Spending Reduction Act of 2011 proposed by Republican Study Committee attacks job-creating, economy-improving cleantech categories.
There are probably a lot of things the U.S. government is wasting money on. Subsidies for fossil fuel companies, excessive spending on military weapons, crop subsidies, and corporate welfare are a few things that come to mind. However, spending on clean energy and public transportation pay off and these are not the areas where we need to cut government spending. I would say, on the contrary, this is where we need to increase spending.
However, the Republican Study Committee has taken aim at these categories in its "Spending Reduction Act of 2011."
As Dr. Joe Romm of Climate Progress states, "the conservative movement is hell-bent on forever ceding leadership in the most important job-creating industries of the next several decades."
Clean Energy Key to Economic Growth
The clean energy sector is an extremely fast-growing sector of the global economy. It has become clear in the past couple of years that this is the key category a country should focus on if it wants to lead the global economy. China has picked up on this and is now spending twice as much as the U.S. on clean energy technology. (Note: it is spending 1/6 as much on its military.)
U.S. a World-Leader in Clean Energy, but Could Lose Ground Fast
While $240 billion was invested in renewable energy and energy efficiency in 2010 (30% more than in 2009, double the 2006 amount, and almost 5 times the 2004 amount) and over 40% of global clean energy investment was in the U.S. in 2010, we could very quickly lose our lead if we drop our federal support for this industry.
In such a fast-growing industry, Kate Gordon of the Center for American Progress notes that "without continued investment across the technology innovation cycle—from invention at the federal labs and publicly sponsored universities, to public-private partnerships aimed at commercializing and licensing new technologies, to technical assistance to make our manufacturers the most advanced and efficient in the world—we will forfeit whatever leadership we have managed to gain." The Spending Reduction Act of 2011 would attack each of these critical areas.
Spending Reduction Act Doesn't Understand Clear Economic Benefit of Public Transportation
The proposal by House Republicans also attacks public transportation, a leading tool for improving the economy, creating jobs, efficiently transporting the U.S. population, and fighting important environmental problems that cost (or could cost) the country a true fortune.
Ironically, the Spending Reduction Act was released immediately after the 2010 Urban Mobility Report created by the Texas Transportation Institute, which shows that increasing road congestion is costing the nation $134 billion a year in lost productivity and without public transportation that would be much worse.
Additionally, for every $1 in public transportation investment, the U.S. sees a $4 return. "The Study Committee’s proposal is based on a misunderstanding of the difference between investment and spending," the American Public Transportation Association notes. "The proposed cuts to the New Starts program, grants for Intercity and High-Speed Rail and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority do not make economic sense. In fact, the Study Committee’s proposal seems to not use any credible studies at all to come to its conclusions."
Approximately 200,000 jobs are in threat in the public transportation and passenger rail sector from the proposed Spending Reduction Act.
Let's hope this creation of the Republican Study Committee, a job and economy killer, never gets enacted. And, be sure to contact your representatives in Congress to let them know how you feel about it.
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