This looks like a good plan, albeit without a Job Guarantee and the nature of the jobs created seem biased toward males. However, it seems worth supporting. The letter and the proposal are as follows:


I hope you're as well as one can be these days!

Along with a small group of climate and social policy experts (many affiliated at some point with the Sanders, Inslee, and Warren campaigns), we have drafted a letter to the US Congress urging them to pass a Green Stimulus to rescue the economy. We're gathering signatures from friends and colleagues with expertise on these issues over the weekend and would love to have you be one of the initial signatories when it goes live on Monday.

Here is the letter. And if you would like to sign, you can do that here. Let me know what you think.

In the letter, we provide a rationale and a long list of policy options across 8 different policy domains. While most physical work can't start right away, now is the time to plan it, so it's shovel ready once it's healthy to get out there. 

More important, we believe that we need to do everything possible, right now, to get green stimulus policies that would tackle the climate emergency and inequalities at the same time into public debate, as well as the hands of congressional staffers, organizers, journalists, thought leaders, etc. No letter can do that alone. But as we've learned, in crises, you need to have good ideas lying around. It's not nearly enough, but it's a piece of the puzzle.

Please feel free to pass this along to others who you believe might help us advance these issues in the coming days. We'd only ask that you refrain from sharing anything publicly (even on listserves) until Monday at noon.

NOTE: We've made clear in the google form, and will make clear when we make the letter public, that institutional affiliations are for informational purposes only and do *not* constitute endorsement. Hopefully that makes it easier for some to sign.

My best,


A Just Green Stimulus to Rescue Our Economy 

***Click here to sign as endorser***

As a nation we face three converging crises: the COVID19 pandemic and the resulting economic recession; the climate emergency; and extreme inequality. 

Unemployment is rising at the fastest rate since the 2008 crash, and could eventually reach 20%—twice as high as the Great Recession. We need immediate and sustained intervention to protect people’s health and economic well-being, with a special focus on the most vulnerable. We must also begin planning our economic recovery in a way that protects us from the impact of climate change and lifts up workers and frontline communities. As many other groups are focused on preventing harm in an equitable way—which we fully support—this letter focuses on the longer term challenge of economic recovery. The question isn’t whether we need an economic stimulus, but what kind of stimulus should we pursue? In response we, climate and social policy experts in academia and civil society, have developed a menu of solutions that would collectively comprise a Green Stimulus.

The United States confronts the danger of an economic stimulus that restores—or even deepens—our reliance on fossil fuels. This danger comes from explicit proposals to bail out the fossil fuel sector and roll back workers’ rights, and also from generic general stimulus policies that do not explicitly accelerate a just transition to a modern, no-carbon economy. Indeed, infrastructure spending as usual—e.g. highway expansion—will lock in more carbon pollution for decades. We can avoid these problems by crafting a recovery that accelerates the creation of a 21st century green economy.

Thus, we propose an ambitious Green Stimulus of at least $2 trillion that creates millions of family-sustaining green jobs, lifts standards of living, accelerates a just transition off fossil fuels, ensures a controlling stake for the public in all private sector bailout plans, and helps make our society and economy stronger and more resilient in the face of pandemic, recession, and climate emergency in the years ahead. This stimulus should be automatically renewed annually at 4% of GDP per year (roughly $850 billion) until the economy is fully decarbonized and the unemployment rate is below 3.5%. A Green Stimulus would make short-term interventions, restructure political and economic power towards workers and communities, and build toward deep long-term change. 

Most of the physical work proposed here cannot begin immediately. We must focus on halting the spread of deadly illness. However, we can do all the preparatory work now to make green projects “shovel ready.” Right now, legislative action as well as planning work, done safely through online channels, including public debate and consultation, can ensure that physical projects can commence as soon as it is feasible to restart major in-person work across the economy. 

This preparatory phase must include building up capacity within existing federal, state, and local government agencies (and chartering new ones as necessary) to help manage the implementation phase of this stimulus. In the weeks ahead, the government will undoubtedly pass further stimulus measures. At every step of the way, we must push for that stimulus to be green.

