It's far too early to predict how much change President-elect Barack Obama will bring into his new administration, but spotty floats certainly point toward same old-same old. But this is almost understandable so as to gain broad support and insure for a rational transition. Thus, the timing is ideal to suggest more visionary concepts as counterpoints to the seeming necessity of business as usual.
My very first HuffPo, entitled, Well, Barack, We have a Problem, drew 15 mostly supportive comments. Someday, the challenge of Global Warming and Peace on Earth could well become the greater legacy, but for this current state of urgency, I will focus on the combined problems at hand: the economy, the automobile industry and energy, introduced in my previous HuffPo, Buy American, Again.
The Wall Street rescue package is now known as the troubled assets relief program (TARP), which is further morphing into things unexpected. Detroit wants some of the $700 billion to help the Big Three, and recently, Phoenix, Philadelphia and Atlanta, representing cities, made a case to share in this largesse, arguing that public welfare makes the most sense, and mayors were at the ground level to immediately put people to work. Next, of course, the Terminator, weighing in to coordinate leadership among individual states, as California, in particular, is in terrible shape, only a step or two away from bankruptcy. It makes no sense to continue this strategy of charity.
So what's the simple solution? Certain magnificent obsessions can best become reality if the U.S. Senate convenes in 2009 with 60 senators, meaning no filibuster. With a looming visionary as the incoming POTUS (President of the United States), let us fantasize a bit.
In an inspired move supported by all, including the general populace, President Obama and our new Congress agree on the Economic Vitalization Edification (EVE) Act of 2009, endowing $2500 to each person living in the country (yes, maybe also illegal immigrants, but not tourists), with a stipulation that, if they purchase anything, it must be made in America. In addition, the legislation creates a Green Wall Street instrument, for now, called Wall-E, with the E, of course, representing a clean environment.
Wall-E would have a portfolio of incentives only for environmentally enhansive companies. Detroit's Big 3, for example, would need to spin off corporate entities (and this might well be one joint firm) focused on renewable energy powered vehicles. Yes, this all sounds awfully close to that lovable Waste Allocation Load Lifter Earth-class, WALL-E, and the love of his life, EVE (Extra-terrestrial Vegetation Evaluator), so maybe get Steve Jobs and Disney somehow involved in the marketing of the concept.
Simple Solutions for Planet Earth (see box on right), published last year, predicted that oil would drop to $50/barrel, and, unfortunately, all things sustainable will again be shelved. So, what happens? The Brent Spot Price last week made it down to $51/bbl. On cue, T. Boone Pickens has apparently, for now, abandoned his wind farm efforts, supposedly because credit is tight, but, let's face it, $50 oil significantly raises the risk factor, the deadly virus for renewable energy projects. There is little hope for $100/bbl oil until some time later next year or henceforth, but, while wise decision-makers this time will not be trapped into thinking all is now well, the critical timing factor is two months, for whatever the Obama transition team prioritizes could well sustain his administration for the full first term.
So, the next economic rescue package must transcend current unreality and focus on saving these Green programs because we all know that when the world financial crisis is overcome, oil prices will zoom past $100/bbl, perhaps even up to $200 in five years. If these sustainable energy projects die now, it will take many years for all of them to recover, way too late to meet the next sure thing energy crisis, again. Advocated is a new paradigm for this challenge, where each of us patriotically buys American and invests in Planet Earth, a true partnership of WALL-E, EVE, Barack and us.