The stimulus package is creating jobs, even against fundamental shifts in the nature of our economy. To tackle those fundamental shifts, we need to revamp our economy. That revamping includes revolutionizing the energy economy. Commiting America to a policy of clean, renewable energy would create loads of jobs, including 5000 to 10,000 right here in South Dakota.
But the oil industry's best friend, the Republican Party, has kicked, screamed, and mythologized to keep us from passing any sensible energy legislation this year. Thanks to Republican obstructionism (not to mention some Blue Dog collaboration), America is giving up 1.9 million new-energy jobs to foreign companies. Plus, the defenders of the energy status quo are also keeping an extra $208 million a day from being invested in the U.S. economy, as folks who want to build new-energy businesses say, "Heck, the U.S. won't get serious, but China and Europe will. Let's invest elsewhere!"
In kitchen-table terms, the denialism of Republicans like Senator John Thune and Congress-wannabe Kristi Noem means your household will miss out on as much as $1175 a year in income.
You can read the full report from the nice folks at the Small Business Majority, Main Street Alliance, American Businesses for Clean Energy, and We Can Lead. These are all business groups—business groups—telling the Republicans to get with the program on energy security.
Faint glimmer of hope: Senator Al Franken and some other good liberal Senators are signing on to a bipartisan bill from Senators Bingaman and Brownback to establish a national 15% Renewable Energy Standard. That proposal by itself wouldn't bring all of the above jobs and income back to South Dakota and the rest of the country, but it's an important step in the direction of the energy future that our competitors in the world economy are already embracing.
The Republicans seem determined to apply their "Invisible Hand" wishful thinking to everything. Don't just do something; stand there! The economy will sort itself out. Oil will magically bubble from new holes in the ground. We can keep doing things the way we always have, because we're Americans, and Americans are always right.
Look around, America. The world is changing. The economy is changing. We must change with it... and that means changing our energy policy. Listen to Senator Franken, and fix it now!
Update 17:22 CDT: Of course, 15% RES is small potatoes for real forward thinkers. California is working on requiring investor-owned utilities to go 33% renewable.
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