For the past year, the U.S. economy has suffered through a serious economic slowdown caused by the collapse of the housing market bubble, the destabilizing effects of the housing implosion on financial markets, and the sharp rise in oil prices. What’s more, most evidence suggests the slowdown will continue for at least another year, extending in exaggerated form an eight-year pattern of economic performance that has done little for most Americans.
To strengthen the economy and leave it in a better position for sustainable prosperity, a new report released by the Center for American Progress proposes a green economic recovery program that would spend $100 billion over two years in six green infrastructure investment areas. These are all areas that a previous Center for American Progress report, "Capturing the Energy Opportunity: Creating a Low-Carbon Economy," outlined as key to transitioning to a low-carbon economy to create new green jobs—particularly in the struggling construction and manufacturing sectors. These investments are also all central to securing America’s energy security and combating global warming. This $100 billion initiative would be part of a comprehensive low-carbon energy strategy and could be paid for with proceeds from auctions of carbon permits under a greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program. This fiscal expansion would create 2 million jobs through its investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy strategies.
A targeted $100 billion down payment on a better energy future implemented at a time when many sectors of the U.S. economy need a boost will provide significant returns now and for years to come. This responsible federal investment amid weak economic conditions and volatile energy and financial markets will lead to reduced oil consumption and spur our transition to a low-carbon economy, providing us with energy and environmental security. By frontloading much of the cost of this energy transformation we will realize these returns sooner, boost our economy at a critical time, and help spark other nations to follow our lead.
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