Troubling Revelation: Housing Secretary Donovan Can’t Discern House from Car

by William Yeatman on June 6, 2011

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Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan recently took to the Huffington Post to promote subsidies for money-saving, “green” retrofits and appliances. While he never articulated why the Obama administration thinks American consumers are so stupid that they need government help in order to save money, Secretary Donovan did offer a nonsensical justification for these tax handouts. Here’s how he opened his HuffPo post,

“With gas prices topping $4 a gallon families and businesses are facing a real burden. But we can take action to ensure the American people don’t fall victim to volatile energy costs over the long term.”

There is a big problem with the Housing Secretary’s lede: Gasoline fuels cars, not houses. The fact that “gas prices [are] topping $4 a gallon” has almost nothing* to do with HUD’s wasteful green subsidies for energy efficient appliances and retrofits.

In addition to being a fanciful waste of money at a time of budgetary crisis, HUD’s green give-aways are also regressive. All Americans pay for favorable tax treatment that is enjoyed only by the upper crusts of society. Most people, and virtually all poor people, don’t care to pay a premium for environmentalist features on and in their homes. Rather, it’s the affluent who invest in these extras, which they flaunt like a green badge of courage.

Please see the 13:25 mark of this archived webcast of Rep. John J. Duncan, Jr. speaking at a House Environment and Water Subcommittee for a brilliant discourse on environmentalism and socioeconomic class.

*In the Northeast, there’s a sizable market for home heating oil, and Hawaii generates a significant amount of electricity from oil, but these are insignificant components of overall oil and electricity markets. Otherwise, the liquid fuel market is separate from the home heating and electricity markets targeted by HUD’s energy efficiency programs. And the market for refined gasoline is wholly separate from residential energy use.

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