Wall Street is, apparently, in melt down. Jobs are being lost daily, compounding the problems of the banks, homeowners, homebuilders, and, of course, electric manufacturers. The U.S. economy is in crisis, but pouring money at the top of the pyramid will reach the individuals and institutions that drive the economy-it's the old, "Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day; teach a man to fish and you'll feed him for life."

The Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst recently published a report that promises to do more for the overall economy than the proposed bailout, for a "mere" $100 billion. According to PERI, investing $100 billion in six green infrastructures would strengthen the U.S. economy over the next two years and leave it in a better position for sustainable growth.

The study contends that investing in the following six areas would create 2 million well-paying jobs:

  • Retrofitting buildings to improve energy efficiency
  • Expanding mass transit and freight rail
  • Constructing Smart Grid electrical transmission systems
  • Wind power
  • Solar power
  • Next-generation biofuels

Investing $100 billion in a green-energy stimulus package would result in widespread employment gains, lower unemployment, renewed construction and manufacturing work, more stable oil prices, and self-financial energy efficiency, the report says.

Attacking the underlying problems in the economy-rampant unemployment, falling productivity, increasing inflation-isn't being addressed by Wall Street and Capitol Hill in the rush-to-judgment bailout plan. Addressing the economic morass through job creation, rebuilding the nation's infrastructure, and securing the abundance of energy through alternative sources makes more sense to me.

A recap of the report appears in electroindustry in October. The full report, Green Recovery: A Program to Create Good Jobs and Start Building a Low-Carbon Economy, is available at www.americanprogress.org/issues/2008/09/green_recovery.html.


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