Your rebate check is not in the mail. And it won't be until Congress and President Bush agree on an economic stimulus package.
The sure thing according to every political analyst is that the politicians will not resist the urge to please us with a few hundred dollars of our tax dollars back. They hope we spend it quickly to jump start the economy.
One question is whether the Senate's drive to restore clean energy tax credits will also make it into the bill. President Bush doesn't think they should. We do.
Short term, the economy might benefit if we all spend some more money. Manufacturers and importers pocket some of the cash. The bills get paid. Foreclosures might be staved off.
But to build a strong economy, the U.S. needs strong industries and the clean tech industry is a new and growing industry. Its global center should be in the U.S., where we have the expertise to develop new technology and the workforce to install those technologies widely.
Right now, the growth of some key parts of the industry wind and solar power among them is heavily reliant on tax breaks that lower the cost of producing new renewable energy equipment, which encourages homeowners and businesses to invest in it. Long-term, that not only lowers their monthly bills (and they can spend the balance helping the consumer side of the economy) but employs people to research, develop, manufacture and install the new equipment.
A study (paid for by the American Wind Energy and the Solar Energy Industry associations) estimated that more than 116,000 U.S. jobs and nearly $19 billion in U.S. investment could be lost in just one year if renewable energy tax credits are not renewed.
Many see the future of the economy as being green. Legions of workers could be employed just installing solar panels on residential homes, for instance.
But that future economy needs stimulus, just as the economy we have now needs stimulus. For that reason, the Senate bill is more far-sighted.
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