Global Stimulus and Economic Reconstruction

Stimulus for Today and Tomorrow:

Principles and Policy Ideas for the United States

by Kelly Sims Gallagher*

Principles 

  1. Do good
  2. Do no harm
  3. Achieve multiple social goals at once, as soon as possible, with down payments for the future

Below is a list of specific policy ideas that will be continually edited and updated in a dynamic fashion.  It is a living document.  If you have suggestions, please email them to sara.rosales@tufts.edu.

Public Procurement

  • Municipal, state, and federal electric vehicle purchases
  • Municipal, state, and federal heat pump purchases
  • Covid-19 testing kits
  • Ventilators
  • GHG emissions sensors, drones, and satellites

Industrial and Manufacturing Stimulus

  • Establishment of a U.S. Infrastructure and Industrial Investment Bank
    • Prioritized and concessional lending, grants, and loan guarantees to certain manufacturing/production industries (defined as high priority industries of the future)
      • Health care industries
        • Mask production, ventilators, etc.
      • Clean energy industries
        • Low-carbon energy supply technologies
        • All energy efficiency technologies and industries
        • Energy carriers for low-carbon resources, defined as (e.g., renewable natural gas)
        • Renewable gas projects
      • Recycling industries
      • Advanced manufacturing industries
    • Restricting lending to high-carbon industries
  • Tax credits for high priority industries
  • Export promotion for high priority industries
    • Demonstration projects in developing countries (providing both aid and also demonstration of US technology)
    • Big boost in funding to U.S. Development Finance Corporation to support public health and green industries
  • Reporting requirement for any entity that receives federal funding that includes:
    • Emissions for every source above X tons
    • Jobs created with federal dollars
    • Production data on a monthly basis
    • Export data on a monthly basis

Workforce Support and Development

  • Modeled after the GI Bill, provision of free tuition and expenses for existing public health workers and those who will commit to work in public health or climate change mitigation/adaptation/resilience after graduating
  • High priority industry scholarships for those who commit to work in these sectors
  • Vocational scholarships for programs in public health or aimed at installation of clean energy systems, engineering/social sciences/etc. to support clean energy
  • Training for a diverse body of personnel for jobs in the electric industry (e.g., crews)
  • Interest free federal loans for American students during recession.
  • Low- or no-interest loans for international students studying at American universities.
  • American Resilience Corps – Restart for afforestation, national park revitalization, public lands, sustainable agriculture, wetlands protection/preservation, wildfire prevention, coastal wetland restoration, and any projects that increase resilience to extreme weather events.
  • Infrastructure Modernization Corps – Establish for bridge repair, rail construction, public transit construction, transmission lines
  • Transitions Workforce Corps – Establish for coal mine closure and reclamation, fracking land reclamation, CO2 storage in abandoned oil and gas wells with CH4 recovery, geothermal demonstrations.  Funding for all these programs must be provided through appropriate agencies.

Farms and Food

  • Establish a Food Security Administration
    • Rural and urban poverty alleviation
    • Resilient, regenerative agriculture programs, particularly for family farms
      • Training
      • Subsidies

Research, Development, Demonstration

  • Vaccine development!
  • Low carbon energy and resiliency
    • Batteries for vehicles
    • Microgrids
    • Advanced solar
    • Onshore wind
    • Offshore wind
    • Renewable natural gas
    • Hydrogen
  • Graduate student scholarships for public health, medicine, low-carbon transition

Technology Deployment

  • New hospital and rural health clinic construction that is net zero emissions using smart systems to detect viruses and energy consumption
  • Cash for EVs (instant cash rebate for EV purchases for people turning in a conventional internal combustion engine car) that converts to fee-bate system after 1 year (fees on high-emitting vehicles, rebates for EVs)
  • Cash for households (either for new buildings or for retrofits of existing buildings) that install residential heat pumps, electric water heaters, and/or replace gas appliances with electric appliances (e.g., stoves, ovens, washer/dryers)
  • Rebate for residential solar thermal
  • Rebate for residential solar PV
  • Rebates for farmer or rancher-owned wind or solar
  • Investment tax credits for:
    • Community solar and wind
      • Allow establishment of community-owned renewable energy facilities
      • Department of Agriculture/RUS grants for rural co-operatives
    • Offshore wind [30% ITC is proposed in Offshore Wind Incentives for New Development (WIND) Act introduced by Senators Whitehouse, Langevin, and Markey]
    • Utility scale solar
  • Mobilization of clean and efficient building materials
    • National building codes for new and existing buildings to boost energy efficiency and aim for zero net energy buildings by 2030
      • Require retrofits within 18 months for existing buildings
        • Subsidies for the above to create near-term construction jobs
  • Trade liberalization
    • Public health products such as masks and ventilators
    • Efficient energy technologies
    • Batteries
    • Renewable energy technologies
      • Removal of solar tariffs
  • Planning grants for regional transportation systems and regional electricity transmission
  • Loans for high speed rail corridors
  • Grants for bike lane construction – federally subsidized (allows for physically-distant mobility)
  • Grants for net zero municipal buildings including libraries, schools, public security

Regulatory Reforms

  • Release of funding to states for providing monetary relief to low-income retail customers of electric and natural gas service in states that have adopted real-time pricing of retail electricity service to residential, commercial and industrial customers.  [Need to address both investor-owned utilities as well as munies, co-ops, special purpose utilities]
  • Planning grants to state energy offices and/or state public utility commissions to assess the ratemaking and other regulatory changes that are needed to transition to a low-carbon electric system, with a greater role for the electric sector in meeting the energy needs in the transportation sector, in buildings and in industry.

* The author would like to acknowledge important contributions from Sue Tierney of Analysis Group and Rachel Kyte, Dean of The Fletcher School. Read Professor Gallagher’s op-ed about the stimulus in The Hill here.


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