Perhaps the point is not that they need fresh energy policy ideas, but more to demonstrate their inclusiveness and openness to all viewpoints. Or is it? Maybe, just maybe, they really do want to hear some fresh energy policy ideas, as the looming economic abyss threatens to put all their best plans on hold. Now I don't want to be too cynical, because it would be nice if they really are open to new ideas. But think about it: with trillions going to the current bank bailout, and who knows how many other bailouts lined up behind that, how are they going to afford the $150 billion they plan to invest in the renewable energy industry? Further, since the current economic meltdown was precipitated in part by skyrocketing energy prices, can they really risk making matters worse by instituting a cap-and-trade carbon "tax" that would only make energy even more expensive? Will there even be any windfall profits to fuel this agenda -- as they hope -- if the economy is on a respirator?
Perhaps the smartest players in the transition are thinking, hey, maybe we need a plan B, something cheap, effective, but not economic suicide, and honestly wondering if anyone has any bright ideas.
Here is what I suggested:
Dear John Podesta, Heather Zichal & Carol Browner:
Thank you for sincerely seeking new ideas from outside the fold. Since you ask, I'd be happy to suggest a low cost but ambitious solution to many problems, one that you may not have considered.
All the biggest problems we face (the economy, jobs, the auto industry, oil dependency, global warming, the Iraq War) have at least one common solution, and almost nobody has figured it out yet:
MAKE ALL GREEN ENERGY TECHNOLOGY 100% TAX FREE.
It is that simple. We don't have to spend money, or hike taxes. Bailout or bankruptcy are NOT the only options for Detroit. We can create millions of new jobs and fix the environment/economy/auto industry/oil dependency with a smart, green tax cut. No sales or income tax on revenue from clean, renewable energy or technology (like plug-in, flex-fuel hybrids) that radically decrease oil consumption. No tax on the interest on loans for green energy investments. No capital gains tax on companies' stocks and dividends in proportion to the percentage of their revenue that comes from green energy technology. That simple policy will supercharge private investment in clean and renewable energy technologies... on the order of $300 billion per year, or more. That will create millions of new jobs fast -- many more than you could create by federal spending alone. That includes billions of new investment in the US auto industry, as investors see a greener path towards an increasingly tax-free auto industry. Further, it will encourage oil, coal companies and utilities to voluntarily go green, in order to escape taxes. A carrot frequently works better than a stick.
Slashing taxes on green energy will directly lower the cost of green energy, but also lower the cost of ALL energy. Economic law states that increased supply results in decreased price. So new green energy investment will increase the total energy supply, decreasing the price of all energy, including oil and coal. Increased energy diversification and competition will create a permanent downward pressure on energy prices. Cheap energy will in turn stimulate every other sector of the economy, creating millions of non-energy jobs as well. By contrast, a carbon tax, or cap-and-trade, would raise the cost of energy, crippling the economy, and putting more people out of work.
Take note: NO FEDERAL SPENDING IS REQUIRED. Further, any tax revenue reduction will be minimal initially -- since green energy is now just a small part of the economy -- and as it grows, revenues will grow from green energy payroll taxes and other sources. A focussed tax cut on this one sector of the economy can lift all others by keeping the price of energy low for all, and producing massive domestic employment. A tax cut here will produce a massive tax revenue surge from the rest of the economy. Tax freedom for green energy will make the US the world leader in green energy investment in President Obama's first term -- in fact, most world green energy investment will go through the US for the tax advantage.
So forget the $150 billion federal "investment" over 10 years -- that is PEANUTS compared to what is really needed here and now, and what the private sector can do if you make green energy technology tax free. And please forget the stupid cap-and-trade proposal that does not really work and will only raise the price of energy, and further depress the economy. Tax freedom for green energy technology provides the same tax differential as a carbon tax, with the same incentive to shift green, but will stimulate rather than depress the whole economy by pushing energy prices lower.
(Oddly enough, tax-free green energy is logically the double-negative of a carbon tax: the no-carbon tax cut. Similar but diametrical concept, superior result.)
A 100% tax cut for renewable, clean energy technologies, vehicles and infrastructure is the cheapest and most effective stimulus you could provide right now for our struggling economy in general, and for financing a green revitalization of the auto industry in particular. And it is the absolute best and fastest way to achieve your goal of creating a clean, green economy, and creating millions of new jobs.
Let's see if anyone is listening.
Oh, by the way: YOU, FRIENDLY READER, CAN HELP. Please email the link to this page (http://tinyurl.com/5g83bx) to your friends, family and elected representatives -- and let's not forget the Obama Transition Team! To anyone who might be interested, tell them, please, to take a look at the idea and the link, that Tax Free Green Energy is the best way to save the economy and the planet at the same time, and that we prefer our energy cheap, green and tax free. Then ask them, please, to feel free to raise questions or comment, and pass it on.
Maybe somebody will eventually tell the President.
We can do it. Yes we can!