Saturday, February 9, 2013

A Propos the Snow

A propos the gigantic snow storm that blanketed the Northeat today, I received this testimony that was sent to a Friends group debating growth:

"I worked at Boeing for one week less than 20 years, first as a turret lathe operator and member of IAM Lodge 751, in Seattle and later Auburn. Stuck on second shift, after more than 5 years, I trained at Boeing and became a NC programmer in Auburn where I worked until Feb 1999 as a memeber of SPEEA.

I programmed milling machines for tooling needed to manufacture airplane parts.  I now think that the real security of our society and our world depends upon changing how we produce energy i.e. getting off fossil fuels, changing how we farm and refitting our building. There is a strong consensus of our scientists that this is necessary. We listened to our scientists when they said they could build a weapon to defeat Hitler and now we should listen to them again.

This is a huge project, and contrary to the current thinking in Washington (the biggest obstacle to human progress right now), this needs to be done with government spending on the scale that occurred during World War II. There is a research paper at the Institute for Policy Studies (I cannot get the link now while writing this e-mail in Mexico) entitled "Green Dividends". It explains how the government could move the money it now spends on weapons systems at large companies like Boeing, could move this money to projects that helps us get off of fossil fuels, so that no jobs are lost and the industrial part of the military-industrial complex becomes less dependent on military contracts and becomes part of the effort to prevent the worst effect of global climate change. There could be cost-plus contracts if they are closely regulated.
There was a time when I worked at Boeing that they were build a huge windmill in the building beside where I worked at Plant 2. Boeing engineers also developed solar panels that generated electricity from the infrared spectrum as well as the visible spectrum, but then sold the patent when the push for diversification ended. This probably happened during the Carter Administration.

I believe that preventing global climate change would be less expensive than trying to mitigate real climate chaos. If we do this right, we could have full employment for several generations. There are only two places the U.S. government can get the money to do this: from the superwealthy and the huge Pentagon budget. We did not hesitate to use very steep progressive taxation during World War II to fund our mobilization. We must do the same now. Climate change is the gathering existential threat of our time. We can use this crisis to develop the cooperation needed from the nations of the world to deal with the crisis.

John M Repp, West Seattle

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