Thursday, August 26, 2010

Letter to the Seattle PI (Aug 2010)

Time for a Green New Deal

The economy continues to slide, with what looks like a double-dip recession not far away. News of housing, stocks, and unemployment look grim. As consumers pull back, we could even see the onset of deflation like that which killed Japanese growth for over a decade. Meanwhile, world demand for oil is approaching the level which kicked off the Great Recession in 2008, which could mean another oil spike as soon as next year.

Surely it is time for President Obama to replace his economic team and bring on New Deal policies in earnest. Economic measures which increase productive activity will pay for themselves over time, and can be funded by restoring the upper-income tax levels of the Clinton years and paring the bloated military budget. Putting people to work on needed projects will pay dividends to them and to us.

The calling of our time is to save the world from runaway climate change. Meanwhile, peaking oil production will bring severe stress to the U.S., the country most heavily dependent on automobiles. These two factors can be mitigated if we design government projects that transition us to renewable energy, rail-served urban centers and sustainable agriculture. By doing so, we will expand the manufacturing base which will grow the economy. We may even save the planet for future generations.

If not now, when?

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