September 30, 2008
Over the weekend, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman authored an opinion piece on why the federal government’s response to the financial crisis needs to be green. While the bursting economic bubbles of the past have been painful, the United States has at least been left with improved infrastructure. For example, the country has benefited from the railroads left behind after the railroad bust and the information superhighway left behind after the dot-com bust.
The banks and subprime lenders that profited from the subprime boom and are now suffering the bust have left no positive legacy for the nation. Their policies were based on deceptive financial practices rather than investment in infrastructure or innovation. Instead of railroads or the Internet, we are left with evictions.
Solutions to today's economic crisis should not be centered on giving more money to the corporations that have been working against our communities through predatory lending and evictions. Solutions should help our communities grow into more sustainable, healthy, and vibrant places to live. Investing in the green economy will do just that.
Friedman writes, "We need the next president - this one is wasted - to launch an E.T., energy technology, revolution with the same urgency as this bailout…The exciting thing about the energy technology revolution is that it spans the whole economy - from green-collar construction jobs to high-tech solar panel designing jobs. It could lift so many boats."
Van Jones, president of Green for All, puts it well: "You can’t base a national economy on credit cards. But you can base it on solar panels, wind turbines, smart biofuels and a massive program to weatherize every building and home in America."
Join Jobs with Justice at tomorrow's rally to advocate money for Main Street, not Wall Street. Congressmen Lynch, Tierney, and Delahunt need to know that their votes against the bailout are not enough. They must actively support a green buildup. Even a fraction of $700 billion invested in the green economy would spur new employment, create healthier neighborhoods, and reduce energy and home heating costs. Bailing out the wrongdoers makes no sense; building up green solutions that will help communities does.