Washington just doesn’t get it. Spending beyond our means is what got this country into trouble in this first place. Political gimmickry like Cash for (fill-in-the-blank) only exacerbates the root cause. Government has no business encouraging people to take out car loans or home loans — or buy new refrigerators or dishwashers — when they should be saving their money instead.
They don’t get it. Via Business Week:
A $300 million cash-for-clunkers-type federal program to boost sales of energy-efficient home appliances provides a glimmer of hope for beleaguered makers of washing machines and dishwashers, but it’s probably not enough to lift companies such as Whirlpool (WHR) and Electrolux out of the worst down cycle in the sector’s history.
Beginning late this fall, the program authorizes rebates of $50 to $200 for purchases of high-efficiency household appliances. The money is part of the broader economic stimulus bill passed earlier this year. Program details will vary by state, and the Energy Dept. has set a deadline of Oct. 15 for states to file formal applications. The Energy Dept. expects the bulk of the $300 million to be awarded by the end of November. (Unlike the clunkers auto program, consumers won’t have to trade in their old appliances.)
…Not surprisingly, appliance makers cheered the news. Electrolux spokesman Tony Evans calls the federal program a “great opportunity to encourage consumers to replace their old appliances.” Lately, cash-strapped consumers have chosen to repair, rather than replace, hobbled dishwashers and other water-intensive appliances, according to industry analysts. Electrolux says it is readying “aggressive” marketing programs that will run parallel with the rebates, and it’s reasonable to expect appliance makers and retailers will devise additional discounts to amplify the rebates’ appeal. “We will be ready to go when the new incentive programs hit the market,” Evans said.
Forget a new fridge. I want cash for an upgrade to Wii Fit Plus. I’m sure the Fitness Czar will approve.