Time magazine is running a good article about how the Recovery and Reinvestment Act is improving America by investing in green technology. The article provides tons of interesting facts about how much money has been invested, is being invested, or will be invested in improving energy efficiency. This bit caught my eye:
The idea [behind the stimulus investments] is as old as land-grant colleges: to use tax dollars as an engine of innovation. It rejects free-market purism but also the old industrial-policy approach of dumping cash into a few favored firms.
Notice those last few words? This money will not simply be going to GE or AT&T or the usual suspects. Instead, it will be funding small businesses and start-ups.
Instead, the Recovery Act floods the zone, targeting a variety of energy problems and providing seed money for firms with a variety of potential solutions. The winners must attract private capital to match public dollars…and after competing for grants, they still must compete in the marketplace.
So instead of blindly funding mainly the big corporations, we are actually funding the companies who are newer or smaller. These companies do not have as much of a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. On the contrary, many of them would benefit from a greener, more technologically savvy United States of America. This is a welcome change indeed.
But the powerful Washington interests remain and we cannot be sure that the money will be invested as well as Vice President Biden (who oversees stimulus spending) says. With Citizens United and an increasing wealth gap, corporate interest groups are more powerful than ever. Help us fight them: http://fightwashingtoncorruption.com/?rc=homepage
Stunning Statistics of the Week:
- Amount candidates for state and federal office spent on ads for the November elections to date: $395 million
- Amount candidates for state and federal office spent on ads at this point in the 2006 midterms: $286 million
- Percentage of the ads this election season that have been negative: More than 50 percent
Downturn? What downturn?
Spending on political ads is expected to reach a record $4.2 billion this election season. You heard it right. That would be double what was spent two years ago during a presidential campaign year.
Patty Murray being attacked – but by whom?
Attack ads have started running against U.S. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) by something called the Committee for Truth in Politics. Trouble is, no one knows who is funding this group. (This underscores the need for the Senate to pass the DISCLOSE Act, which would require funders of ads to be named.) What we do know: The group is represented by James Bopp Jr., the anti-campaign finance reform attorney who was involved in the U.S. Supreme Court case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which resulted in the court giving corporations the right to spend unlimited amounts to influence elections case. Bopp has brought other lawsuits to try to overturn campaign finance laws.
Judge upholds most Maine rules governing PACs
A federal judge has upheld most of the state’s reporting requirements governing political action committees. The judge said that despite the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United, the state may regulate corporate political speech with disclosure laws. However, the judge said that some language in Maine’s rules is unconstitutionally vague.
A daily look at news from the Washington Post, New York Times and Wall Street Journal that caught our eye:
BP Oil Spill
- Behind scenes of oil spill, acrimony and stress (NYT)
- BP official questioned about who had final responsibility in drilling work (WP)
- Spill Damage Claims Absent the Spill (WSJ)
- Hip implants are recalled by J&J unit (NYT)
- The wrong prescription for Medicare (WP)
- States press workers on health care (WSJ)
- J&J’s Latest Recall: Hip-Repair Implants (WSJ)
- Economic growth slowed by trade gap (WP)
- Administration backs utilities in climate case (WP)
- A Shaky Advance Led by Oil Money (WSJ)
- Credit reforms reach campuses (WP)
- Nod to national security concerns advances bill to protect whistleblowers (WP)