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Now’s a good time to really build for the future

How many times have you told your kids, “Jump to it!” to encourage them with their responsibilities? How many times does the sergeant in the military tell his troop, “Jump to it!” to instill urgency? America is like that right now, we all need to “jump to it!”With two independent analyst companies predicting 155,000 new jobs being created every month in 2012, with unemployment approaching the lowest level since Bush left office, and with people getting the message of “Buy American,” is there a better opportunity for us, as Americans, to get on with our responsibilities? And just what are our responsibilities? More greed? More consumption? More loans? Nope, it is time to build a better tomorrow. Here’s what we need to do...Many (women especially) have taken themselves off the unemployment lists and returned to higher learning while this recession storm blows over. Pretty soon these people will be flooding back into the workforce bringing new skills, new energy to the American economy. Let’s make sure they have a productive (meaning producing something) career ahead of them. More beauticians, WalMarts or Starbucks are not America’s answer to a sustainable future. They need to create something, not merely service something. Yes, we need more nurses and financial managers, but we also need engineers and inventors if we are to keep America at the leader table of manufacturing worldwide. But most of all we need a plan, a public plan as a nation.In the 1800s, Great Britain was the world’s largest manufacturing country. In the 20th century we were. How did Britain and then American become the land of product, ingenuity and factories? They built up to it, gradually. They used education to provide the ideas, engineering and intelligent workforce. That educational investment started in Britain in the 1600s in earnest and in American in the 1800s. Then they took public money and built roads, rails, energy supply, communication (postal and telegraph) and then the telephone. Don’t underestimate the importance of any of these public programs of infrastructure. When GM complains of the corporate tax they have to pay, remind them that they are producing a product whose parts are supplied on public roads and rail, built by people educated on your tax dollar, they are buying energy from generating plants and electric grids provided by the taxpayer and, of course, they make a product that runs on public roads. Take away those public roads and highways and they would be making a complicated mechanical product that has nowhere to go. Henry Ford may have made America mobile with the Model T, but America gave him the roads and byways to make it all possible. We need to invest in the infrastructure of tomorrow. We need better roads, better rail, better communication, and especially better electrical connections and supply.And so we come to the next great infrastructure investment this country has to jump into... a report published by the CIA and the World Bank pointed out that America is bleeding about 25% of our wealth in energy costs paid overseas. The CIA sees this as a serious national security issue. The World Bank sees this as a serious cause of our recession propensity... meaning it’ll happen again and soon. Look, imagine if 25 percent of your take home pay was somehow lost by your bank. You’d soon go bust or become impoverished. That’s what we’re doing with energy. We buy so much oil and spend so much on parts made overseas (all of which takes energy which we finance with our purchase) that we’re bleeding our security away for no reason. Why no reason? It is simple. Right here in America we have three of the world’s greatest resources for free. Okay, we need to build machines, electrical and mechanical, to capture them, but they are free for the taking. Imagine if I told you there was gold in that hill out your window. If you were sure it was there, you’d buy the machines you need and go get it, wouldn’t you? Well, I’m telling you that the roof of your house can provide enough solar electricity to pay all your electric bills. Yes, you need to buy the machine to do it, but for at least 20 years you will have no electric bill. Now, imagine you are the government and you had control of 20,000 square miles of desert land that, if covered by solar panels (built in American, by Americans) would provide 50 percent of America’s electrical need and stop — in one blow — all the importation of oil which is bleeding our country. And the stupid thing is, we already have the technology and the trained workforce to make this happen within 4 years. Yes, just 4 years, if we decide as a nation to make it happen.And then there is wind energy... Mt. Washington has the highest sustained winds north of the equator. It is estimated that a wind farm there could produce 10 percent of New England’s manufacturing need. Then there are the Rockies, the Sierra Nevada (already well underway) and so on. If you knew there was wind for free to turn into cash, why wouldn’t you invest in it? And let’s not forget tidal power, powered by the moon, the 6 hourly change in massive amounts of energy, once captured by new inventions as a result of better education, could make America oil free within 50 years.I say why not? Why not “Jump To It America,” why not take this end of recession and invest in America’s future? A former Amenia Union resident, Peter Riva now resides in New Mexico.

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