It's been a week and a half since this headline: Aerospace industry to get $900M boost.
But I just can't stop thinking about it. Which believe me is a drag because my first ever film (Call of the Hummingbird) is debuting at Hot Docs in two weeks and that's what I should be thinking about.
But back to Harper. Here's the deal. I think he has accidentally demo-ed a way to direct say, at least $100 Billion of government and government-leveraged private dollars towards conservation and clean energy over the next five years without even disturbing a little hair on the pin-shaped head of balanced government spending. We probably need more than that but $100 billion would be a good start. No big new regulations (which we need). Not even the tax shifting (which we do also need.) Here's what we the people could do with our money.
Let's talk in round numbers. Apparently we Canadians have a billion dollars to subsidize aerospace because they will match that spending with three to four of their own dollars. The industry gets a bargain which motivates it to spend which spins benefits to the (gas-guzzling) economy which brings in more tax dollars. That's the plan right.
Except it sucks because the whole point behind giving the aerospace industry money (besides buying votes in Quebec) is to keep the military-industrial complex well-oiled and ready to roll into action. And that's only the beginning. Don't get me started.But the idea that government dollars can leverage private spending which ultimately gives a boost to the economy and tax revenues is actually solid when directed at the economic growth that won't choke us to death or make the weather mad.
I'm guessing, based on this announcement, that Harper's own subsidies to big oil and big industry amount to way more than $5 billion a year. (I mentioned, I'm busy, haven't done the research and that's why I'm blogging — I'm hoping there's someone out there who knows this number). And I think it's time we divert that money to the new economy that can carry us to sustainable. But even if it isn't that much money per year and even if we don't divert the dough away from the old nature-devouring industry, we Canadians have a Federal Budget surplus, a portion of which, if put to good economy- boosting use will be self-sustaining over the next five years.
Okay, I know you've been waiting a long time for me to get to the point. Here it is. A $5 billion per year granting body for clean energy and conservation. It could run like an arts council. The stipulation is that each proposal made to the fund must leverage at least four other private dollars and generate significant carbon savings. That would mean $100 Billion boost to the forces of new. May the best, most energy saving proposals win.
Hey Stephen Harper, let all us good guys be like the aerspace industry and boost the clean-air economy with our motivated spending creating yummy tax revenues and a less exhaust-ing world by 2012. It's really not that complicated. We can do it. And just so you know why 2012 is on my mind, here's the trailer for my film screening on Earth Day at Hot Docs.