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The political and practical necessity for bold action … not tactical retreat

February 23rd, 2010 · 2 Comments

The Obama Administration seems to be pulling back, on front after front, in the face of economic challenges, sobering poll numbers, and steadfast Republican obstinacy. Whether on health care, jobs promoting legislation, EPA regulation of pollutants, and/or energy/climate policy, the political powers that be within the Obama White House have determined that ‘tactical retreats’ toward even more incremental policy concepts is the path forward in an illusive search for bipartisanship policy making with an elusive (and recalcitrant) Republican minority. Watering down already weakened (and inadequate) policy constructs and approaches is path toward increased problems, rather than solutions, on political, economic, and climate terms. Rather than retreat toward ever weaker policy concepts, President Obama would well serve the nation through a step back to consider the totality of the environment with then a strong and aggressive step forward with stronger proposals to seize the huge opportunities that lie before use with real solutions to our jobs, economic, health care, energy, and climate challenges.

When it comes to health care, in brief, the Administration is putting forward a weakened health care proposal that simply ignores the most sensible path forward on economic competitiveness and health care effectiveness terms (single-payer) and abandons any meaningful move forward toward an improved health care system with serious public option opportunities for all Americans (whether employed by government, in large or small firms, self-employed, or otherwise). Not only would a serious “public option” option help provide more cost effective and higher-quality health care, it is a move that the majority of the American public supports and passage of such legislation would represent front-page headline “Change” to demonstrate Obama Administration and Democratic Party-dominated Congressional leadership to change Americans’ lives for the better even in the face of a Republican Party stuck on “No”. Thus, the right thing to do on moral and economic grounds is also the right move politically. Win, win, win …

When it comes to our energy and climate challenges, the latest news is that President Obama will, Wednesday, put before business leaders a set of watered down concepts for energy and climate legislation that represents a Last-Ditch Attempt to Pass a ‘Hybrid’ Climate and Energy Bill.

The “strong” option, of four, reportedly abandons an economy-wide cap on carbon pollution emissions with a focus on transportation and electricity. While these represent the majority of US emissions, this might well (note that full proposals are not in hand) ignore the quite real pollution impacts due to land-use patterns and agriculture — and, perhaps, even more importantly the low-cost, high-payoff opportunities to improve agricultural production while reducing (significantly) pollution loads. And, well, there is a reason that “strong” is in quotation marks because this is likely to be a weak proposal in terms of proposed emissions reductions and, even more so, in terms of support for traditional fossil-fuel electricity production (especially polluting coal). From there, the options go downhill faster than Bode Miller. [Photo courtesy of Jon Wick.]

President Obama (and the huge pool of highly competent and knowledgeable energy/environmental appointees and staff) has a grasp of the seriousness of our climate disruption challenges, understands that there are those determined to misrepresent science, knows very well that other nations (such as the People’s Republic of China) are leaving us (the U.S.) behind in the 21st century clean-energy revolution, and knows that climate change mitigation offers huge economic opportunity even while providing an insurance policy against the (very real) potential for utter catastrophe.

Rather than retreating toward weakened policies, unilaterally compromising with huge subsidies for polluting industries, it is time to step back and come out with an aggressive Clean Energy Jobs set of proposals that will put millions of Americans back to work (rapidly), turn the economic situation around, set the stage for the United States to leap ahead in the economic engine that the clean-energy revolution represents while, oh by the way, drastically reducing U.S. carbon pollution faster and well beyond the levels for the next few decades proposed by any Congressional legislation. And, oh by the way, that reduced pollution feeds back into health care: lowering fossil-fuel pollution will lower health care costs as the burning of fossil fuel costs the United States (according to the National Academy of Sciences) more than $100 billion per year in additional health care costs.

To those unengaged in energy discussions, the previous paragraph might seem outlandish even though it is solid. We, the United States, can

Economic, jobs, energy, health, climate, political … win, win, win, win, win, win

President Obama has a choice. Right now the choice that his advisors seem to favor: retreating to lowest common denominator incrementalism that won’t solve America’s problems, that won’t truly set the stage for a more secure and prosperous future, and won’t seize the quite real opportunities before us (the U.S.). Another path exists, the choice to listen to Robin Williams’ sage advice: Carpe diem: Seize the Day.

UPDATE / NOTE: James K Galbraith from the other day We need jobs, not deficit cuts

The question facing world leaders today is not what to do. It is whether to do it. There are two goals to meet: full employment and sustainable energy. That’s technically complex. But the complexities are complexities of engineering, organisation and politics. They are not complexities of economics or finance.

President Obama should Seize the Day, seize the reins of leadership and challenge not just Congress, but all Americans, toward something better, to use multiple win opportunities to create a more prosperous and stronger America.

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Tags: architecture2030 · clean energy jobs · climate change · democrats · Energize America · Energy · energy efficiency · environmental · Global Warming · government energy policy · political symbols · politics · President Barack Obama

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Senator Jeff “Energy Smart” Merkley speaks out on economic value of environmental regulation // Feb 23, 2010 at 11:40 am

    […] Google Analytics _uacct = “UA-4876695-1”; urchinTracker(); ← The political and practical necessity for bold action … not tactical retreat […]

  • 2 jacksmith // Feb 23, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    We Want A Strong Government-Run Public Option NOW!!

    A LINE IN THE SAND – From jacksmith – WorkingClass

    Call your representatives and demand an answer. Do you or don’t you support a public option. Do you or don’t support democratic MAJORITY RULE! We DEMAND! to know.

    YOU! are dying and suffering needlessly every day

    Why we need Government-run universal healthcare ASSURANCE

    My Fellow Americans and People Of The World

    A strong Government-run MEDICARE like Public Option is STILL! CRITICAL!

