The Nacilbupera Guzzle

Whoever examines with attention the history of the dearths and famines … will find, I believe, that a dearth never has arisen from any combination among the inland dealers in corn, nor from any other cause but a real scarcity, occasioned sometimes perhaps, and in some particular places, by the waste of war, but in by far the greatest number of cases by the fault of the seasons; and that a famine has never arisen from any other cause but the violence of government attempting, by improper means, to remedy the inconveniences of a dearth. (Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations IV.5.44)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Provo's $100,000 "Switch It Man"

Provoans may not be able to afford a 6 Million Dollar Man, but we've now got our $100,000 "Switch It Man" to save the day from our wasteful energy selves. How fitting...we're wasting money on Switch It Man for the objective of wasting less energy.

Switch It ManTM (yeah, he's actually trademarked) has hit Provo hard in February. He's in banners across streets, in the newspaper, home mailers, on twitter, facebook, and even has his own blog. Rumor has it he'll even get to be the grand marshal of the Freedom Festival this year, (the feral cat came in second place). Switch It ManTM even has his own controversial commercial on youtube which--incredibly--urges wives to dump energy-lazy husbands in favor of owning a dog (watch ending):

Switch It Man: Rooted in the Federal Government

Switch It Man became a funded possibility two years ago as part of the "shovel-ready" projects of the failed Obama Stimulus plan or American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, passed in haste now two years ago to create jobs and stimulate the economy. A little over a year earlier in late 2007, Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) had been passed and included a Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program (EECBG) which became funded under this failed Obama Stimulus (U.S. Dept of Energy). Cities, including Provo, from across Utah and indeed the country applied for these "grants" (list of recipients) which amounts to nothing more than a redistribution of taxpayer dollars back to communities in the form of a bribe for certain behavior--in this case, spending monies on things deemed by the Federal Government to curb energy usage.

Provo City's Thirst for Federal Funds

In June 2009, Provo City completed its EECBG application and was consequently awarded a $1.14M grant from the Federal Government. Last year's January 5th Municipal Council Study Meeting (minutes) provide details in how our taxpayer $1.14M will be spent:
  • Energy Audits $235,000
  • Weatherization Program $225,000
  • Appliance Rebates $175,000
  • Energy Services Marketing $100,000
  • City Building Energy Audit and Upgrade $125,000
  • Street Light Efficiency $50,500
  • Traffic Signal Efficiency $84,000
  • Bike Lanes and Trails $150,000
The "Energy Services Marketing" line was the amount Provo City budgeted in order to create Switch It ManTM to inform the citizenry about all the "goodies" Provo City had secured from the U.S. Taxpayers. Perhaps the Feds required a certain percentage to be spent on marketing; otherwise it counts as a frivolous waste on top of million dollar federal pork project. You can't tell me that by using its powerful array of free or extremely low-cost advertising that the city couldn't get the word out about "free" government goodies. The city even got a December write-up article in the Salt Lake Tribune!

My View as a Provoan

Other than the ridiculous man-trashing Switch It ManTM, these budget items are all aimed at the worthy goal of conserving energy which I support and try to incorporate in my personal life. Yet when considering dire situation of the Federal Government, now bankrupt at $14T in the hole and desperate to borrow more money, I must condemn spending like this and insist that our leaders do not spend or seek to spend borrowed money. This unspent money did not stimulate the economy during the past two years and will have to be paid back with interest. Our local leaders must catch the vision of keeping federal monies strictly for federal projects, not for rebates for Provoans to insulate their homes at the expense of all U.S. taxpayers.

But don't let Switch It ManTM get you in the blues too bad, it's Valentine's Day weekend. As soon as the first-come-first-serve Stimulus funds run out, like a lovefraud con man Switch It ManTM will only be a bad memory except the debt he leaves you with. So go to and get rid of the old fridge and the old husband and kiss your new lover Switch It ManTM. Oh, and hey...turn the lights off!

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