December 15th, 2009
01:32 PM ET

Financial Dispatch: Cash For Caulkers

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/08/15/obama.health.care/art.obama.cnn.jpg ]

Gene Bloch
CNN New York Managing Editor

President Obama continues his economic focus with a trip to Home Depot in Alexandria, Virginia. The topic: the economic impact of energy efficiency for homes in its so-called Cash for Caulkers program. While there, he'll also meet with business leaders and get ideas from them. In his remarks he'll talk about energy saving ideas and retro-fitting homes.

We’ll drill down on the President’s plan for energy efficiency in American homes (likely offering up to $12,000 in incentives for homeowners to retrofit houses and make them more energy efficient), we’ll look back at a similar program CNNMoney covered in Babylon, NY earlier this year that has now expanded to 8 neighboring towns on Long Island and has been a boon for the local economy. Will a national program have the same impact?

Those better than expected signs on the economy keep trickling in, though they don’t mean much until the economy begins adding jobs.

Industrial production increased in November by a better than expected 0.8%, while economists had expected a half percent jump. Wholesale inflation as measured by the Producer Price Index jumped 1.8% in November, more than twice the gain expected, but most of that was due to a sharp run-up in energy prices.

Without food and energy, PPI’s so-called core rate was up half a percent.

The news comes as Federal Reserve policy makers meet in Washington – expect an announcement on policy tomorrow at about 2:15pm.

Bank of America pledged to step up small business lending on Monday, the same day President Obama asked the country’s major bank CEOs to do their part to help the economic recovery. Bank of America says it will increase small business lending by $5 billion next year. The bank’s small business lending fell 5% this year.

And Wells Fargo is joining the list of major banks that will pay back the TARP money loaned by the federal government. Wells says it will pay back the $25 billion it received during the crisis. And this morning, General Motors Chairman & CEO Ed Whitacre says the company will pay back $6.7 billion in government loans by next June. The company has also received $45 billion from Uncle Sam which it converted into an equity stake (meaning taxpayers own it).

And finally, whether it’s Goldman Sachs CEO saying the company is doing “God’s work,” Chris Farley appearing in new Direct TV ads, or the new AIG CEO calling Congress a bunch of “crazies” – they all qualify for some of the dumbest moments in business this year. In one of its smartest moments, CNNMoney compiled them.

Go here and check it out

soundoff (One Response)
  1. Tim Gibson

    Personally I have very little faith, acutally none, that "cash for caulkers" will have any kind of impact on the economy in a real way. Just another in the "grand illusion" tour of Obama and congress.

    December 15, 2009 at 1:37 pm |