What exactly is the sound of growth and how is it achieved? With Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney, it's cut taxes, deregulate and drill. With President Obama it is increased loans and government interaction with the economy.
What exactly is our current state of potential job growth? Simply put it is the creation of jobs in the same sectors we have had for the last 100 years. Green technology jobs are an enigma at this point. Our current situation does not dictate long term growth however. With oil costs always fluctuating on the American market we simply cannot have a meaningful GDP or domestic spending growth, especially with our excessive deficits and debt.
According to a Department of Energy report from 2001; "Falling oil priced had a direct effect on economic growth." Therefore if short-term oil price decreases cause increases in GDP growth, long term growth would be dictated by falling oil prices and energy independence achieved by a green economy. Not only does our current path of growth ensure no meaningful growth it also means selling out our children's future and continued environmental degradation. We need long term growth stability through taxation and Green Tech growth.
As a political science student at Fredonia State, I have an idea that perhaps many would not agree with, but one that I firmly believe would ensure a new path to true prosperity. Raise transportation taxes from its current federal level of 18.4 cents per gallon to $3.50 per gallon. What would this do you ask?
We need to force a shift and in the short term we would see; Inflation, reduced discretionary spending domestically, reduced job growth and reduced GDP growth. As Americans we need to realize that we don't require a new pair of $150 jeans or to go out drinking four nights a week. Cutting back on very minor things and items, causes increases in necessity spending derived from higher costs at the pump from our new tax. With this new found revenue and mentality we could pay down personal debt, choose healthier food options and lifestyles.
The government, however, must change as well. They must reform the military, reform most social programs and reduce spending on foreign allies to start. For now let's get away from this and focus on our new revenue from our increased taxation. What we would have, in the short term, is less driving, less consuming, more revenue to our government, stable oil prices, high priced goods.
All of this doesn't sound too appealing to the masses. However there is nothing more "American" than ensuring long-term growth. Now assume that we have reformed government at this point; it has higher revenue which can be spent in required places without increasing loan amounts from domestic and foreign accounts.
Raising the gas prices has now effectively forced a demand for Green Technology. The Small Business Association (SBA) has seen an increase in the amounts of loan requests from Green Technologies. But with our increased revenue we can encourage loans and risks in order to ensure our growth. Assume we get 10,000 requests and only 1,000 become thriving businesses. They've paid back their loans and the other 9,000 are a loss to the government. But due to decreased consumption from higher prices, oil subsidies are no longer needed as they are slowly becoming nulled from our way of lives.
Oil subsidies end and we see another small spike at the pump. One must point out from a Forbes September 2011 article which states "The cost of solar is three times and wind is two times as much as natural gas." This is true but with advances in Green Tech this would drive the cost down. We seem to forget about the long-term cost of "fracking" and drilling which would almost assuredly cost more than this small spike.
With that newfound revenue we pay off any SBA loss and increase funding to the EPA in order to create a joint task force with the FDA and USDA on dumping, air quality, food quality and machinery and appliance rebate to further reduce long-term spending from health consequences. Short-term spending and cost directly decrease long term spending and cost after "peak-oil" and petro related health consequences and exploration costs are taken into account.
Assuming our plan is on track one must note that, we have lost jobs in the short term but our Green Tech startups are roaring. They are creating alternative fuels, working with manufacturers of goods and services to provide better solutions for pollutants caused from manufacturing. There will be an increase in alternative energies such as hydroelectric, wind, sun, geothermal and who knows what else. What we see is that these Green Techs would start to replace the jobs lost by our fundamental shift towards a truly green economy. Within 5-10 years we see meaningful job growth, a healthier public, a pay down of the debt, self-worth for Americans, environmental protection and a host of other rewards.
The Green Tech replacement would cost money, which we would have from our increase on gasoline prices. We wouldn't have to borrow our way out of anything, we would grow. The cost to replace aging tech with our new Green Tech would also cost man hours. We have those man hours, we're Americans and we're always looking for work. Let's work together figuratively and physically in order to ensure we don't sell our children out and we have something to give back to them.
Lower debt, stable commodity markets, relative peace in the Middle East, environmental protection and ensured long term growth are the best things we can give them. Not a hand me down car and a barrel of oil.
Matthew Bellittiere is an Eden resident.