Longer Term Thinking

The U.S. was sick from a glut of personal greed.  We gobbled down the candy of high speed growth, and grabbed the goodies that dropped out of the piñata.  And we seemed shocked when the ones who sold us the candy ran off with their ill-gotten gains and left us standing around.  Nobody likes facing the music, overcoming the addiction,  or taking the medicine.  It certainly hasn’t been easy, but President Obama made us face the issues of housing and health care and energy.  We need to start taking a longer-term view of our families, our country, and our world.  People need to recognize that the only jobs the government actually makes are public sector jobs.  Public sector jobs increase the size of the government.

 

Among the things that have been accomplished through the millions of stimulus dollars pumped into the ARRA program, a million existing homes have been weatherized, saving home owners money and allowing them to meet their mortgage obligations and stay in their homes, saving the country a massive amount of energy, cutting out thousands of tons of carbon dioxide.

 

The thousands of people who have performed these weatherization projects have had jobs, been paid, learned new skills that will assist them in weatherizing the remaining 129 million existing homes.  Thousands of new, small companies with trained professional staff have blossomed all across the country to address this critical problem.

 

Suppliers have sold insulation, building materials, sophisticated tools, and software to provide effective energy savings.  Small innovative companies have developed exceptional training tools.  Education programs have flourished to add skills that will benefit all of us into the future, producing more energy efficient and comfortable homes.

 

Through VP Joe Biden’s Standard Work Specifications program we have developed a uniform and reasonable approach to meet challenges akin to preparing for battle in the second world war to reducing our dependence on foreign fuels and our full speed charge to increasing global temperatures.

 

The biggest source of energy that we have available to us is conserving the energy that we have.  Less fuel is needed to fill a tank that doesn’t have holes in it.  Plugging the holes is not sexy.  It’s not dramatic.  Your friends and neighbors won’t be thrilled when you drag them up through the attic hatch to show them your four feet of cellulose insulation, but just sucking down all the available oil reserves to satisfy our immediate needs is not going to be good for our children our children’s children or our children’s children’s children.

 

Although he recognized the unpopularity of a national health program, the president was courageous enough to finally recognize the health care dilemma and develop and push through a health plan that will help people without insurance get coverage and address the surging cost of health care.  As a Massachusetts resident, about a third of my operating costs are insurance costs.

 

Recovery growth has been slow, too slow for people out of work and losing their homes, but slow growth is solid growth.  Explosive growth is often a bubble, with no substance behind it. Making, selling and buying lots of stuff may be good for the economy in the short term, but closets fill up, storage facilities fill up, landfills and dumps fill up, and then what?   We need to change our thinking to a more sustainable mindset and that certainly is not popular with the making, selling, and buying state of mind.

 

Nobody likes the doctor or nurse that gives you the nasty medicine to swallow or sticks the needle in your arm.  Everybody loves that sweet relative that gives you whatever you want and doesn’t question whether or not it is good for you in the long run.  Our national greed and short term thinking made us sick.  We’re getting better, and I for one appreciate the doctor who is getting us there.

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