Our proposal for a Green Stimulus is aligned with the “5 Principles for Just COVID-19 Relief and Stimulus,” as put forward by over 100 environmental, justice, labor, and movement organizations: (1) Health is the top priority, for all people, with no exceptions; (2) Provide economic relief directly to the people; (3) Rescue workers and communities, not corporate executives; (4) Make a down payment on a regenerative economy, while preventing future crises; and, (5) Protect our democratic process while protecting each other. 

Additionally, our proposal is grounded four key strategies, cutting across industrial sectors and bureaucratic domains:

  • Create millions of new family-sustaining, career-track green jobs in clean energy expansion, building retrofits and sustainable homebuilding, local food economies, public transit maintenance and operations, electric appliance and vehicle manufacturing, green infrastructure construction and management, and partnering with existing pre-approved  apprenticeship programs to bring more low-income and workers of color into good union jobs; 

  • Deliver strategic investments—like green housing retrofits, rooftop solar installation, electric bus deployment, rural broadband development, and other forms of economic diversification—to lift up and collaborate with frontline communities, including communities of color, Indigenous communities, low-income communities, communities that have suffered disinvestment, and communities that have historically born the brunt of pollution and climate harm;

  • Expand public and employee ownership by leveraging existing public agencies and assets (including public transit agencies, local housing authorities, public school districts, and electric co-ops), taking equity stakes in companies receiving substantial direct investment (including the airline, fossil fuel, and cruise industries), and conditioning strategic aspects of the stimulus package on worker self-determination measures and cooperatives; and, 

  • Make rapid cuts to carbon pollution consistent with keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius, as the climate science tells us is required to avoid full climate chaos, and protect salaries, benefits, and retirements of fossil fuel workers.

Below, we outline a menu of practical policy interventions that align with these principles and strategies. Many of these interventions could be implemented by state and local governments and would benefit from immediate, purposeful planning and preparation, nearly all of which could be done remotely (including mass public procurement, targeted bridge loans and other emergency financial instruments, and expanded tax credits and rebates for high-priority sectors). The menu includes: 

  1. Housing, Schools, Buildings, Civic Infrastructure, and Communities

  2. Transportation Workers, Systems, and Infrastructure

  3. Labor, Manufacturing, and Just Transition for Workers and Communities

  4. Energy System Workers and Infrastructure

  5. Farmers, Food Systems, and Rural Communities

  6. Green Infrastructure, Public Lands, and the Environment

  7. Regulations, Innovation, and Public Investment

  8. Green Foreign Policy

This is an inflection point for our nation. This is a pivotal moment to put tens of millions of Americans back to work, building a healthy, clean, and just future. It is heartening to recognize the very broad range of technologies and policy tools at our disposal to ensure that recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic can also dramatically improve the living standards of those most in need—a majority of Americans, in fact. 

Moreover, a Green Stimulus agenda is broadly popular, as shown for instance by Data for Progress’s polling around the Green New Deal and green industrial policy. Their latest polling finds majority support for a trillion-dollar investment in green technology. And it finds majority support among Democrats, Republicans, and Independents for a range of public green investments – from renewable energy, to electric buses, underground high-voltage transmission, electric minivans and pickup trucks for rural and suburban areas, smart grid technology, retrofitting buildings with an emphasis on low-income housing, and battery technology. 

Finally, we have the opportunity to learn from and improve on the inadequate 2008-2010 stimulus that resulted in a sluggish recovery and centered firms and companies instead of workers. We need a bigger stimulus, more investment in low-carbon projects, and more immediate relief for Main Street. Now is the time to begin the political debate, and legislative twork to pass Green Stimulus policies to create jobs, lift up communities, and tackle the climate emergency as we rebuild the economy.

The co-authors of this letter, and endorsing signatories, are listed below, after our policy menu.