    We have had a long hard struggle to find out what would be the BEST! that this congress and the Whitehouse could do to fix our highly dangerous, poor quality, most costly, and MOST! disgraceful healthcare delivery system in the world. It is clear that congress can do much more for the American people than what is proposed so far.

    It is clear that congress can pass a strong GOVERNMENT-run public option CHOICE. Available to everyone on day one. Expand Medicare and not levy any new taxes on workers healthcare benefits and plans. LET THIS BE YOUR LINE IN THE SAND!

    Lastly, there can be NO! INDIVIDUAL MANDATES without a strong Government-run MEDICARE like Public Option CHOICE. Or the American people WILL! and SHOULD! revolt with an all out CIVIL WAR against congress and this Government.

    House and Senate progressives and the tri-caucuses should aggressively push for the inclusion of a strong Public Option, Medicare expansion, and no new taxes on workers healthcare benefits and plans. If the obstructionist kill meaningful healthcare reform, then you should kill this bill. Because it will be far worse than the healthcare disaster we have now. It’s failure will be on the obstructionist heads. And they will be punished and replaced.


    What is proposed in the Senate bill is the worst case scenario for health-care reform. It would shift trillions of taxpayer, public and private dollars into the hands of the private insurance industry (The single most costly, deadly and dangerous product sold in America). And it would compel by law millions of Americans to financially support this oxymoronic criminal enterprise. You cant have a individual MANDATE WITHOUT A STRONG PUBLIC OPTION CHOICE!

    You will have NO! realistic way of controlling cost and quality. Cost will continue soaring through the roof bleeding the American people dry, and KILLing our economy. And our quality of healthcare will continue to decline below our current ranking of “WORST! quality of healthcare delivery in the developed World”.

    From the very start, the American people have been crystal clear about what they wanted. They wanted a humane single payer system like the rest of the developed world has (HR676). Or at least a humane strong GOVERNMENT-run public option CHOICE!! This is what the American people gave the democrats control of the house, control of the senate, and control of the Whitehouse to do.

    Those of you that can, should prepare now to remove every member of congress that fails to support YOUR healthcare reform with a strong Public Option, Medicare expansion, and no new taxes on workers healthcare benefits and plans. Run against them in teams if you have to. But take them out. And replace them with a strong single payer or PRO PUBLIC OPTION CHOICE candidate.

    Now! is the time to bring maximum pressure on your members of congress. Contact your representatives and spread the word.

    The Public Option


    I have to tell you now that the H1N1 virus is a man-made WEAPON OF MASS DESTRUCTION! and TERROR! It is a WEAPONIZED version of a flu virus. It has swept the planet infecting millions. And causing a global pandemic that has killed tens of thousands, and injured millions.

    The H1N1 virus is the product of the DISGRACEFUL, GREED DRIVEN PRIVATE FOR PROFIT MEDICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX! It was released in the U.S. in Texas in early January of last year, but not recognized until around April 2009 in California. The reason I know this is because when it came to America, it came to see me FIRST! How sweet…

    This was around the time the MEDICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX! assaulted the Whitehouse with all their devils deals to cripple and weaken YOUR! healthcare reform. Especially your right to have a single payer system like HR676 (Medicare For All) which most of you wanted.

    They don’t even want you to have your HUGE!!! compromise position of a strong government-run MEDICARE like Public Option CHOICE. To compete with their DISGRACEFUL, GREED DRIVEN, MURDEROUS, PRIVATE FOR PROFIT PRODUCT (The single most costly, deadly and dangerous product sold in America).

    They also wanted to take away your rights to have your government meet it’s responsibility to use it’s full power to regulate, negotiate, and control drug cost, healthcare cost and quality. Something every other civilized country in the developed World has done for it’s people. Their Greed! moral degeneracy and lack of patriotism knows no bounds.

    Many of you will remember that before we knew about H1N1. I posted a open message to the President and Congress warning them to be vigilant about their health, and cautious about any medical advice they received. As I said then “they will not hesitate to try and hurt you”.

    The U.S. and the World have been under a BIOLOGICAL TERROR ATTACK! for over a year now. It is CRITICAL that We The People Of The United States take away control of our healthcare system from the GREED DRIVEN MEDICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX!

    For our own National security, and the security of the world.

    A Strong, government-run, MEDICARE like Public Option CHOICE. Available to everyone on day one, with the full unfettered power of the federal government to regulate, negotiate, and control cost and quality. Would be the most workable way to deal with this global crisis at this time. Including patent suspensions as needed for national security or the greater good.

    As an American I invite the peoples of the World to help us fix our healthcare crisis. And bring pressure on our government to meet it’s responsibility to protect global security by controlling, and removing the corrupting influence of GREED and the PRIVATE FOR PROFIT motivations from healthcare in the U.S. and around the World.

    I call on the governments of the World and the global intelligence community to track down these MASS MURDERERS, and bring them to justice. CONNECT THE DOTS! And be vigilant that they don’t slip in another viral strain on you under the cloak of H1N1 sequestration.

    Further, the proposed patent protection on biologic’s must be stripped from the US bill. And greatly shorten/restricted, or abolished completely. This is a grave danger to humanity and global security.

    We must be strong and insist that healthcare reform be done right for the American people. Or everyone loose’s.

    This is all I can say in a message post. I’ll try to find a way to tell you more later.

    God Bless You My Fellow Human Beings

    jacksmith – Working Class

    p.s. The so-called nominal H1N1 virus is designed in such a way as to make it more lethal to children and young adults. The medical community must be more vigilant of secondary bacterial infections in the young caused by H1N1. And remember, a viral infection is also a transfer of genetic code to you. Think about it, and be vigilant. 🙁