Your Stimulus Dollars at Work: Weatherizing Houses in Michigan

You may be surprised when the insulation truck pulls up to your neighbor's house and starts stuffing his attic. Or when his high-tech new windows arrive.

You'll be even more shocked to learn you're paying the bill. Most of the Obama stimulus money coming to Michigan counties is in the form of weatherization and neighborhood stabilization funds— $248 million to plug drafty houses and $134 million to pretty up foreclosed homes.

Michigan expects 40,000 homes to get attic insulation, weatherstripping and window and roof repairs at a cost of up to $6,500. The lucky recipients will save about $400 annually on their heating bills.

As the taxpayer picking up the tab, you might have a few questions. I know I do.

That's Nolan Finley in the Detroit News. Read the whole thing here. It might be even more effective if, right after they install the new windows, they have a crew of otherwise-unemployed folks saunter by and break the windows, thus creating jobs for glaziers...

What did the old shampoo instructions say? Wash, rinse, repeat.

Hat Tip: Libertarian Democrat Terry Michael.

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  • alan||

    But the money I might have used for new siding went for taxes to fund a federal Neighborhood Stabilization stimulus program, which gives buyers of foreclosed homes cash to fix them up.

    Who on earth decided it was the buyers of foreclosed homes that needed help?? If they swept in and bought the place, doesn't that mean they're at least doing OK?

  • ||

    Since they'll be eating rats in Michigan next winter, doing so in a warm house is some compensation.

  • ||

    So, let's be conservative and say it costs $5,000 to insulate these homes. That means the ROI (at $400/year) is about 8%/year, with a 12.5 year breakeven.

    That's pretty weak; most businesses would be very hesitant to invest with that return.

    Of course, the real question is how the corruption works here. How do you get on the list for the handout, and how do you get on the list to do the work?

  • T||

    That's pretty weak; most businesses would be very hesitant to invest with that return.

    Hesitant? I'd get laughed out of the room for a 12 year break even. Of course, I know better than to try.

    I think we need to have a southern version of this. My AC bills are a bitch. I need more insulation. Pony up, suckers.

  • ||

    Couldn't they just save the $400/yr by removing all the taxes on the energy they use to heat/cool their homes? I hate our government.

  • catMozses||

    "and $134 million to pretty up foreclosed homes."

    And who are the lucky owners of these foreclosed homes?

  • ||

    Do something more effective with the money. Knock down those vacant homes in Michigan. No one is coming back.

  • ||

    """"As the taxpayer picking up the tab, you might have a few questions. I know I do."""

    Yeah, what does the government expect in return?

  • Xeones||

    Yo, can't we make Canada take Michigan?

  • ||

    What did the old shampoo instructions say? Wash, rinse, repeat.

    The phrase was "Lather, rinse, repeat". Get it right Gillespie.

  • ||

    So exactly what we knew was going to happen is happening. I'm not happy about it, but this is par for the course. The level of waste, fraud, corruption, and pure, in-your-face disregard for the taxpayer is going to reach heights previously never dreamed of. Take your blood pressure medication or start drinking now, it's just going to get worse.

  • Paul||

    Michigan expects 40,000 homes to get attic insulation, weatherstripping and window and roof repairs at a cost of up to $6,500. The lucky recipients will save about $400 annually on their heating bills.



    I'm just doing the straight math, RC, and I come up with 16 1/2 years for ROI.

  • ||

    neighborhood stabilization funds

    They're going to buy up houses and tear them down?

  • ||

    There was a story on CNBC (I wasn't really paying attention, so my grasp of the details is sketchy) this morning about somebody, possibly the foreclosing bank, tearing down a bunch of houses in some place like California.

    There needs to be more of this.

  • creech||

    Get on board the gravy train. Change your voter registration to the appropriate party, start ass-kissing the local committeeman, volunteer to hand out flyers for your local Santa Claus, and your name may just appear on the approved list.

  • alan||

    alan | May 5, 2009, 12:21pm | #
    But the money I might have used for new siding went for taxes to fund a federal Neighborhood Stabilization stimulus program, which gives buyers of foreclosed homes cash to fix them up.

    Who on earth decided it was the buyers of foreclosed homes that needed help?? If they swept in and bought the place, doesn't that mean they're at least doing OK?


    I don't remember making that remark. Get another handle or beat it, kid.

