Excerpt from Common Dreams, July 2019 “Warning Lights Are Flashing”
“The country’s economic foundation is fragile. A single shock could bring it all down,” Elizabeth Warren wrote recently. “And the Trump administration’s reckless behavior is increasing the odds of just such a shock.”
Among the potential triggers she laid out is the level of household debt. Warren referenced recent data showing that household debt is now $869 billion higher than the $12.68 trillion peak it hit in 2008. To remedy that, she cued up several of her already-released plans, including raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, canceling most student loan debts, offering free public higher education, and making child care affordable.
She also called on federal regulators to swiftly address the potential shock that lies in leveraged corporate lending. “Leveraged lending—lending to companies that are already seriously in debt—has jumped by 40 percent since Trump took office, spreading ‘systemic risk’ throughout our financial system,” wrote Warren.
Federal regulators, she wrote, should “enforce leveraged lending guidance that is intended to stop banks from issuing these risky loans in the first place.”
Warren also cited the current manufacturing recessions—a problem she said could be flipped by enacting her Green Manufacturing Plan.
Inoculating the economy from “potential shocks” also will happen by “strengthening critical American industries, instead of undercutting American companies” and eliminating the debt ceiling, she wrote.
A crisis could be averted, wrote Warren, “if we take bold action now to address the underlying problems in the economy.”
Warren’s new plan rollout came the same day as Democracy for America’s latest straw poll showed her closing in on Bernie Sanders’s lead among the progressive group. The Vermont senator notched just over 32 percent to Warren’s roughly 26 percent, both well ahead of third place Kamala Harris’s 12 percent. The group’s previous survey in April showed Sanders as the frontrunner and with a 30-point lead over Warren.
June 04, 2019 by Common Dreams, Warren’s New $2 Trillion Green Manufacturing Plan Welcomed as ‘Win-Win’ for Climate and Workers: “With this plan, Elizabeth Warren is seizing the enormous opportunity that transitioning to 100 percent clean energy represents for people across the country.” by Jessica Corbett
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a 2020 presidential candidate, unveiled her broad “agenda of economic patriotism” in a post on Medium Tuesday. (Photo: Elizabeth Warren/Facebook)
As new polling showed Tuesday that public support for Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign has continued to rise as she’s introduced a series of ambitious policy proposals, the Democratic candidate unveiled a $2 trillion renewable energy and green manufacturing plan welcomed by climate campaigners as a boon for both the planet and U.S. workers.
“With this plan, Elizabeth Warren is seizing the enormous opportunity that transitioning to 100 percent clean energy represents for people across the country,” Greenpeace USA senior climate campaigner Jack Shapiro said in a statement. “The renewable energy economy is a win-win for our climate and communities, and should be at the core of any plan to create jobs and spur innovation.”
In a Medium post published Tuesday, Warren detailed her green manufacturing plan, which she described as “part of how I’ll implement my commitment to a Green New Deal” and just the first of several proposals under her new economic patriotism agenda.
Noting that “over the next decade, the expected market for clean energy technology in emerging economies alone is $23 trillion,” Warren wrote that she hopes to enable the United States to dominate that market by developing, manufacturing, and exporting “the technology the world needs to confront the existential threat of climate change.“
To achieve market dominance, she explained, the U.S. government would use revenue from her proposed Real Corporate Profits Tax to “invest $2 trillion over the next 10 years in green research, manufacturing, and exporting — linking American innovation directly to American jobs, and helping achieve the ambitious targets of the Green New Deal.”
Warren’s green manufacturing plan has three parts:
- The Green Apollo Program would commit “$400 billion in funding over the next 10 years for clean energy research and development — more than 10 times what we invested in the last 10 years.”
- The Green Industrial Mobilization would involve “a $1.5 trillion federal procurement commitment over the next 10 years to purchase American-made clean, renewable, and emission-free energy products for federal, state, and local use, and for export.”
- The Green Marshall Plan would include the creation of “a new federal office dedicated to selling American-made clean, renewable, and emission-free energy technology abroad and a $100 billion commitment to assisting countries to purchase and deploy this technology.”
“The climate crisis demands immediate and bold action,” Warren wrote, reiterating her support for a fair and just transition that’s called for in the Green New Deal resolution introduced in Congress earlier this year.
Referencing the World War II era, she added, “Like we have before, we should bank on American ingenuity and American workers to lead the global effort to face down this threat — and create more than a million good jobs here at home.”
The youth-led Sunrise Movement, in a series of tweets, said Warren’s plan “shows clearly that she understands the frame of the #GreenNewDeal, the lessons from our history it draws upon, and that she is committed to mobilizing the federal government towards the scale of its ambition if elected.”
