Who could forget the $5 billion in Obama administration stimulus money that was going to rapidly create nearly 90,000 green jobs across the country in these tough economic times and make so many thousands of homes all snuggy and warm and energy-efficient these very snowy days?
Well, a new report due out this morning will show the $5-billion program is so riddled with drafts that so far it’s weatherized only about 9,000 homes.
Based on the initial Obama-Biden program promise that it would create 87,000 new jobs its first year, that would be about 10 jobs for each home weatherized so far. Makes for pretty crowded doorways.
ABC News reports that the General Accountability Office will declare today that the Energy Department has fallen woefully behind — about 98.5% behind — the 593,000 homes it initially predicted would be weatherized in the Recovery Act’s very first, very chilly year.
The Energy Department is run by Steven Chu, like President Obama a Nobel Prize winner. You’ll never guess what the federal government blames for the lack of significant progress.
Not duct tape. Not weatherstripping. But that infamous RED tape. In the form of, well, forms.
It seems that the Pelosi-Reid stimulus plan that was so quickly cobbled together and was supposed to immediately pump so much money into the sagging economy last year included an 80-year-old legal provision requiring all federally funded projects to pay a prevailing wage to workers.
But what’s a prevailing wage for weatherization, you ask?
So the Energy Department asked the Labor Department, which set out to calculate what a prevailing weatherization wage is in every single one of the more than 3,000 counties across these United States.
There were some other things to figure out. It seems the law also requires some kind of National Trust for Historic Preservation review for most homes before any contracts could be estimated to be negotiated to be signed to be let to be begun. And states like Michigan have two people assigned to such tasks.
So, good luck speeding up that work.
The Energy folks did tell ABC they’ve so far spent 522-million Recovery Act dollars on the program. So, let’s see, about 9,100 homes divided into that chunk of stimulation change to believe in is — gee! — about $57,362 worth of very expensive weather-stripping for each home fixed up so far.
Seems believable for a federal program.
February 18, 2010