A Just Green Stimulus Policy Menu


  • Create hundreds of thousands of jobs through mass investment to expand the federal Weatherization Assistance Program to cut utility costs and eliminate homes’ carbon emissions, fund state-level equivalent programs, and provide grants to community-based weatherization programs to scale up local efforts. 

  • Place moratoria on electricity, gas, and water shutoffs and late fees and reconnect those disconnected prior to the crisis, and rental evictions. Suspend rent and mortgage payments, without fees, and with potential to forgive payments. This will protect the most vulnerable, from some of the immediate effects of the recession and provide indirect income support to communities of color, Indigenous communities, and low-income communities.

  • Expand funding to and beneficiaries of Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, (LIHEAP), while green retrofits are underway 

    • Change eligibility to 200-250% FPL, thus increasing program beneficiaries. 

    • Work to make enrollment automatic based on tax credits, and expand outreach to households that may not have anyone who files.

  • Create hundreds of thousands of jobs through repeal of the Fairthcloth Amendment and massive infusion of funds into National Housing Trust Fund (eg, $50 billion in year 1, $100 billion year 2, $150 billion in year 3) for no-carbon mixed-income social housing.

  • Double tax-credits for Low-Income Housing Tax Credit affordable housing construction, mandate zero-carbon standard for operational carbon, and low-carbon standard for embodied emissions of building materials. Fund union apprenticeship programs in communities of color, Indigenous communities, and low-income communities. 

  • Create hundreds of thousands of jobs by passing and funding the Green New Deal for Public Housing Act, to begin immediate public housing retrofits that improve living conditions, create union jobs for public housing residents and other, nearby low-income workers, and create a new mass market for green building materials.

  • Create thousands of jobs and drastically improve housing conditions by investing in healthy, sustainable retrofits of housing throughout Indian reservations.

  • Create tens of thousands of jobs by funding school retrofits across the country, with priority for Title 1 schools. Remove fossil fuels, install heat pumps for heating and cooling, remove all toxic and unhealthy materials including lead, mold, asbestos. Increase funding for wraparound services and to make school year-round resiliency hubs for their communities, including by providing disaster relief services.

  • Establish a federal green and equitable housing fund, to partner with municipalities that invest in rent-controlled housing for low-income citizens near transit hubs.

  • Ensure government-funded construction projects take sea level rise into account, and do not build any new federal buildings within 1.5 meters of current sea level, with possible exemptions for military infrastructure.

  • Develop more aggressive building energy codes, reach codes, and local land use and zoning reforms (e.g., the abolition of parking minimums and single-family zoning) including the provision of competitive, supplemental funding for state and local governments that adopt these reforms. Green building grants should include funding to hire staff in state and local government to internally manage the planning and implementation.

  • Enact federal zoning regulation reform to facilitate construction of both dense and affordable housing, with a priority near public transit, to ensure new social housing is located in walkable and transit accessible-neighborhoods.

  • Reboot the American manufacturing sector and reduce utility costs, by developing a subsidy and loan regime to support decarbonizing the building sector, including development of US manufacturing of all kinds of heat pumps, as well as low- to no-carbon building materials like sustainable wood, low-carbon concrete, mineral insulation, etc. 

  • Reboot the American manufacturing sector and create new jobs by commencing immediate public procurement of heat pumps, mineral insulation, new building materials (including insulation) for the retrofit of the nation’s 1 million units of public housing, federally funded Indian housing, and all relevant government and military buildings. Offer states, cities, and other public agencies the ability to join these heavily discounted bulk purchase orders.

  • Develop a national green rental subsidy that provides incentives to landlords for passing the savings accrued from solar and energy efficiency on to tenants (i.e., rentals free of utility charges).

  • Implement green mortgages program through all federally backed mortgage lending: incentive program of 50 basis point reduction in mortgages for zero carbon emissions homes and 25 basis points for zero carbon emissions-ready homes. 

  • Fully resource ($10 billion) the Public Housing Operating Fund to ensure residents employed in management and on-site jobs are protected, ongoing green retrofit and maintenance contracts are fulfilled, and that local housing authorities are fully prepared to meet their obligations to their communities.


