Stick 'em up
Caulk lovers unite: House passes man-pleasing green rebate bill
Environmentalists and caulk enthusiasts all over America are rejoicing over the House's passing of the Home Star Energy Retrofit Act, colloquially known as Cash for Caulkers to fit along the theme of the widely-successful Cash for Clunkers car program.
If passed by the Senate and signed by President Obama, homeowners may appeal for as much as $8,000 in Caulkers rebates.
Eligible retrofits include anything that blocks entry of outside air into a house (and therefore saves energy): sealants, foams, gaskets, weather stripping, mastics — basically all shapes and sizes of caulk. And the more places you find to lay down caulk, the more money you can get from The Man.
The government's not about to exclude the nation's peeping toms — window replacements are eligible for rebate if the process includes at least eight windows, or 75 percent of a home's exterior window and skylights. Door replacements are included as well, and participants only have to replace one door to score — the front or back door — the House is leaving it up to personal preference.
Also eligible are new furnaces, heat pumps, air conditioners, water heaters and the like.
Consumers would access this money via discounts or rebates given by contractors or stores at point of sale, then vendors would apply to the government for the actual federal funds. Whether caulk dealers would be left waiting as long for their government paybacks as many car dealers were is a question for the future. As is whether the caulk program would run out of green dollars in a matter of hours like the Texas Trade Up Appliance Rebate Program.
One thing's certain — as always, a plethora of quality caulk may be found at big-box hardware stores as well as newly renovated gyms and gay clubs.
Cash for Caulkers comes as a natural response to the wildly popular state-sponsored programs for energy-efficient appliances and has been touted by Obama as one of the signature pieces of his administration's larger job-creation strategy. After the House passed the measure, Obama declared, "We have workers eager to do new installations and renovations, and factories ready to produce new energy-efficient supplies."
Reports CNN, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi predicts that the legislation will create nearly 168,000 jobs in construction, manufacturing and retail. Her crystal ball also suggests that the measure will cut energy bills by up to $500 a year for some 3 million families.
For the lower-income caulkers, the bill will distribute $600 million to states for grants to help mobile homeowners replace pre-1976 models with energy-efficient ones. Repaying caulk fiends has been a tough pill to swallow for House Republicans, as funding for the $6 billion measure is yet to be determined.