Barack Obama has delivered a keynote speech in Virginia to introduce his economic stimulus package. He has outlined how he will create three million jobs in energy, education, healthcare and infrastructure.
A keystone to his ”American recovery and reinvestment plan’ includes major projects in green energy. Renewable energy sources will be doubled. Government buildings are to be renovated, and an efficiency drive will modernise two million homes. A new smart grid is also planned. These initiatives will create thousands of ‘green collar jobs’, and birth a major shift in energy. Details will emerge in due course, but at first glance it is not far from the ‘green new deal’ that campaigners have been hoping for.
Other measures announced in the speech included Obama’s promised tax cuts, which will be delivered in a $1,000 cut for 95% of families. There will also be a programme to computerise medical records, and to provide better broadband networks for rural areas. New and better equipped classrooms were also promised, along with an “unprecedented effort” to control unnecessary government spending. The financial markets will also see new regulation to prevent the crisis being repeated.
Obviously such a plan will be costly, something Obama acknowledged: “I understand that some might be skeptical of this plan. Our government has already spent a good deal of money, but we haven’t yet seen that translate into more jobs or higher incomes or renewed confidence.” But only radical action will prevent the country from sinking “deeper into a crisis that, at some point, we may not be able to reverse.”