  • Provide direct transfers to local transit authorities to ensure they remain solvent, well-maintained, and ready for active service when the pandemic recedes. Local transit authorities are existing, publicly-owned and operated entities managing trillions of dollars worth of capital infrastructure, employing thousands of workers, and they simply cannot be allowed to fail.

  • Create thousands of new construction jobs by investing in projects that incentivize densification, including Equitable Transit Oriented Development with an emphasis on affordable housing, through the USDOT.

  • Revive the Partnership for Sustainable Communities interagency initiative to align local, place-based economic stimulus projects administered by the USDOT, HUD, and EPA.

  • Create thousands of new jobs by offering grants and no-interest, no-match loans to local transit agencies and municipal governments to complete their backlog of shovel-ready ADA-compliance and Complete Streets projects. All disruptive roadway work should be paired with upgrades to sanitary sewer systems and other utilities whenever possible.

  • Provide grants and loans to local transit agencies and school boards to fund the purchase of electric railcars and engines and electric buses and electric school buses, with the goal of ending all diesel bus purchases by 2025. This must also include targeted investment to support electric bus and railcar manufacturing capacity within the automobile industry in the United States.

  • Create a “Fix It First” mandate for infrastructure and public works projects, as outlined here, requiring all new USDOT funding and financing be directed towards the maintenance and repair of existing roadways, bridges, and other projects. This also includes upgrading commuter rail lines to meet PTC standards and installing dedicated bike and bus lanes.


  • Provide grants and no-interest loans to develop and accelerate US manufacturing of electric buses (including school buses), electric pickup trucks, electric cars, and other electric vehicles; and, energy-efficient electric appliances. 

  • Create a federal fund to support formation of worker cooperatives aligned with the goals of rapid decarbonization, from solar panel installation to regenerative agriculture, including urban community gardens and larger-scale urban farming.

  • Implement a Green Durable Goods policy to ensure continued production of essential green products, via massive infusion of federal funds into electric appliance, vehicle, etc. manufacturing. Use direct government purchase of high volumes of green goods to drive increases of green capacity during economic slowdown, as done during the Second World War. Give priority to manufacturers who partner with pre-approved union apprenticeship programs. 

  • Create a cash for appliances program, funded at least $1 billion, modeled on the Obama stimulus measure, but mandating recycling of all old appliances, including to prevent HFC leakage.

  • Create a public option for electric vehicles, appliances, and other durable goods. All other governments, co-operatives, and non-profit entities would be eligible to place individual orders through this mass federal procurement, with grants and no-interest loans to support their purchases through the Department of Commerce.

  • Create a “feebate” program to transfer a pollution surcharge to those who purchase cleaner products. Include a low-income carbon credit so that individuals making within 200% of the federal poverty threshold and in rural households receive 2x (or 4x) benefit for the purchase of the energy efficient (and EV) models).

  • Create an expansive Women in Cleantech (WiC) training and entrepreneurial support program through the Small Business Administration.

  • Provide new opportunities for disadvantaged American green entrepreneurial training and start-up grants through the Small Business Administration.

  • Provide just transition benefits for all workers in fossil fuel industries, including five years of wage replacement for displaced workers, housing assistance, job training opportunities, health insurance coverage, pension support, and priority job placement for displaced workers. Provide early retirement support where appropriate. 

  • Provide tax revenue replacement support for communities impacted by the cessation of extraction and use of fossil fuels.

  • Identify and invest in economic diversification strategies for fossil fuel regions by fully funding the project backlog at the Appalachian Regional Commission, Great Lakes Commission, and Delta Regional Authority. 


  • Create a national clean energy standard through the Department of Energy that applies to all power providers including rural electric cooperatives, climbing steeply to 100% carbon-free energy by 2030.

  • Restore the clean energy tax credits and offer a direct incentive to businesses, nonprofits, municipalities, tribes, and low income community members, extending the credit to energy storage so that ‘baseload renewables.’

