Green Manufacturing Offers Health Benefits

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Green Manufacturing Offers Health Benefits

Both poverty and environmental pollution have many things in common. Both can lead to poor living conditions and ill-health. Green manufacturing jobs may be the solution. In the USA, there are not factories that produce complete solar and wind systems. Major components of solar panels and wind turbines can be assembled in the USA, but are made overseas. It seems sensible to launch a national initiative to boost domestic production in the face of job loss and miles of rusting factories.

This will require a huge retooling effort, as well as strong incentives for the green manufacturing to return to Uncle Sam. Our uncle appears to be on an overseas cruise right now. There are many LCD TVs made in Korea, Malaysia and China. These technologies were developed in the USA, and are now manufactured overseas for domestic distribution. We’ve even lost our last Levi’s jeans factory. Apple computer and Levis jeans are as Apple pie as they come! These companies can’t compete if they use domestic production. With a growing industry in solar and wind energy production, why not make it a priority to produce at home?

Step number one is tax breaks and low-interest loans. For small and medium-sized businesses to be eligible for federal loans, there is often a lot of paperwork. This area is critical and must be simplified.

Tax breaks alone are not enough. It is essential that the government works with industry to create enterprise zones with factories for producing solar panels and components. These products are in high demand due to this program and the installation of solar panels on every roof. In many cases, current subsidies have brought down the cost of solar installation in the home by 50%. However, it will be difficult for most people to come up with $15,000 per system. To make solar an affordable investment, the federal government and the state governments must bring this price down to $5,000.

This is an investment, not an entitlement. Wealth is created by rebuilding the domestic manufacturing base. We can create wealth by planting a seed and growing corn. To create wealth, the government can encourage industry to plant these seeds in domestic energy production. The combination of American steel and carbon fiber, as well as American ingenuity, can create the wealth of green products necessary to revitalize this economy, fight poverty and make our society more self-sufficient. You will see a decrease in the healthcare costs and pollution caused by poverty. The independence of solar energy from the aging national grid is another benefit to local solar energy production.

Wind farms cannot reach their full potential because of the power grid problem. Wind farms have difficulties transmitting power as they overload the power grid when they activate 100% of their turbines. The fragility of the grid also puts our national defense at risk by putting federal, state, local agencies at risk. It also destabilizes communities’ ability to recover from disasters like earthquakes, floods and fires. It is urgent that shovels be put in the ground for the power grid. The government appears to have a chance for quick job creation.

In the face of low wages and a lack of safety standards, domestic manufacturing appears impossible. Some countries offer healthcare coverage to workers, which is not available in the US. It is reasonable to limit imports from US factories that meet the same standards as their US counterparts.

Federally mandating employers to have insurance coverage is a good idea, but it’s not funded. It could lead to a decrease in US goods production. This approach has a problem in that healthcare coverage is tied to jobs. Healthcare costs can often lead to an industry moving overseas, reducing domestic jobs. If this could lead to jobs being moved offshore, why should we burden the manufacturing base by increasing healthcare costs? No jobs? This can lead to poverty, malnutrition and poor health.

One solution is to extend Medicare coverage to all US citizens. The industry will not be liable for healthcare costs. Big government can seem too frightening with its fears of huge tax increases associated with national health coverage. Perhaps the addition of competition could help lower healthcare costs. The federal government must remove anti-trust protections provided by insurance companies and provide a public option that offers competitive pricing. For a simplified and more efficient healthcare package, Congress is the best place to look. The lobbyists scored their first touchdown on this one. No matter what the political solution, until the nation pulls together to provide comprehensive healthcare coverage for all citizens of the United States without putting the burden on the manufacturing base, we won’t see the job creation necessary to propel this economy forward.

Green manufacturing is an excellent way to test our economic resilience. This will require the US to combine the expertise of US industry and universities with strong financial structures to support rebuilding domestic factories. Is it possible to replace oil with solar panels and wind turbines made in other countries? A sound domestic energy strategy is one that allows the US to generate its own power. This effort will reap the benefits of job creation, cleaner environments, and a healthier population.


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