One of the most interesting concepts brought up in the Dan Kammen interview was the idea of a performance contract and that could be used to incentivize contractors in the future. In traditional contracts, owners define what needs to be done and how to do it. The contractor is paid for the immediate result regardless of long-term performance. But in a performance-based contract, the contractor is paid for in part for their work but also the long-run performance of their construction. For example, in the case of remodeling a kitchen, contractors may receive a bonus based on key performance indicators like efficiency (less consumption of electricity/gas). While this all sounds nice in theory, it would seem difficult to get labor unions to agree to this structure of pay. Contractors like payment upfront, especially in cash. The client likes bargains and even if paying more for an efficient system would lead to long-term savings, that's not on most people's minds at the moment. Perhaps what a contractor could do is lower the price of the efficient design, but then require 20% of the client's long-term savings as commission. That still makes things complicated as no one wants to be obliged to long-term contracts, especially for smaller projects like a kitchen remodeling job.
Recently in an interview with CNBC, Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg opened a whole new can of worms stating that a mileage tax"shows a lot of promise" for the future opening up debate as to whether the Biden administration should consider such an idea. There are many reasons I can think of which would make this a poor policy decision: First off privacy concerns, what level of data collection from our vehicles would be required from the government? Second, why would we be incentivized to buy fuel-efficient vehicles with such a policy? There is already a gas tax, and those who drive electric would supposedly not have to worry about these surcharges. Also, many lower-income communities who can't afford to live in expensive cities would have longer commutes to work and therefore disproportionality affected by such a policy. To Administrator McCarthy, I would have asked what her thoughts are on Secretary Buttigieg's proposal and what would she would consider an ideal policy to generate funds for infrastructure projects as we move away from gas-powered vehicles?