  • Make all clean energy tax credits (including for consumers) immediately deployable; for consumers they should be immediate and refundable rebates, particularly investing in distributed and community renewable energy to build community wealth and resilience.

  • Make regulatory changes to streamline the environmental review process for clean energy, storage, high voltage transmission, charging stations, and other low-carbon infrastructure projects modeled on recent reforms in New York State Government.

  • Provide a revolving fund through the Department of Energy to acquire and/or purchase fossil fuel firms that are going bankrupt in order to decommission assets and provide a just transition for affected workers and communities. 

  • Require a rapid phaseout of fracking and offshore and onshore oil and gas drilling, end new extraction, and end fossil fuel exports. 

  • End all fossil fuel subsidies and redirect the funds to help directly-impacted workers and communities in the energy transition.

  • Authorize the Department of Energy, Treasury, and other federal lenders to forgive all government-held fossil fuel debt of rural electric coops and municipal utilities.

  • Provide grants and no-interest, no-match loans to all electricity co-ops contingent on rapid decarbonization including implementation of storage battery technology at distribution and end-user levels. 

  • Provide substantial finance to support the development and development of community-shared solar programs, which may work in tandem with the Department of Energy’s technical assistance program for community solar.

  • Ensure the right of clean energy workers to unionize their workplaces, and incentivize worker ownership in the sector.

  • Plan and fund rapid decarbonization of Tennessee Valley Authority and other federally-owned power supply, and provide logistical and financial support for a mandated decarbonization of rural electricity cooperatives and public power. 


  • Strengthen organic standards and reform agricultural subsidies so that federal support goes to small producers who make investments in their communities and the environment.

  • Establish and fully fund the USDA and EPA, through the network of agriculture extension offices, to quantify carbon reductions through smart agriculture and then to compensate farmers (including ocean farmers) for carbon reduction practices, such as carbon sequestration in soils, the transition to precision agriculture and other practices based on the quantified carbon abatement or sequestration (carbon negative land use) of the practices.

  • Prevent food shortages and surpluses by establishing supply management programs and a parity pricing system for farmers that both ensures farmers, farm workers, and every worker along the food chain a living wage and ensures consumers a high-quality, stable, and ensures local supply of agricultural goods.

  • Empower the USDA to track, report, and address instances of  “food deserts’’ in low-income and inner city areas by ensuring that fair market priced goods, including organic foods, are available with similar quality and diversity as in other parts of the country.

  • Support indigenous farming practices and end biopiracy and contamination of native seeds. 

  • Enhance programs for beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers to give them fair access to land and resources.

  • Incentivize community and cooperatively owned farmland to support local communities and urban residents, including by expanding USDA’s Local Agriculture Market Program, and funding food hubs and distribution centers.

  • Make government owned farmland available as incubator farms for beginning farmers.

  • Pass comprehensive legislation that provides grants and technical assistance to mitigate climate change by transitioning to independent family farming practices that are regenerative, ecologically sound, improve soil health, and sequester carbon in soil, as opposed to the current system that incentivizes intensive mono-crop farming and confined livestock operations.

  • Create a new USDA program dedicated to research and policy development for ocean-based farming. Support regenerative ocean farming, a burgeoning, low-carbon industry focused on seaweeds and shellfish, including through the USDA’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program and Biomass Crop Assistance Program, as described in the Blue New Deal.

  • Direct the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service to issue new guidance and regulations to better prepare fishing industries and communities for the impacts of climate change.

  • Support the shift towards healthy food consumption, by expanding access to the quality of food available through nutrition support programs such as TANF, SNAP, and WIC.

  • Direct the Farm Security Administration to issue no-interest, no-match loans via its land contract guarantee program to ensure failing industrial agricultural land is made available to new and small family farmers whenever possible.

  • Direct the Farm Service Agency to issue no-interest, no-match loans to fund equipment purchases, organic and specialty crop operations, and alternative farming practices (vertical, hydroponics, and others).

