• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Caulk the Leaks in Weatherization Spending

    The Obama Administration’s original stimulus package includes $5 billion for a weatherization program (an early version of cash for caulkers). Perhaps because it involves spending huge sums of money, the Administration seems quite proud of the policy. Energy Secretary Steven Chu called it “one of our signature programs.” In this case, however, “signature program” appears to mean signing blank checks.

    State Auditor Stephen Eells recently reported to law makers in New Jersey on the Garden State’s $119 million portion of this federal program. Though he only audited a $613,600 portion, he found that $32,700 were spent when “no services had been performed.” That’s over 5 percent of the funds spent on nothing. It’s hard to imagine any energy savings that that expenditure will deliver.

    In addition to this money-for-nothing category is the a-lot-of-money-for-not-very-much spending. For instance, the audit found federal stimulus money paid $27 for light bulbs priced elsewhere at $1.50 and paid $75 for $22 carbon monoxide detectors.

    Money for nothing and overspending combined to 8.8 percent of total spending. Even more disturbing is that $69,000 (11.2 percent) of the audited spending couldn’t even be verified. Therefore, the total unverifiable spending plus overspending plus completely wasted spending equals 20 percent of the whole program. If this ratio holds for the whole plan, then the $5 billion program wastes $1 billion. That’s a lot of leakage.

    Is New Jersey’s 20 percent figure is typical? We may never know, but the waste isn’t unique. Even worse problems were found in an audit of weatherization spending in Chicago, and Texas provides this example.

    Whether it is a program to subsidize insulation and caulking, expensive appliance-efficiency mandates, or new regulations for trucks, the Obama Administration dismisses the costs by asserting, “This will save consumers money.” In doing so, the Administration ignores two fundamental economic principles: First, consumers already have the incentives in place to adopt efficiencies that save them money. Second, the government does not.

    Posted in Energy [slideshow_deploy]

    6 Responses to Caulk the Leaks in Weatherization Spending

    1. George Colgrove, VA says:

      Thanks HF for pointing this out.

      If the percentage of waste on the audited $613,600 is applied to the $5 billion, we have lost $266.5 million. I know this may not seem like it is worth worrying about, but sealing up this kind of bleeding could end up preventing the hemorrhaging that is now occurring in the federal government. Figuring out how and why this waste happens would prevent this scale of waste long into the future. Further making the federal employees who allow this waste to go on accountable (i.e. firing them) would seal up the money leaks forever.

    2. Edwin Johnson, Conro says:

      Apparently as part of this program, a reader wrote a letter to the Conroe Courier saying how well the program works. He doesn't have to pay his utility bills for the rest of the year, they replaced his A/C with a new high efficiency unit at no cost as well as the typical weatherization program. His closing comment in the letter is how much he likes "Obamacare"!

      It sounds like in this case the program is being used for vote buying.

    3. Merle Vermuele, Omah says:

      This is just a typical example of the waste at all levels of government. While I can appreciate the comment from George regarding the aspect of firing individuals for wanton waste or a complete lack of accountability as where these funds are being dispersed; I, however, believe a standard needs to be introduced into the federal government wherein government employees are taught to be good stewards of the funds entrusted to them and their departments. For too long most, if not all, government entities believe these funds are theirs and they have no responsibility to be responsible. Just as an example, every single government entity makes sure they spend every penny they have in their budget (sometimes staying late to make purchases on things they don't need, nor will ever use before fiscal year end) or risk being penalized with their next year's budget. This practice must change. Congress should set the tone in this area….though; I haven't seen an interest on either side of the isle.

    4. Dr dbiggs,CA says:

      Pres OBOZO: "Tea Bagger-in-Chief"

      You Can LIE but can you READ?

      Invasion by illegal ie "Criminal Aliens"

      Obviously you have never read the United States Constitution or

      else feel that in your ivory tower and wealth that it does not apply to you!!

      I feel you need to read the following and act according to the peoples wish

      not your wishes or special interests wish list!

