Sunday, February 28, 2010

Senate: Clean Energy Jobs Bill

Question during the Great Depression: Brother, can you spare a dime? Question during the current recession: Senator, do you have a spine?

A popular song from the era of the Great Depression is entitled "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?". It's a sad song about the people who helped build our nation's railroads and skyscrapers. These people also fought for our country in World War I to provide national security for their families. Suddenly, they found themselves out of work, bankrupt and abandoned - waiting in bread lines and at soup kitchens for food.

We are not in such dire straits, at least not yet. The people of our country certainly do not want to plunge from a recession into a depression. Government officials would agree in words, but are falling short in deeds. It will take much more than bailouts and recovery money.

In addition to an economic crisis, we are confronted at the same time with an energy crisis, an environmental crisis, and a national security crisis. The U.S. Senate can tackle these crises by enacting a clean energy bill that will spark innovation, create new jobs and provide energy security as well as help clean up our air and sustain our environment. This will require courage and the will to act. So we ask the question, Senator, do you have a spine?

Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican representing South Carolina, has a spine! He said, “We are more dependent on foreign oil today than after 9/11. That is political malpractice, and every member of Congress is responsible.” He proposes putting a price on carbon, starting with a carbon tax, in order to move industries to invest in new clean energy products and consumers to buy them. “Cap-and-trade as we know it is dead, but the issue of cleaning up the air and energy independence should not die — and you will never have energy independence without pricing carbon”, he stated in an Op-Ed by Thomas Friedman in today's NY Times. Graham is now working on a new clean energy bill along with Democrat John Kerry and Independent Joseph Lieberman.

Write to your Senators and ask -- when it comes to enacting legislation in support of clean energy, a sustainable environment, new jobs, energy independence and national security -- Senator, do you have a spine?

If our government does not act, what does our future hold... another depression? Most people alive today did not live through the Great Depression, and so have little idea what it was really like. Yip Harburg did. To get a feeling what it was like, listen to some of Harburg's thoughts about the Great Depression, as well as his 1932 song "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?", via NPR online.

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