  • Secure the rights of migrant and permanent resident workers and their families to healthcare, food, and shelter without prejudice to pathways to future citizenship. 


  • Create a Clean Water Corps that provides no-interest loans for municipalities and counties to invest in repairing/replacing combined and sanitary sewer systems, builds out alternative stormwater management systems (green infrastructure), and performs other abatement measures (replacing lead pipes and upgrading treatment facilities).

  • Create a new Civilian Conservation Corps through the National Service Corporation chartered to hire workers to restore ecosystems, including forests and wetlands, modeled on the California Conservation Corps. 

  • Create thousands of new jobs maintaining green infrastructure and climate resilient landscapes by providing new grants and formula funding through the HUD-DOT-EPA Partnership for Sustainable Communities. 

  • Electrify and modernize our ports, to reduce harmful air pollution and prepare for sea level rise, as described in the Blue New Deal.

  • Direct and fully fund the National Parks Service and U.S. Forest Service to begin planning for the climate crisis and clearing their backlog of authorized projects, with priority given those that respond to enhanced threats from wildfire, ecosystem migration, biodiversity loss, and sea level rise.

  • Direct and fully fund the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to clear their backlog of beneficial dredge, habitat restoration, climate adaptation, and infrastructure maintenance projects.

  • Direct and fully fund HUD, DOT, and EPA to fast-track the approval and implementation of local parks and open space plans through no-interest loans and competitive grants for state, local and tribal governments.

  • Provide grants to state and local governments to establish “energy parks” that combine recreation (e.g., walking and biking trails, swimming areas, etc.) with clean energy generation, storage, and transmission infrastructure (e.g., wind turbines, PV panels, and battery centers).


  • Capitalize a national green investment bank to provide no-income loans (or LIBOR rate) to firms and consumers for any green retrofits, low-carbon investment, etc. Minimum $100 billion for initial capitalization.

  • Immediately pass a Federal Reserve Bank Act to make green bonds as secure as treasury bills, to drive down the cost of green investment.

  • Require that any bailouts or bridge loans to large corporations, like airlines and cruise lines, be contingent on economic, social, and ecological conditions: 10-year plan to substantially cut majority of carbon pollution with targets every two years; use funds to maintain payroll; government gaining long-term preferred shares or other equity in bailed out firms; provide $15 minimum wage within one year; no share buy-backs or dividends; set asides seats on corporate boards for labor representatives; maintain collective bargaining agreements.

  • Direct the Department of Energy to assume a larger share of the financial risks resulting from decarbonization and price fluctuations by requiring U.S. banks to report annually how much fossil fuel equity and debt is created, and/or held as assets, with respect to all fossil fuel extraction and infrastructure. 

  • Diminish financial risks resulting from decarbonization and price fluctuations by instructing the SEC Office of Credit Ratings to direct credit rating agencies to impose process standard—like climate due diligences—that incorporate the physical and financial risks that climate change presents to securities and other financial assets, as well as to the companies that issue them.

  • Restore a climate test to government permitting and procurement, such as a social cost of carbon, as a metric for federal procurement and permitting decisions. These tests should evaluate and assess the social costs of carbon and methane in a 1.5 degree C scenario.

  • Assist state universities, community colleges, and technical schools in launching green energy and economy training programs and degree options.

  • Elevate EPA and NOAA Administrators to full Cabinet Secretary status.

  • Ensure major government green procurement purchases are both green and include project-labor agreements or prevailing wage requirements (renewable energy, storage, retrofits, low-carbon cement, etc).

  • Provide immediate bridge loan support to green firms.

  • Streamline and fast-track permitting for offshore wind energy, and subsidize offshore wind farm projects, while ensuring projects are sited based on environmental impact assessments, and that Community Benefit Agreements are in place to ensure communities onshore of wind farms receive a share of the benefits as this industry develops. Do not allow visual and aesthetic impacts to be considered as a factor for denying permits (See Blue New Deal plan.)

