After a year of crippling delays, President Barack Obama's $5 billion program to install weather-tight windows and doors has retrofitted a fraction of homes and created far fewer construction jobs than expected.Wow, 84 jobs for 37 million people.
In Indiana, state-trained workers flubbed insulation jobs. In Alaska, Wyoming and the District of Columbia, the program has yet to produce a single job or retrofit one home. And in California, a state with nearly 37 million residents, the program at last count had created 84 jobs.
The stimulus is working!
The program was a hallmark of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, a way to shore up the economy while encouraging people to conserve energy at home. But government rules about how to run what was deemed to be a ''shovel-ready'' project, including how much to pay contractors and how to protect historic homes during renovations, have thwarted chances at early success, according to an Associated Press review of the program.Good jobs that are here to stay, except for those states where zero jobs were created.
''It seems like every day there is a new wrench in the works that keeps us from moving ahead,'' said program manager Joanne Chappell-Theunissen. She has spent the past several months mailing in photographs of old houses in rural Michigan to meet federal historic preservation rules. ''We keep playing catch-up.''
The stimulus package gave a jolt to the decades-old federal Weatherization Assistance Program. Weatherization money flows from Washington to the states, where it is passed to local nonprofits that hire contractors to spread insulation and install efficient heaters in people's homes.
Energy officials said the stimulus infusion is on track to create thousands of career-pathway jobs and support an industry that lowers carbon emissions while saving consumers money.
''This is the beginning of the next industrial revolution with the explosion of clean energy investments,'' said assistant U.S. Energy Secretary Cathy Zoi. ''These are good jobs that are here to stay.''
But after a year, the stimulus program has retrofitted 30,250 homes -- about 5 percent of the overall goal -- and fallen well short of the 87,000 jobs that the department planned, according to the latest available figures.In more important news, the genius president managed to correctly pick a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. Is there anything he can't do?
Instapundit links. Thanks!