From AEI, something to remember when we're told that the middle class in America is disappearing. …
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Image of the Day: Middle Class Shrinking... In a Good Way

From AEI, something to remember when we're told that the middle class in America is disappearing.  It's disappearing because people are moving upward:

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[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="1569"] Middle Class Disappearing... Upward[/caption]

 

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August 19, 2019 • 10:12 am

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Obama’s Weatherization Assistance Program Yet Another Example of Fraud and Abuse Print
By Ashton Ellis
Wednesday, June 09 2010
No matter what the sales pitch is coming out of the Obama Administration about the benefits of green technology, job creation or healthcare, you can be sure that somewhere in the halls of government there is a well-placed bureaucrat ready to make a nice return on the taxpayers’ investment.

Like one of the ethically challenged aluminum siding salesmen in Barry Levinson’s film, Tin Men, the Obama Administration is desperately trying to spin its green technology spending spree as anything other than what it is: a misleading, expensive exercise in self-enrichment. 

The latest example comes from the Department of Energy’s inaptly named “Weatherization Assistance Program” (WAP).  For starters, it would be logical to reason that a program called “weatherization assistance” would be necessarily limited to helping people protect against extreme forms of weather.  Some thoughts that leap to mind include supplies for building houses on stilts in a flood plain, or subsidies for using reinforced concrete for buildings in a hurricane-zone.  Surely, the name of a federal program would correspond to its purpose, right? 

Not exactly.  For those unschooled in the subtle deceptions of government linguistics, “weatherization” is actually a blanket term for a much larger bureaucratic mandate to increase energy efficiency.  Thus, WAP was created in 1976 to help low income families reduce their energy bills, and provides federal grants to state and local governments across the nation for that purpose. Moreover, the program is administered by the DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, under the direction of Assistant Secretary Cathy Zoi.  (More on her in a moment.) 

Like most government subsidies, WAP makes modest improvements for its intended beneficiaries, but has been sustained more for its policy goal than its results.  Then along came The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.  Otherwise known as the $787 billion economic “stimulus” bill, the Act set aside $5 billion worth of weatherization services to expand WAP’s economic footprint. 

So far, they’re only taking baby steps.  DOE’s goal of retrofitting 593,000 homes to make them more energy efficient by March 2012 is falling well short of its monthly benchmarks.  Since the money became available 16 months ago only 80,000 homes have been weatherized, leaving well over half a million – or 25,000+ per month – left to weatherize.  At a cost of over $8,000 per home with only $350 of estimated savings per year, it is becoming increasingly clear who actually benefits from such taxpayer largesse.   

It’s people like Cathy Zoi.  Her resume could serve as a template for bright, motivated ideologues searching for a career path that combines government service with personal financial gain.   Along with stints working in the Clinton White House and EPA, she helped Al Gore found The Alliance for Climate Protection, a non-profit group that Gore claims receives his earnings from green technology investments.  Gore felt the need to make that statement in response to questions by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) asking how much he stood to gain from Obama-engineered climate change legislation. 

But while Gore’s moralizing-for-profit is merely self-serving, Zoi’s financial stakes in two green technology companies put her in a potentially corrupting position.  According to her financial disclosure statements, Assistant Secretary Zoi owns between $250,000 and $500,000 worth of shares in Landis+Gyr, while her husband is an officer with stock options at Serious Materials.  Landis+Gyr is the preferred provider for so-called “smart meters” that allow a power company to monitor and limit the amount of energy a home uses.  (You read that right.)  Serious Materials was praised in a speech by President Obama for opening a manufacturing plant in Pittsburgh that makes more energy efficient windows.  Or, as they say at DOE, “weatherized” windows. 

In both cases, Zoi stands to benefit financially from pushing the policies she is paid to promote.  And that’s the key to understanding the Obama Administration’s relentless push for more spending and less transparency.  In many ways, Democrats now are doing with environmental policy what they accused Republicans of doing with the financial sector: installing industry cronies in regulatory positions to set up a system they can exploit when they leave office.  Except that with people like Zoi, they don’t even have to wait to leave public service before cashing in! 

No matter what the sales pitch is coming out of the Obama Administration about the benefits of green technology, job creation or healthcare, you can be sure that somewhere in the halls of government there is a well-placed bureaucrat ready to make a nice return on the taxpayers’ investment.  Nice work – if you can live with it. 

Question of the Week   
What is the Dust Bowl?
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Quote of the Day   
 
"This weekend we were treated to the latest installment of a new kind of political performance art created by Antifa and their white nationalist rivals. It may seem strange to call it art, but really that's what it is. Neither of these groups is an actual political force in America with policies or representing large constituencies. Neither are they true revolutionaries who are engaged in some war…[more]
 
 
—David Marcus, The Federalist
— David Marcus, The Federalist
 
Liberty Poll   

With competing economic indicators widespread and the trade war with China ongoing, what condition do you think the U.S. economy will be in a year from now?