Saturday, April 30, 2016

Fighting Climate Change With Bonds?

I've been interested for a long time in the idea that it's possible to solve political and social issues through the power of the markets  Of course, economic boycotts are one very time-honored, and effective, way of doing this.  Boycotting lettuce helped Cesar Chavez fight on behalf of produce pickers.  Boycotting the sale and purchase of Krugerrands helped to end apartheid in South Africa. And I suspect that the current rounds of boycotts against states that enact anti-LGBT laws will someday work as well.  Thank you, Bruce Springsteen.  And boy, does XHamster really know how to hit guys where it hurts.

But there are positive ways of doing essentially the same thing.  U.S. Savings Bonds are a good, traditional example; they have helped for decades to raise money for the defense of our nation   Now, the power of bonds may soon go to work against a different type of danger to our nation: climate change.

Take a look at Senator Barbara Boxer's efforts to enact a bill that would enable Americans to buy bonds that would raise money specifically for the fight against climate change.  It's a good idea; it enables people who care about the issue to take direct action against it.  And it does so in a way that allows people to target their money, and how much of it they want to spend, against the problem. One of the reasons Social Security has the level of support it has is the fact that it is supported by a dedicated tax (albeit one that ends up raising revenues to support Republican tax cuts).

Bravo, Senator Boxer.  Here's hoping your good idea cuts though the partisan chaos and becomes a reality.

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