Sunday, April 19, 2015

A "BFD" For Hillary

Now that she's officially a candidate, and part of the debate about the future direction of this country, it's time for Hillary Clinton to start talking about what her BFD will be.

You may or may not remember those initials.  They related back to a time nearly five years ago, when we had a Democratic Congress as well as a Democratic President, and things that were good for the nation actually got done.  Obamacare, for example.  When its namesake President signed it into law, his loquacious Vice President, Joe Biden, told him that it was a "big f**king deal," or, as it was sometimes abbreviated, "BFD."  It has, of course, proved to be that politically but, happily, it has proved to be just that as a benefit for the American people.  Imagine, for a moment, what the Republicans would be saying if they had passed a bill that saved the American people half a trillion dollars over each of the next five years.  My guess is that they would be talking about it quite a lot. But, of course, not one of them voted for it.  So, instead, they are just quietly making peace with it. For their states, and for themselves.

Hillary's husband, of course, had his own BFD, with the help of his Vice President, Al Gore.  While Gore did not "invent" the Internet (a claim he never made, by the way), he did push legislation that transformed it from a system primarily used by government agencies into one that has become the dominant cultural and even economic medium of our era.  And the economic benefits of the Internet for everyone speak for themselves.

Bill Clinton and Barack Obama have thereby both put to rest the argument that government action on behalf of the economy only hurts us all.  Hillary should embrace this truth and build upon it as she begins her campaign.


I think that she should build on another one of Obama's BFDs--his expansion of alternative energy--and push forward in a number of areas.  For example, the building of coastal canals that draw sea water inland, and then desalinate it though plants powered by solar energy.  This would serve to combat rising sea waters, provide more drinkable water, and create new jobs all at once.  Nor is doing something like this particularly far-fetched long-term thinking; take a look here, here, and here.

Or she could use alternative energy to tackle another chronic problem:  aging and crumbling infrastructure.  What if Hillary backed a federal requirement that all bridge, road, and tunnel construction and renovation was funded by solar panels to be placed in the vicinity of each project, with the states and cities keeping most or even all of the revenues generated by the panels once the projects were paid for?

Or what if she proposed using solar panels in the same way to fund the building of a nationwide high-speed rail system, with private contractors supplying the actual trains (similar to the current arrangement we have for airports and airlines)?  This could create a real-world "Internet" in which people could travel across the county in hours or even minutes.  And the economic and energy benefits are tremendous as well.

So, there you are, Hillary.  Three potential BFDs.  Take one of them.  Take them all.  And go get 'em.

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