STEPHANOPOULOS: It has been pretty well-received in the Congress. But you're getting some push back as well, especially from Senate Democrats on the tax cut portions. Senator Tom Harkin said this is trickle down economics all
over again. They're focused especially on the business taxes.
Do you really believe those business tax cuts are going to work to create jobs? Or do you put them in so you could get Republican votes?
OBAMA: Well, let's look at the package as a whole, the bulk of the package is direct government spending. And here are a few things we're going to do. We're going to alternative energy production. We are going to weatherize 2 million homes. We are going to create a much more efficient energy system. . .
It strains credulity to think that at this point in our national story, at the tail end of the first decade of the new century, the American people are in such a state that a platform of the new president’s energy plan is direct government spending to “weatherize 2 million homes.” Presidents are strange creatures that get little factoids or action items or nuggets of motherly advice stuck on their brains. Jimmy Carter ludicrously lectured us to wear thicker sweaters, but he never bought them for us. President Bush claimed to have a certain amount of “political capital.” Approximately $1.50 worth, as it turns out. When they assume office, presidents certainly have political capital to tap into, but they also receive a stipend that covers the expenses associated with a certain number of ludicrous statements, but once the account is empty, that’s it. Obama is rapidly working through his hush money for ludicrosity, and he hasn’t even placed his hand upon the Lincoln Bible.
What if we don’t weatherize our homes? Is there a tax in the future to penalize it? Is there going to be a study on the effects of second hand chills? Obama has warned us that we can’t keep out homes at 72 degrees and still have the world love us. And how will these weatherizing subsidies be doled out? Will it entail a voucher or coupon, similar to the digital television transition coupons, which can be used to buy weather-stripping from Target or Amazon? And just what the hell does he mean by weatherizing the homes? Is he buying furnaces for people? Does he realize that rules and regulations must now be written? Will draftstoppers decorated with little kittens or frolicking puppies be compliant with these rules? Will there be a unit of the National Civilian Defence Corp - the Weatherizes, perhaps, wearing Patagonia jackets with NCDC emblazoned on the back - traipsing through the right kind of neighborhoods, kicking in doors and rolling out weather-stripping? Are we to see the formation of an Office of Weather-stripping in the Department of Energy?
Sounds ludicrous, eh?
No more ludicrous than the idea that it is the government’s business to directly spend money on weatherizing homes. This is one of those Freakonomics-like exercises that we will have to suffer through. Some clever dickwad will now provide a total dollars saved figure on the ramifications of weatherizing just 2 million homes and just imagine the savings if we doubled or tripled it? And that will be the mark of the Obama administration – forcing us to discuss the ludicrous.