Our view: Another spending stumble
December 5, 2009
Another example of federal government spending unwisely is on the table.
Next week, the Moffat County Commission will decide whether it wants to partner in a proposed program that offers rebate incentives to residents who make new purchases — such as household appliances — that improve energy efficiency or use renewable resources.
The program is offered through the Governor's Energy Office and has roughly $20 million in dedicated federal funds, which will be available until 2012, or until the money dries up.
If the county decides to partner, local residents would get an additional rebate for new purchases.
Two of three county commissioners heard a presentation in November from Kate Nowak, Yampa Valley Partners executive director, on the proposal. The proposal, it seemed, had little support from commission members.
And it shouldn't.
The program is another example of unwise federal government spending practices. The primary example of this continued trend: the stimulus package.
It's questionable whether the stimulus, which was touted as a mechanism that would create jobs, has done what it was sold to the American people as being able to do.
It's even more questionable that green energy rebates are the best use of $20 million.
Couldn't that money be better used for infrastructure repair or new projects?
Those are the projects that put people to work — a desperate need in today's difficult times — and truly help people. History has proven public works can help jolt an economy forward.
However, on the surface at least, the green energy rebate program presented to the county looks like a gimmicky, short-term and minor incentive that probably won't help a lot of people.
Perhaps time will tell that the critics were wrong and federal spending like what was doled out in the stimulus package did indeed provide the economic boost it was designed to.
Maybe that will be the case, years from now, after the package has had time to cycle.
But, if recent history or this latest proposal shed any insight, it appears the final verdict on the stimulus could be exactly as unflattering as it seems to be today.