In a statement, Tamara Toles O’Laughlin, the North America director for 350 Action, praised “the international focus of her plan, the acknowledgement of the United States’s disproportionate pollution, and the commitment to aiding underinvested countries that are already suffering from the climate crisis as a critical part of America’s responsibility to the world.”
The green manufacturing plan, according to Warren, is the first of many plans she intends to unveil in the coming weeks that fall under her broader “agenda of economic patriotism,” which she described as “using new and existing tools to defend and create quality American jobs and promote American industry.”
One of the other ways Warren would pursue this agenda is by creating a new federal agency, the Department of Economic Development, which would “replace the Commerce Department, subsume other agencies like the Small Business Administration and the Patent and Trademark Office, and include research and development programs, worker training programs, and export and trade authorities like the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.”
Warren outlined her vision of economic patriotism in a video posted on social media Tuesday:
Zach Carter, in a piece for HuffPost Tuesday, pointed out that Warren’s broad economic platform follows a series of “ambitious, meticulously detailed” plans on everything from breaking up big tech giants like Amazon and Google to forgiving student debt and establishing universal childcare. However, he argued, the economic platform that she discussed in Detroit Tuesday “is a little different.”
The Massachusetts Democrat’s economic agenda for the nation “retains Warren’s wonk-flair,” Carter wrote, “but the heart of her proposal is ideological rather than technical. Warren is making a crystal-clear statement of principles, and an equally plain break with the past 30 years of American trade policy―up to and including the presidency of Donald Trump.”
The presidential hopeful’s “astonishing plan for economic patriotism” was celebratedby Robert Kuttner, co-founder and co-editor of The American Prospect, as “in a class by itself, even for Warren.”
“Warren’s proposal does nothing less than turn inside out the globalist assumptions pursued by the past several administrations, Democrat and Republican alike,” Kuttner wrote Tuesday. “With this plan, Warren has begun an overdue debate that she deserves to win, both intellectually and politically. And she has demonstrated once again her potential as a powerful force against Donald Trump.”Our work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Feel free to republish and share widely.
Today I described my plan for economic patriotism. It’s a strategy for using all the tools of government to defend and create American jobs rather than continuing to cater to the interests of Wall Street and multinational corporations with no allegiance to America.
My Green Manufacturing Plan is the first example of economic patriotism in action, and part of how I’ll implement my commitment to a Green New Deal. With big and bold investments in American research, American industry, and American workers, we can lead the global effort to combat climate change — and create more than a million good jobs here at home.
In the late 1930s, America — and the world — faced an existential threat: Nazi aggression in Europe. The United States responded by mobilizing its industrial base to produce the technology the country and the world needed to face down this threat. Our investments in domestic manufacturing paid off for decades afterwards. New workers gained valuable new skills and manufacturing provided good middle-class jobs for millions of Americans.
In the 1960s, we faced a different kind of challenge: the space race. When President Kennedy declared that the United States would be the first nation to put a person on the moon, he knew we hadn’t yet developed every technological and industrial innovation necessary to achieve this goal. But his commitment spurred a decade of nationwide scientific and technological mobilization that delivered not just the lunar landing, but innovations that helped American workers and industry.
Today, climate change poses both an existential threat and a scientific challenge. We already see its effects — record floods, devastating wildfires, 100-year storms that happen every year — costing lives and billions of dollars in damage. The world’s leading experts agree that without aggressive action and serious technological innovation, climate change will cause incredible harm across the world.
This is truly a global problem. While much of the debate around the Green New Deal has focused on the path to aggressive reductions in domestic greenhouse gas emissions, the science is clear: even if we reduce America’s emissions so that they are net-zero by 2030, we will still fall far short of the reduction in global emissions needed to avert a climate crisis. To satisfy this global need, we need rapid innovation on par with the space race along with widespread domestic and international adoption of clean, renewable, and emission-free energy technology.
This is a challenge — but like the challenges America has faced before, it is also an opportunity.
Over the next decade, the expected market for clean energy technology in emerging economies alone is $23 trillion. America should dominate this new market. We have the creative researchers, the skilled workers, and the basic infrastructure to develop, manufacture, and export the technology the world needs to confront the existential threat of climate change.
Here’s my plan for that: Invest $2 trillion over the next ten years in green research, manufacturing, and exporting — linking American innovation directly to American jobs, and helping achieve the ambitious targets of the Green New Deal.
My plan has three elements:
- Green Apollo Program — a commitment to leading the world in developing and manufacturing the revolutionary clean energy technology the world will need, like the way we invested in innovative science to win the race to the moon. That means $400 billion in funding over the next ten years for clean energy research and development — more than ten times what we invested in the last ten years. It means the creation of a National Institutes of Clean Energy. And it means provisions to ensure that taxpayers capture some of the upside of their research investments and that our research dollars result in manufacturing in the United States, not offshore.
