Posted by Seth Michaels to AFL-CIO NOW
With wages declining and unemployment rising, working families are having a hard time making ends meet—and the worsening economy, made more painful by rising energy costs, has become a top concern in the 2008 elections.
In town hall meetings in Ohio, Michigan and Indiana this week, Sen. Barack Obama is discussing how rising energy costs are squeezing the budgets of working families—and how building a new energy economy can help turn the country around.
At a town hall in Youngstown, Ohio, yesterday, Obama laid out how his proposals would create new energy and new jobs.
I know that over the past eight years, you’ve lost more 236,000 manufacturing jobs in this state. But I also know that Ohio has the second highest potential of all 50 states to create new wind energy manufacturing jobs—and investing in wind power could increase workers’ wages in Ohio by more than $3.5 billion through the year 2020. I also know that with the right investments, this state could save $24 billion a year that you spend importing energy, and instead, power two million homes using wind power.
… these goals are possible…and necessary, if we want our families to thrive again—to have good jobs with good wages that let them get ahead again.
As we’ve reported before, investing in the energy economy has a ripple effect, creating new jobs and lowering energy costs while boosting jobs. The AFL-CIO Executive Council strongly supports investing in new, clean energy and creating incentives for new green technologies.
The nation stands at the crossroads of opportunity for domestic investments in innovation, new technology and energy efficiency that will save jobs, create new jobs and new industries and revitalize American manufacturing. There is no guarantee that these will be good jobs or that the investments will be made here unless we fight to make it so.
Obama recognizes this opportunity. His campaign has released a comprehensive, detailed New Energy for America plan (PDF) that combines immediate relief for families with long-term investments in a new energy economy that could create millions of green jobs.
Sen. John McCain, however, is proposing solutions that help his real constituents—Big Oil. His corporate tax cut plans would give the top five oil companies nearly $4 billion, and his energy policy proposals reflect the fact his campaign is staffed and funded by oil-industry lobbyists. McCain has skipped votes on important energy legislation.
Investigations by Talking Points Memo and others have revealed disturbing patterns in McCain’s contributions from Big Oil. Hess executives offered $285,000 to McCain and the Republican Party at a June fundraiser, shortly before a speech in which McCain said that offshore drilling would be at the center of his energy policy. And, as we’ve noted previously, a flood of Big Oil contributions followed that speech. The oil industry gave McCain more than $1 million in June alone. No wonder McCain’s energy plan benefits oil companies, not working families.
McCain’s cozy ties with Big Oil are a big contrast to Obama’s energy plan, a comprehensive set of proposals that will give relief to families, create new jobs and help move our economy forward.
Paid for by the AFL-CIO Committee on Political Education Political Contributions Committee, www.aflcio.org, and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.