'Cash for appliance' plan being finalized

Nov. 27, 2009 at 10:07 AM
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WASHINGTON, Nov. 27 (UPI) -- A "cash for appliances" program of giving U.S. consumers rebates for swapping old appliances for new, efficient ones should be finalized soon, officials say.

Supported by $300 million from the economic stimulus package, the program will offer consumers rebates for buying energy-efficient refrigerators, dishwashers, air conditioners and other appliances to replace older, energy-wasting models, The Washington Post reported Friday.

The program, just as its "Cash for Clunkers" older sibling, has split economists over how much lasting economic good this rebate program will create.

"The premise seems to be that for Americans to be richer, they need to throw out their old appliances faster -- I don't see it that way," James Hamilton, an economics professor at the University of California at San Diego, told the Post. "I don't like the idea of just spending money for its own sake."

Much of the cash-for-appliances money won't be available until February, March or April, officials said. The program will be run by state governments, which must identify and enact their rebate plans with federal government funding and approval.

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