  • alan||

    And if I did make it, Reason staff you gotta let me know. For years I've suspected my paranoia was missing its better half.

  • Vinvent Chase||

    My uncle got one of these grants. He's a small business owner who barely breaks even every year. This will help him stop burning fuel oil during the winter. I'd rather have them spending money on these types of things than the predator drone that's currently patrolling the air looking for weed plantations.

  • ||

    That's Nolan Finley in the Detroit News. Read the whole thing here. It might be even more effective if, right after they install the new windows, they have a crew of otherwise-unemployed folks saunter by and break the windows, thus creating jobs for glaziers...

    In Detroit windows are broken at no cost to the taxpayers.

  • Fists of Furry||

    "There was a story on CNBC (I wasn't really paying attention, so my grasp of the details is sketchy) this morning about somebody, possibly the foreclosing bank, tearing down a bunch of houses in some place like California.

    There needs to be more of this."

    And yet, Habitat for Humanity continues to build.

  • ||

    Basically this is a big "fuck you sucker" to the folks who installed their own insulation, weather stripping etc. If you do it yourself the break even point comes much sooner.

    Of course if your neighbor is paying professionals (those "green" workers that The Chosen One has been blathering about) to do it for you, the break even get ahead point is immediate.

  • alan||

    Vinvent Chase | May 5, 2009, 1:17pm | #
    My uncle got one of these grants. He's a small business owner who barely breaks even every year. This will help him stop burning fuel oil during the winter. I'd rather have them spending money on these types of things than the predator drone that's currently patrolling the air looking for weed plantations.


    Your welfare and crony capitalist state props up the warfare state as the case has been since the time of Bismark.

  • Joel||

    Well, look on the bright side. This is more-or-less exactly where Obama said some of the stimulus money would go. Which means that in this one case Obama promised to do something and then did exactly that.

    I mean, c'mon. Who saw that coming?

  • ||

    Yo, can't we make Canada take Michigan?

    Your taxes will go up. Michigan is a donor state We get 88¢ back for every dollar we send to that massive fiscal sinkhole known as Washington, D.C.

    Leading the list of welfare states is

    Alaska $6.60
    D.C. $3.53
    S. D. $2.28
    Hawaii $2.23
    Mont. $2.22
    R. I. $2.17
    N. D. $2.17
    Vt. $1.83
    W. Va. $1.69
    Del. $1.60

    Where does your state fit on that list, Xeones?


  • ||

    I don't remember making that remark. Get another handle or beat it, kid.

    alan, I selected J sub D because John, John David, John D. and JD were all taken. Creativity is the word when selecting internet handles.

  • ||

    I find it amazing that KY is a donor state.

  • Big Weatherstripping||

    This is excellent news for the good people of Michigan and America.

    When every home has appropriate weatherstripping, we will be that much safer from Al Qaida.

  • kinnath||

    Iowa would be a welfare state, we get more back than we send in.

    But this is driven by the third oldest population in the country (behind FLA and AZ). So what we are getting is our share of that ponzi scheme otherwise known as Social Security.

  • Abra Cadaver||

    "alan, I selected J sub D because John, John David, John D. and JD were all taken. Creativity is the word when selecting internet handles."

    Damn straight.

  • robc||

    Isnt 88 cents worse than average though? At least 12 cents per dollar is lost in DC or shipped overseas.

  • alan||

    alan, I selected J sub D because John, John David, John D. and JD were all taken. Creativity is the word when selecting internet handles.

    Yeah, but I am the one who has used it for years. I chose it because it most resembles an actual name as seems apt to me on a political board, however on other forum sites, I have handles that make J sub D sound like a Uwe Boll brain fart in terms of creativity. So don't even try to get snippy with me.

    There is a good reason no one who reads this message board would want my handle, I have done everything in my power to besmirch this handle's good name with obscene and half cocked post so anyone in his right mind who would want to be associated with it would do so only at the detriment of his own reputation.

    Until now, I thought that was enough to protect it.

  • Paul||

    Personally, I gave up creative internet handles. Eventually, they begin to come off as 'trying too hard'. Hey! That'd be a great internet handle!

  • ||

    http://208.176.52.77/content/upload/AssetMgmt/Site/HOUSING/Mar09stats.pdf

    If you look at the above listing, you will see that the average sale price for a home in Detroit was

    $11,948

    So instead of this program they could have bought half as many homes, torn them down, stripped them for copper and other usable goods, or used them to house indigents and homeless.

