- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 15, 2009

President Obama tried to bring the sexy back to home improvements, telling a crowd Tuesday at a Home Depot that making their homes more energy efficient eventually will put more cash in their pockets.

“We were at the roundtable and somebody said installation is not sexy. I disagree,” the president said at a Northern Virginia store. “Here’s what’s sexy about it: saving money.”

Mr. Obama visited the Home Depot — the country’s No. 2 retailer — to garner support for his plan before Congress to provide tax incentives to Americans who retrofit their homes to make them more energy efficient.

The president said small contracting companies were among the hardest hit by the recession, with a 21 percent unemployment rate at the beginning of 2009. He also said 30 percent of Home Depot customers are contractors with three to four employees.

In addition to saving energy, Americans buying energy-efficient doors, water heaters — even window caulk — would create a ripple effect in which U.S. manufacturing would increase, retail sales would jump and contractors would be hired to install the new purchases, Mr. Obama said.

The president’s so-called “Cash for Caulkers” program follows his popular economic-stimulus plan known as “Cash for Clunkers,” which gave consumers incentives for trading in their vehicles for more fuel-efficient ones.

“We want to try to rebuild America’s house on a stronger foundation,” Mr. Obama said.

• Joseph Weber can be reached at jweber@washingtontimes.com.old.

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