  • Increase ARPA-E funding by 100x and look to develop parallel agencies in the Department of Agriculture, Department of Transportation, and Department of Housing and Urban Development. Ensure that some of this funding is directed to the Mariner program to develop macroalgae for use as feedstock for fuels and chemicals, as well as animal feed.

  • Double the budgets for the Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and Office of Science.

  • Enable communities to invest in their own low-carbon infrastructure through state-owned public banks.


  • Reinstate and expand Science Envoy Program to assist US embassies in partnering with ministries, emerging cleantech companies, and for university exchange with countries that adopt the IPCC 1.5 degree C target.

  • Expedite aid packages, including green technology transfers, with priority funds for lowest income countries that adopt national 1.5 degree C roadmaps.

  • Ensure fair trade agreements are centered on worker and environmental protections and (where applicable) include indigenous consultation.

  • Support local and sustainable farming systems in the US and internationally by removing agriculture from the purview of the World Trade Organization, investing new resources in sustainable timber and forest management cooperatives and companies through the USDA’s Climate Smart Forestry and Agriculture Initiative, and creating new markets in the building industry for sustainably harvested cross laminated timber and other sustainable wood products.

  • Classify food supply security as a national security issue and pass trade policies that safeguard food security at home and around the globe.

  • End all funding, direct and indirect, of fossil fuel infrastructure through multilateral organizations connected to the United States, including the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, OPIC, and the Export-Import Bank.

  • Increase funding to the Green Climate Fund to help grow the green economy worldwide, to make U.S. contribution to Green Climate Fund in line with historical U.S. fair share of historical contribution to climate emergency. Consider a progressive tax on the highest carbon-emitting polluters to finance this contribution.


Johanna Bozuwa

Co-Manager, Climate & Energy Program, The Democracy Collaborative (@johannabozuwa)

J. Mijin Cha

Assistant Professor of Urban and Environmental Policy, Occidental College; Fellow at Cornell University Worker Institute; Senior Fellow at Data for Progress. (@jmijincha)

Daniel Aldana Cohen

Assistant Professor of Sociology and Director of the Socio-Spatial Climate Collaborative, or (SC)2, University of Pennsylvania; Senior Fellow at Data for Progress. (@aldatweets)

Billy Fleming

Wilks Family Director, of the Ian L. McHarg Center (@mchargcenter), University of Pennsylvania; Senior Fellow at Data for Progress. (@joobilly)

Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, Ph.D.

Marine biologist, founder of Ocean Collectiv and Urban Ocean Lab, and advisor to the Blue New Deal plan. (@ayanaeliza)

Daniel M Kammen

Professor in the Energy and Resources Group, the Goldman School of Public Policy, and in the Department of Nuclear Engineering, University of California, Berkeley. Former Science Envoy, United States State Department. (@dan_kammen)

Julian Brave NoiseCat

Vice President of Policy & Strategy, Data for Progress (@jnoisecat)

Mark Paul

Assistant Professor of Economics and Environmental Studies, New College of Florida; Fellow, Roosevelt Institute; Senior Fellow, Data for Progress. (@MarkVinPaul)

Thea Riofrancos

Assistant Professor of Political Science, Providence College; Senior Fellow at Data for Progress; Faculty Collaborator at Socio-Spatial Climate Collaborative, or (SC)2. (@triofrancos)

L. Randall Wray
Senior Scholar, Levy Economics Institute

Professor of Economics, Bard College

Emeritus Professor, University of Missouri-Kansas City

Co-editor Journal of Post Keynesian Economics
ISSN 0160-3477 (Print), 1557-7821 (Online)

Recent Books:

A Great Leap Forward: Heterodox Economic Policy for the 21st Century; Randall Wray; Paperback ISBN: 9780128193808; Academic Press; Published Date: 22nd January 2020;


Macroeconomics; Author(s): William Mitchell, L. Randall Wray, Martin Watts; Red Globe Press, Macmillan International; February 2019;


Why Minsky Matters: An Introduction to the work of a maverick economist, Princeton University Press


Modern Money Theory: a primer on macroeconomics for sovereign monetary systems, Palgrave Macmillan 


Please make note of my new email address as I will be transitioning all email to:

From: AFEEMAIL Discussion List <[log in to unmask]> on behalf of Wray, Randall <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Friday, March 20, 2020 1:58 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [AFEEMAIL] COVID-19 Pandemic

Thanks Michael, beautiful statement.

