While the Harper Conservative Government in Canada wastes time on partisan manoeuvres and even shuts down Parliament, the N.Y. Times reports that
President-elect Barack Obama promised Saturday to create the largest public works construction program since the inception of the interstate highway system a half century ago as he seeks to put together a plan to resuscitate the reeling economy.
Mr. Obama’s remarks showcased his ambition to expand the definition of traditional work programs for the middle class, like infrastructure projects to repair roads and bridges, to include new-era jobs in technology and so-called green jobs that reduce energy use and global warming emissions. “We need action — and action now,” Mr. Obama said in an address broadcast Saturday morning on radio and YouTube.
The green jobs would include various categories, including jobs dedicated to creating alternative fuels, windmills and solar panels; building energy efficient appliances, or installing fuel-efficient heating or cooling systems.
“We’ll measure progress by the reforms we make,” Mr. Obama said, “and the results we achieve by the jobs we create, by the energy we save, by whether America is more competitive in the world.”
The green jobs portion of the economic package could run as high as $100 billion over two years, according to an aide familiar with the discussions.
A blueprint for such spending can be found in a study financed by the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts and the Center for American Progress, a Washington research organization founded by John D. Podesta, who is a co-chairman of Mr. Obama’s transition team.Daniel J. Weiss, an environmental analyst at Mr. Podesta’s center, said Washington should invest more money in existing programs that create work while cutting energy use, like home weatherization programs that have been chronically underfinanced.