- Green Industrial Mobilization — acommitment to using the full power of the federal procurement process to spur innovation and create demand for American-made clean energy products, like how we mobilized our industrial base during World War II. That means a $1.5 trillion federal procurement commitment over the next ten years to purchase American-made clean, renewable, and emission-free energy products for federal, state, and local use, and for export. The United States is currently projected to spend roughly $1.5 trillion in the next ten years on defense procurement — a bloated number that’s far beyond what we need to keep ourselves safe. We should spend at least that much on purchasing American-made clean energy technology to address the climate crisis that threatens us all.
- Green Marshall Plan — a commitment to using all the tools in our diplomatic and economic arsenal to encourage other countries to purchase and deploy American-made clean energy technology. This includes a new federal office dedicated to selling American-made clean, renewable, and emission-free energy technology abroad and a $100 billion commitment to assisting countries to purchase and deploy this technology.
According to an independent economic analysis from Moody’s, my plan will meaningfully increase economic growth and create more than a million new jobs. It will help reverse the massive manufacturing job losses of the last two decades that have hurt middle-class families and hit Black workers and communities hardest — all while allowing America to lead the global effort to address climate change.
Green Apollo Project
America already leads the way in developing and producing certain types of clean energy, from wind to biofuel. I’ll build on that foundation with a $400 billion federal commitment over ten years to clean energy research and development — more than 10 times what we invested in clean energy R&D in the last ten years.
This funding would help create a new National Institutes of Clean Energy modeled after the National Institutes of Health. NIH has made dozens of breakthrough discoveries and provided incredible returns for the economy and for taxpayers. We should replicate that model, with dedicated institutes for clean energy research. And we should prioritize research that can be commercialized to help close the gap in hard-to-decarbonize sectors — such as aviation and shipping — and in areas otherwise underrepresented in the existing R&D portfolio, like long-duration grid storage.
This funding would also allow us to expand existing R&D programs with a strong track record of translating innovation into production, like the Energy Department’s ARPA-E program, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership, the Manufacturing USA network, the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Centers and Industry/University Cooperative Research Centers, the Agriculture Research Service and National Institute of Food and Agriculture grant program at the Department of Agriculture, and the Small Business Innovation Research and Technology Transfer programs.
Federal R&D investments boost the economy, but we can structure our future research investments so they create more American jobs and produce even better returns for taxpayers. As I’ve explained in more detail in my economic patriotism plan, all new federal R&D should require production resulting from that R&D to take place in the United States and allow taxpayers to capture some of the upside if companies hit it big on the back of taxpayer-funded R&D. And we can ensure our R&D investments spur economic development in every part of the country — not just the coasts — by sending money to consortiums of land grant universities, to targets situated in rural areas, and to areas that have seen the worst job losses in recent years.
Green Industrial Mobilization
Research shows that when governments decide to make big purchases in certain areas, they can help create the kind of sustained economic demand that promotes innovation and launches entire industries. The federal government’s World War II-era commitment to purchasing military items led to an enormous surge in American manufacturing capacity and set the stage for decades of sustained economic growth.
My plan makes a massive $1.5 trillion commitment to federal procurement of clean, green, American products over the next ten years. At $150 billion a year, that represents a 30% increase in total annual procurement.This will create immediate demand, spurring innovation and investment in the American clean energy sector.
The federal procurement commitment will cover a broad spectrum of products, from zero-emission vehicles to energy storage technology to heat pumps to energy efficient light bulbs. It will also include bulk purchases to provide American-made clean energy products to state and local governments at discounted rates.
We can use the power of federal procurement in other ways as well. We should require all new federal government contracts for manufactured goods to have received relevant energy-efficiency, environmental-preference, and/or safety designations. And we should require new grants issued by the Department of Transportation and other agencies for infrastructure to include sustainability requirements both for finished goods and for construction materials — similar to California’s 2017 “Buy Clean” law.
To ensure that this commitment creates good American jobs, it will require that all manufactured products are made in the United States, and that all companies that receive federal contracts, at a minimum:
- Pay all employees at least $15 per hour, subject to adjustments for inflation;
- Guarantee employees at least 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave;
- Maintain fair scheduling practices; and
- Ensure that employees may exercise collective bargaining rights, such as by posting notices of collective bargaining rights and maintaining complete neutrality with regard to union organizing.