    But I am sure this was well thought out.

  • ||

    Of all the things that they could have spent some stimulus money on... weatherizing homes isn't that bad. I thought it'd be more like hole digging at night and hole filling during the day.

    Did you expect the stimulus money to increase overall wealth? A 16-year break-even point(i.e., a fairly big loss) isn't bad for gov't spending.

  • ||

    So if your in Michigan the government will come in and give you money to fix your home up.

    Here in La. we now have a $5000-$10000 deductible on any damage caused by a named storm. We pay insurance and unless we have catastrophic damage we get to pay for it all and continue to pay home insurance. Now those in Mich will just get freebie upgrades and fixes while we can not even get our insurance to pay for damages to our homes. Yeah this whole fucking new new deal is just fucking wonderful. Each day I think we should be asking ourselves why they don't have more people going postal killing fuckers shit is so out of whack I can almost relate to how unstable people could be pushed to that point easily in todays fuck everyone over world.

  • No Name Guy||

    So, what's it called again when one man uses force to take sustinance from another man? Oh yeah.........something about some ammendment to the constitution forbidding that.

    Well, to hell with you Michigan and all you leach homeowerns there.

    Grasshoppers of the world - Unite and squash the ants. Track 3, Operation Mindcrime.

  • Xeones||

    Where does your state fit on that list, Xeones?

    Since Virginia gets 95 red cents back for every dollar we send to that pissant district on our northern edge, even with the huge-ass navy base down the street from my house and the Super Hornet fly-bys every goddamn minute of the day, i'm gonna say it doesn't.

  • alan||

    Paul | May 5, 2009, 2:20pm | #
    Personally, I gave up creative internet handles. Eventually, they begin to come off as 'trying too hard'. Hey! That'd be a great internet handle!


    I may need to change my name to something neither regulars nor those who stumble on to the site would want. I'm thinking The Tijuana Donkey. How does that sound?

  • alan||

    to the other alan, that doesn't mean I'm abandoning my name if I'm considering other ones. I'll haunt you oh I will haunt you.

  • ||

    alan (my science fiction buddy),

    I've been trying for years to get someone to use "Rowdy Roddy Peeper" as a handle... you could be that special someone.

  • Xeones||

    I'm thinking The Tijuana Donkey.

    Hey, i hear donkeys in Tijuana hella get some action. Go for it.

  • Vanessa||

    Actually, they were "Apply. Lather. Rinse. Repeat."

    I wonder now if I sold my house at the right time. If only I had held on (but done less work on it) that incident in which I slipped and slammed my leg through the ceiling while I was installing insulation might never have happened. I could have used all new windows too. As it was, I could only afford to replace the very worst of them.

    I have to admit though - the bruise on my thigh was the most impressive I have ever seen. I'm not sure I would want to give up that memory.

  • Rowdy Rodney Peeper||

    It is at least for the evening, so new alan has time to adjust. I may have been a little harsh on the fellow, but then again it should be obvious I was keeding.

  • ||

    Yeah, but I am the one who has used it for years. I chose it because it most resembles an actual name as seems apt to me on a political board, however on other forum sites, I have handles that make J sub D sound like a Uwe Boll brain fart in terms of creativity. So don't even try to get snippy with me.

    Ignore the Yugo. My other car is really cool.
    ;-)

  • ||

    Since Jay mentioned what I've been thinking, I ask, in all seriousness, why NOT just tear down all those empty buildings? I know I'm missing something, or I'm crazy,...... but why not?

  • ||

    why NOT just tear down all those empty buildings?

    No, no, no. You need to turn it into an income producing asset. I propose that Detroit lease big chunks of the city to the Army for urban warfare training.

  • ||

    That's an idea! What the hell, no one's moving back there.

  • Paul||

    I propose that Detroit lease big chunks of the city to the Army for urban warfare training.

    The Private sector already does that.

    I'm here all week.

  • K.T.||

    I need a new roof... where's my bailout!

  • Imee||

    My aunt is in Michigan, I don't know if she's aware of those weatherization grants. I've been telling her for a while that her house needs to be fixed in time for winter--what she did was take a vacation elsewhere warmer. Funny lady.

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