Photo: AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin
Former-President Bill Clinton graces the cover of this week’s Newsweek, presenting his 14 ideas for improving the U.S. Economy. Clinton writes the economy needs more ideas that leave people thinking: “Wow, I wish I’d thought of that.”Some of Clinton’s ideas aren’t particularly novel — speed up approvals for new infrastructure projects, and increase investments in the green jobs sector, to name two. But they’re practical, affordable and can be implemented without too much political fuss.
Clinton argues the federal government should grant waivers to allow states to pursue infrastructure projects held up waiting for regulatory approval -- except 'when there are real environmental concerns.'
Clinton calls for the return of the cash-for-startups program, which allowed companies to convert tax credits for hiring new employees to cash. The program was ended by Congress at the end of last year.
Clinton highlights a recent retro-fit at the Empire State Building that not only created jobs, but also left the building more energy efficient. The $550 project saw the replacement of the building's chiller plant, a window replacement with more efficient windows, and the installation of faster and more efficient elevators.
'You get 7,000 jobs for every billion dollars in retrofitting,' Clinton says, advocating for utility companies to allow consumers to finance energy-efficiency projects through utility savings. A program in Arkansas allows companies to retrofit their own buildings, then help their employees make their homes more efficient -- all with utility savings.
Clinton wants to paint every black tar roof in the country white, which he says can lower electricity usage by 20% on a hot day. By reducing the amount of heat absorbed by flat roofs, Clinton says apartment building utility bills can drop 10-20%.
Contending that many job vacancies go unfilled because applicants do not possess the skills required, Clinton advocates for allowing employees to train on the job -- on the state government's dime. He says this would reduce the time between when jobs are advertised and when they are filled.
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