With a commitment of this size, we must ensure that we use taxpayer dollars as efficiently as possible. That means we should follow procurement best practices: competitive selection; tight cost controls; strong whistleblower protection standards and records retention requirements; and rigorous transparency rules, including audited financial statements and a broad application of federal open records law. To enforce these measures, we will establish an oversight board with the ability to terminate contracts, issue subpoenas, and refer parties that engage in fraud to federal authorities.
This federal procurement commitment will revolutionize clean energy production in the United States, help bring down federal, state, and local government emissions, and give the federal government access to the clean energy technology it needs for the third part of my proposal: the Green Marshall Plan.
Green Marshall Plan
Under the original Marshall Plan, America helped European countries rebuild after World War II because we knew it would benefit America’s interests and provide a long-term return on our investments. We have a similar opportunity to exercise global leadership and serve our own interests today.
To meet the emissions goals in the Green New Deal and the Paris Agreement — and avoid the most devastating effects of climate change — global greenhouse gas emissions would need to reach net-zero by roughly 2050. To stay on that course, we must cut projected global emissions by more than half by 2030.
Even if the United States reaches net-zero emissions by 2030, that will only cut global emissions by about 6 gigatons (Gt) — still 30 Gt short of the target. We need other countries to slash their emissions, and that means we need to supply the world with clean energy products (at low enough prices to displace dirty alternatives) to put us on the right path.
That’s why I’m proposing a new federal program — backed with $100 billion in funding — dedicated to working with foreign governments and companies so they purchase and deploy American-made clean, renewable, and emission-free energy technology.
The United States spends about $5 billion annually to subsidize arms sales abroad, making it easier for partners and allies to buy our weapons. I’ve been a loud critic of how these policies prioritize the interests of giant defense contractors, particularly in the case of weapons sales to Saudi Arabia. Surely the effort to find foreign governments to buy the American-made technology they need to combat climate change should take priority over finding foreign markets for bombs and tanks. It’s time for us to apply these tools to help address our climate crisis by accelerating foreign purchases of American-made clean energy products.
Here’s how it would work. A new federal office would work with foreign governments to arrange purchases of American-made clean, renewable, and emission-free energy products. The federal government would secure the agreements and then purchase the required technology from American manufacturers. The office would use its annual $10 billion budget to offer various financing options to foreign purchasers to encourage more purchases. And the office would offer discounts and other incentives to countries hardest hit by the climate crisis, or in exchange for countries making regulatory changes that will further reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.
As part of our commitment to addressing the climate crisis, we should end all American support for international oil and gas projects through the Export-Import Bank and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. We should also commit to using America’s voting power in the World Bank and other global financial institutions to cut off investment in fossil fuel projects and to direct that investment into clean energy projects instead. Our efforts should be dedicated to accelerating the global transition to clean energy.
The Green New Deal commits us to a “fair and just transition for all communities and workers,” and that requires us to recognize that climate change doesn’t affect every community equally. Here at home, lower-income communities, communities of color, and Indigenous nations have often borne the brunt of climate change and other environmental harms. At the same time, communities dependent on fossil fuel extraction for economic stability worry about what transitioning to clean and renewable technology will mean for their jobs. And globally, wealthy industrialized nations have disproportionately benefited from fossil fuel use and are better equipped to weather the effects of a changing climate, while other countries disproportionately suffer the impacts.
Our response to the climate crisis must take these disparate experiencesinto account. That means prioritizing resources for frontline and disadvantaged communities that have been polluted and left behind by the fossil fuel economy. It means creating truly participatory and democratic processes, centered on and led by those living on the front lines of climate change, who know best what their communities need. And it means that abroad the United States must not only help countries to adapt and become more resilient to climate impacts, but must also help to reduce the structural inequalities that make them so vulnerable in the first place.
A truly just transition must also include benefits to uplift and empower workers who may be hurt by the transition to a more green economy, including those currently employed in the fossil fuel industry. That means providing them with financial security — including early retirement benefits — job training, union protections, and benefits where appropriate, and guaranteeing wage and benefit parity for affected workers.
Climate change is exacerbating inequality and injustice at home and abroad. But just, equitable and ambitious climate action, like a Green New Deal, can empower working families, impacted communities and developing nations in a more fair and sustainable economy.
If people claim we can’t afford to combat climate change, they’re wrong. According to the independent Moody’s analysis of my plan, nearly its entire cost is covered by my Real Corporate Profits Tax — a tax that ensures that the very largest and most profitable American corporations don’t pay zero corporate income tax — ending federal oil and gas subsidies, and closing corporate tax loopholes that promote moving good jobs overseas.
The climate crisis demands immediate and bold action. Like we have before, we should bank on American ingenuity and American workers to lead the global effort to face down this threat — and create more than a million good jobs here at home.