Wednesday, September 7, 2011

CAP's "jobs speech"

As Obama gets ready for his "jobs" speech tonight, the left-leaning Center for American Progress has come up with their own proposal. They argue that the government should hire a bunch of people to do energy efficient retrofits on homes and buildings. It's an interesting idea, but it suffers from a big problem: the beneficiaries won't be paying for the the repairs they get made. With all the political pressure to cut the budget, sending workers into thousands or millions of American homes to make improvements and cut people's energy bills doesn't seem likely to garner much support. As an economist, I support policies for which beneficiaries can compensate those taking the hit, and if the CAP's numbers are right, there is plenty of achievable surplus that would allow beneficiaries to compensate taxpayers. However, unless there is a scheme by which the taxpayers could be repaid, I doubt this garners much support.

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