Looks like the next in the line of government economic engineering and payoff for labor unions will come in the form of a “Cash for Appliances” program set to launch this fall. According to Yahoo!
Beginning late this fall, the program authorizes rebates of $50 to $200 for purchases of high-efficiency household appliances.
Here we go again down the path of trying to move consumer demand through government manipulation of the market. Unfortunately, many states have already tried this (North Carolina included with our Energy Star sales tax holiday Nov. 6-9) and it doesn’t seem to be working.
The federal outlay will piggyback on rebate programs for energy-saving appliances that have existed for years in more than 25 states, but which have largely failed to spur demand. Home improvement retailers like Home Depot and Lowe’s have also offered deep discounts on big-ticket appliances lately, with little impact.
If retailers are already trying to spur the purchases with deep discounts and no one is biting, is a $300 million government subsidy (deficit spending, too) really going to move people? I doubt it. Although with the new higher sales tax in North Carolina, I might actually think about taking advantage of it.