President-elect Barack Obama once again described the perilous state of the economy Thursday, in a speech that called for "dramatic action" -- in the form of trillion dollar spending deficits on economic recovery projects.
While he placed the blame on greed and lax regulation, he said government spending on energy, health care, education, infrastructure and tax cuts ($1,000 for a working couple) are the short-term answer to jumpstart private investment.
"It is true that we cannot depend on government alone to create jobs or long-term growth, but at this particular moment, only government can provide the short-term boost necessary to lift us from a recession this deep and severe. Only government can break the vicious cycles that are crippling our economy where a lack of spending leads to lost jobs which leads to even less spending; where an inability to lend and borrow stops growth and leads to even less credit."
Job 1, Obama said, would be green jobs:
"To finally spark the creation of a clean energy economy, we will double the production of alternative energy in the next three years. We will modernize more than 75% of federal buildings and improve the energy efficiency of two million American homes, saving consumers and taxpayers billions on our energy bills. In the process, we will put Americans to work in new jobs that pay well and cant be outsourced jobs building solar panels and wind turbines; constructing fuel-efficient cars and buildings; and developing the new energy technologies that will lead to even more jobs, more savings, and a cleaner, safer planet in the bargain. ...
"To build an economy that can lead this future, we will begin to rebuild America. Yes, well put people to work repairing crumbling roads, bridges, and schools by eliminating the backlog of well-planned, worthy and needed infrastructure projects. But well also do more to retrofit America for a global economy. That means updating the way we get our electricity by starting to build a new smart grid that will save us money, protect our power sources from blackout or attack, and deliver clean, alternative forms of energy to every corner of our nation. It means expanding broadband lines across America, so that a small business in a rural town can connect and compete with their counterparts anywhere in the world. And it means investing in the science, research, and technology that will lead to new medical breakthroughs, new discoveries, and entire new industries."
That action, if he can convince Congress to concur, would fulfill part of Obama's campaign promise to invest in renewable energy and energy conservation as a bulwark against global warming. He also promised to regulate greenhouse gas emissions via a cap-and-trade carbon law. The details of that initiative haven't been talked about as a high priority, but at the least, Obama's pledge to increase the energy efficiency of American buildings and build new renewable energy generation would both reduce demand and increase the supply of clean energy -- two big steps toward an economy that employs Americans without threatening to cause global warming, or the life that relies on a stable climate.
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