      There are three references to the words "invasions," "invaded," and

      "invasion" in our U.S. Constitution:

      Article I, Section 8: "The Congress shall have Power To Provide for calling

      forth the Militia to execute Laws of the Union, suppress

      insurrections and repel Invasions."

      Article I, Section 10:"No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any

      Duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time

      of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with

      another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War,

      unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as

      will not admit of delay."

      Article IV, Section 4:"The United States shall guarantee to every State in the

      Union as Republican Form of Government, and shall

      protect each of them against invasion, and on

      Application of the Legislature, of of the Executive (when

      the Legislative cannot be convened) against domestic


      Your Oath of Office and sworn duties as referenced mean you must Act and

      put a Stop to the Invasion of all the Illegal immigrants we are experiencing.

      Our U.S. Constitution mandates that invasions shall be repelled by Congress.

      and that means the persons in the House of Representatives and the U.S.

      Senate. Our nation's sovereignty must be protected.

      How can you even stand in front of a mirror and even look yourself in the eyes

      knowing you are a "Bought & Paid Hoe" for special interests and the

      Democratic Party Hacks? Tell me I am wrong, please because I fear for the

      future of our country as you certainly don't care about the people or our


      You go to the SAME PLACE for LYING as you do for STEALING!!

    5. George Colgrove, VA says:


      You said “I, … believe a standard needs to be introduced into the federal government wherein government employees are taught to be good stewards of the funds entrusted to them and their departments.” I think there already is, – it is simply not working. There is no single entity on the globe that has more internal and external oversight than the federal government. It has been clearly understood for nearly 50 years, that the federal government cannot be trusted.

      One act of publicized federal corruption gives birth to yet another layer of federal oversight populated by more federal employees. Much of the progress of federal work is slowed down due to processes and policies that are supposed to make federal employees accountable, yet we see the kind of corruption the HF (as well as the rest of the media) publishes nearly on a daily basis. I have gotten to the point where I truly believe we have done all we can to hold these people accountable. They, like the Congress and the President are out of control. There is nothing else we can do. We just found out tonight that roughly 20% of the federal employees do not feel they need to pay their taxes to the tune of $3.3 billion! Just see what would happen if the whole country behaved that poorly.

      The arrogance is extreme. Federal employees’ salaries are very high. They as individuals, receive more in annual benefits than a family of four on the poverty line earns. They have multitudes of privileges no other class has.

      Accountability is not going to be another policy that the federal employees can ignore. Only firing them will provide the proper deterrent to waste. If the GS13 – GS15 and all the SES’s cannot keep spending down and they can be shown to be wasteful spenders, then they need to go. Others who also have abused the system will either learn and comply to fiscal responsibility, or will try to sneak around until they are caught. This article exposes waste to the tune of $1 billion in one program! Come on – how much more of this are we supposed to take. There is nothing OK about this. There is no level of obfuscation that can wipe this away. Quite simply, this is criminal! In my mind, the people in charge of this program just stole $10 from each taxpaying household. ALL the people involved in this fraud need to be fired. In addition, the wasted money somehow needs to be recaptured. We do not have any more money and going deeper into debt is no longer an option.

    6. Leon Lundquist, Dura says:

      I have noticed a pattern for virtually all of Obama's spending. It benefits Unions, it benefits Democratic Districts, it is always choc full of corruption and always under performs. If you ask me these Programs are actually payoffs to Obama's friends and supporters. I detect an 80% bias against Republicans, so really anything the Dems come up with is suspect in my view. It isn't just this Program! It is all the Programs, and look! Democrats are getting jobs in our newly bloated government. Obama thinks he ought to "spread the wealth around!" Yeah. To his commie pinko friends.

      I am so grateful that Heritage exposes the tip of the iceberg! When are you guys going to submit something to the State Attorneys General they can use in actually prosecuting some of this crime? (Don't bother giving the Justice Department anything. We know already that they have no intention whatsoever of enforcing the Rule Of Law.)

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.