So, what if someone came up with a way to create jobs, reduce fossil and nuclear fuel based energy consumption, and make a significant contribution to improving air quality all at once? What if it didn’t even mean a tax increase, inventing money out of thin air, or finding a way to basically stick up some foreign country to pay for it? Sounds hard to resist, doesn’t it?
Welcome to PACE, the Property Assessed Clean Energy program some earnest minds in Berkeley came up with a while back. In simplest terms, PACE allowed homeowners to purchase solar power arrays for their houses and spread the cost out over 10 to 20 years through property tax manipulation.
Unfortunately, PACE also creates liens against the properties it applies to that have to be paid off first if PACE homeowners get foreclosed. That has the possibility of leaving the defaulted against lenders holding the bags, liable for paying off the PACE improvements. Poor banks!
When the $10,000 to $15,000 cost of a solar power array is compared to the total value of the property it’s installed on, especially in places like Santa Cruz, California, it makes it even harder to sympathize with the banks. These are the same banks that have helped themselves to all the TARP money they could get, and then sat on it instead of putting it to work the way it was intended.
The FHFA (Federal Housing Finance Authority) gets involved as the conservator of the government sponsored private home financing enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. So, despite the risk really being the responsibility of private banksters, breathtakingly bold con artists who sneer at eight digit salaries, and the economy crashing aristocracy in general, it gets painted up as a tax payer problem. That’s risk the aristocrats and their minions could never ask us to accept our tax-paying selves, of course, because we are so obviously better off without the jobs, sensible, renewable energy, cleaner air, and all-around better planet that PACE was helping us build. Clearly.
But, as usual, if you think there’s a conspiracy lurking in there, you’re crazy and probably shouldn’t be out in public without supervision – and your pointed tin foil hat. The basic economics are, after all, there for everyone to admire in their byzantine splendor, supported on dense layers of subverted mathematics and boldly proclaimed from every media outlet by the 21st century’s greatest hucksters.
There is a crystal clear message here. People need jobs. The air needs to be clean. We need to stop global warming. We need to switch to renewable energy resources. The oil wars need to stop. If there are rules in the way, they need to be ripped up and replaced – immediately – even if it means replacing the entire economic system from scratch.
Naturally, no one (at least not this one) intends the urgent replacement program to include burning down any banks, no matter how good it might feel. After all, all that icky smoke would have a horrible effect on air quality! On the other hand, if you think about the Hellacious climate change we face and the amount of Hellish war that has to be fought for control of the oil while it lasts – not to mention the number of oil rigs that have to blow up and burn down trying to drill all the way to Hell, it’s tempting to wonder just what sort of afterlife the banks need to be practicing for?