There is so much that recommends a "green" stimulus over a simple, one-time payout to taxpayers  (the political solution) that only  adds to the deficit... A few simple notions after reading the excellent ideas by Michael Shellenberger, Dean Bakerand others...

* Productivity via efficiency:  We use X amount of energy to produce Z amount of economic activity. When the energy used to create a unit  of  economic output goes down -- ie: when equal production uses less energy -- the economic metrics (like GDP) give us a bonus on the productivity scale, which enhances the health of our economy. Wall Street loves 'increased productivity' (and more efficient energy usage beats increased pressure on workers to work more hours per week or work more intensely, other factors that can increase productivity).

* The "Refrigerator Plan":  In many homes, the refridgerator is the biggest user of electricity. A new, "Energy Star"-rated refrigerator uses a lot less energy than a fridge made in 1993 -- and all you do is unplug the old and plug in the new for instant efficiency gains. A stimulus package that offered some sort of rebate or subsidy for replacement of old fridges with new "Energy Star" models would not only make our economy more efficient almost overnight, but the average family would save money every month thereafter FOREVER, money which could be used otherwise to boost the economy in other ways. And if such a subsidy/rebate generated huge refrigerator sales in the near future, GE and other corporations might use their lobbying power to help it pass, since they stand to sell a lot more fridges as a result.

* Solar hot water heating: A stimulus package that subsidized installation of solar hot water heating systems would generate installation jobs (as others have pointed out). But it would also offer near-term and forever savings for American families and businesses. This technology is now well-refined, simple to install, and at current energy prices, offers a short (four or five year) payback -- think of it as a permanent stimulus. The savings to utility customers (all of us) is immediate and lasting, especially when you consider that hot water heating is a major part of overall home energy usage, month in and month out.

* Jobs jobs jobs: Compared to a dollar spent in the fossil-fuel market, a dollar invested in creating energy efficiency ('mining' current power generation that is wasted0 and renewable energy creates much more of an economic stimulus. Skeptical? Just click here.

Unfortunately, the Fortune 500 have a lock on Washington policy, and they are using that access and paid privilege to secure more corporate socialism (whereby their cost of doing business is subsidized by average taxpayers and consumers -- socialism is alive and well and living on Wall Street).

Originally posted to jonibgud on Sun Jan 27, 2008 at 04:14 AM PST.

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