[See yesterday's post, if you haven't already, to make this second part of my post at least marginally sensible!]
Given the creative minds and the vast ingenuity present in the nation, I know someone can connect the dots that mark the presence of a variety of seemingly very different national and international challenges facing us today.
So, what if. . .
. . .someone had the courage to lead us in a national movement to replace every drop of off-shore and imported oil with new energy, made in America and increasingly renewable as a percentage of the whole, over the next 15-20 years?
. . .national policy awarded tax credits that could be used immediately or held in reserve to be used during a 10-15 year cycle at the point of greatest need from an investors/tax payers perspective in exchange for investment in domestic solar, geo-thermal, natural gas and wind energy?
. . .homeowners who switched to solar panels, designed to produce higher levels of kw hours more efficiently, could receive tax incentives to invest in such efforts? Or, what if larger solar companies offered home installation on a "rental" basis much like cable TV so that they would be affordable to consumers now?
. . .large, urban skyscrapers and any other sort of business buildings could invest in solar and/or wind energy systems with the understanding that energy cost reduction could repay the financing necessary to invest in such systems through the savings achieved and thanks to tax credits issued to such corporations and to the banks engaged in this community lending? And, while we're at it, add in the bank's ability to satisfy its CRA requirements in the process.
. . .state and federal taxes placed on oil fuel consumption could be set aside for transmission infrastructure development to harness and deliver electricity produced by solar, wind, geo-thermal sources of alternative, domestic energy?
. . .public schools, including special focus magnets and charter schools, began to invest in very specific training programs to equip young workers to enter the effort to refit our national energy system in the ways suggested here?
. . .such educational programs involved actual hands on training focused in inner city communities both in terms of installation and service of new technologies and recruitment and training for the newly equipped labor force?
. . .public incentives to our major research universities drove forward the technical advancement of alternative energy production processes and hardware?
. . .work returned to our urban neighborhoods because that's what we intended to be an outcome?
. . .students had a real reason to stay in school in view of the living wage jobs that awaited them at the end of their training both for non-college/trade students and college graduates?
. . .the need for urban employment training and real jobs intersected our national need for new sources of clean, renewable energy and connected with our growing need to disconnect from so much foreign oil and from oil markets controlled by those who seek us harm?
Surely there is a way. I know that in every crisis, like the one unfolding each morning before our eyes in the Gulf of Mexico, there is an opportunity to strike out in a new direction. If someone could just connect the dots, mobilize national will and provide authentic leadership, we might create new hope for millions and a higher quality of life for everyone.
We need a national strategy for the renewal of the American economy for folks at or near the bottom of the economic ladder. What if we came together up and down that ladder to solve two enormous national problems that resulted in a stronger, more diverse economy, a cleaner environment and a more united and secure nation and world?
No doubt, what I'm suggesting will take a comprehensive, large scale effort and an even larger national commitment. I'm not sure we can decide not to do something on such a scale, not if we want to ensure the health and future of the nation.
Maybe it's just me, but I can't seem to get those dots out of my mind.
On a related note, here's just one encouraging quote from a Dallas Morning News report: on the alternative energy conference held here in Dallas this past weekend:
"A study released this week by the Perryman Group suggests the CREZ project would create 41,000 jobs and $30.6 billion in economic activity when completed. The new wind power would cut carbon dioxide emissions 16 percent, cut nitrous oxide emissions 12 percent and save 17 billion gallons of water a year that would cool other power plants."
Click here to the entire report.