Get money to close the gaps:

In the very near term, the way we can generate the most jobs, we
believe, is through home retrofits. We have 17 percent of our
construction workers who are out of work today, and there’s about
200,000 home retrofits done per year in the United States. But over the
course of the next 20 years, we probably ought to be doing (inaudible)
each year, these retrofits, or saving the energy that’s wasted, up to
40 percent in 100 million American homes. And I haven’t begun to talk
about our schools or our small businesses.

Were we to develop a program to do that, we could create hundreds of
thousands, even a million jobs in a year, in a permanent new industry
— high-wage jobs, that are not going to be outsourced, and where the
savings from doing this work, stay in the pockets of America’s

I’ll go one step further: A lot of people are stuck in mortgages they don’t want to be stuck in any more because they can’t sell their homes, and a lot of people can’t sell their homes because they can’t afford to fix them up. I’m not talking about house-flippers, I’m talking about people who bought a place thinking “oh, we’ll get to that someday” and then a layoff, or something, kablooied their plans. So now they’re barely paying the mortgage with nothing left over to make improvements that would help out the value of their homes on the market.

I know I wouldn’t mind some general fix-up money. We replaced our windows not long after we bought the place but our building was built in the early 1900s and in order: the bathroom should be killed with fire and started again, the kitchen is tiny and kind of pointless, the plaster is cracked all over the living room, I would dearly love to rip off every bit of paint-covered woodwork and replace it with nice stained oak. I would cheerily employ American labor and patronize American stores to purchase materials to do these jobs.

Plus honestly, I know more painters, drywallers and roofers who are out of work right now than members of any other profession (except journalism, but: oversampling). I know it’s socialism and all, but if we’re going to shovel money at people anyway, dammit: fix my damn house, give my damn friends work, and help me stimulate the economy ofOldHouseStuff.netand my local hardware store.


5 thoughts on “Weatherize!

  1. Be great if it could also cover part of costs for rainwater harvesting systems for those in drought prone areas.

  2. I like the idea both in the article and VirgoTex.
    Also, I question the homebuyer’s credit as it only applies to getting people into mortgages and does nothing for folks who are already struggling in a mortgage. Giving a homeowner’s tax credit to all seems a better way to go.
    However, the retrofit credit is even better. Puts people to work improving what is there. Stimulates “green” projects. etc. (And the current energy credits are already showing this as a good start).

  3. In addition to rehab, there’s no reason every house in the south shouldn’t have a solar array on its roof. Develop a modular, standardized set of panels and interface to the home’s electrical system, maybe a storage device, and give them away to homeowners. Let the homeowner pay for installation (or some combination). Law already exists saying power companies must accept and credit for the power generated. This is a no-brainer and kills so many birds with but one stone.

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