Note there is already a full-on press of Shock Doctrine. The headlines are full of it:

CFR announces This is the time for UBI. Idaho uses the crisis to attack trans people. Trump uses it for tougher border controls. There's a move for "temporary" exemption of schools from the requirement that they accommodate special needs children. Dayan has shown that Trump and Munchkin have pulled out the crisis response document from 2008 and are following it to the letter AND dollar number. 

Trump's UBI is $1200 for those under $75k (more progressive than the progressive proposal!) but he's using ex ante incomes so the target is inappropriate; and his BIG will only be 600 bucks for those with no tax liability. In other words, throwing peanuts. And even Pelosi ensured the paid sick leave will benefit few workers. These are "go-away" laws, that provide a semblance of a response.

I think many of you know I have very high regards for Fagg Foster. The one idea I do not like is that of "minimal dislocation". When you have an economy and political system as dysfunctional as the one we've got, there is only one approach: maximal dislocation--a thorough house cleaning in a time of crisis. 

Which was FDR's approach. And Bernie's. I know we are not going to get that kind of leadership in the White House this time; I expect we'll get Trump. But I cannot see any advantage to going along with minimal dislocation. The population is primed for more.

Both Pavlina and Jamie have excellent statements out--Jamie in The Nation and 2 others:

and Pavlina in project syndicate.

Two other good ones:
The climate case for making the government the employer of last resort
Even deficit hawks like Joe Biden know that when faced with the genuine prospect of annihilation, the only adequate response is to do whatever it takes to prevent it.

L. Randall Wray
Senior Scholar, Levy Economics Institute

Professor of Economics, Bard College

Emeritus Professor, University of Missouri-Kansas City

Co-editor Journal of Post Keynesian Economics
ISSN 0160-3477 (Print), 1557-7821 (Online)

Recent Books:

A Great Leap Forward: Heterodox Economic Policy for the 21st Century; Randall Wray; Paperback ISBN: 9780128193808; Academic Press; Published Date: 22nd January 2020;


Macroeconomics; Author(s): William Mitchell, L. Randall Wray, Martin Watts; Red Globe Press, Macmillan International; February 2019;


Why Minsky Matters: An Introduction to the work of a maverick economist, Princeton University Press


Modern Money Theory: a primer on macroeconomics for sovereign monetary systems, Palgrave Macmillan 


Please make note of my new email address as I will be transitioning all email to:

From: AFEEMAIL Discussion List <[log in to unmask]> on behalf of Michael Keaney <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Friday, March 20, 2020 10:03 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [AFEEMAIL] COVID-19 Pandemic

I applaud Randy’s ambition, and anyone’s willingness to discuss it here.


What happens after that thousand dollar check is spent? Another thousand dollar check? It will take time (and possibly many needless deaths) for the political class, wonks and commentariat (= purveyors and guarantors of conventional wisdom), backed by their corporate sponsors, to come round to the new reality, but already those of us with time and relevant experience should be engaging in this kind of work, both imagining forward and conducting historical research. Many lessons of the Second World War are likely to be relearnt, and institutionalism and much else of heterodoxy are in a stronger position to benefit from this given their fitness for purpose.


The comparison with the shock therapy “administered” to Russia is instructive only insofar as that experiment in the most grotesque social Darwinism contrasts mightily with what has been suggested here, which is a comprehensive reconstruction of the US political economy and associated regulatory regime with a view to avoiding exactly that outcome, which the present conjuncture in many respects already resembles. The tragedy is that it is likely to take a great deal more suffering and death before there is a more generalised recognition of the scale of the necessary work now lying before us.


Collectively, we are all going to learn just how dangerous it is to adhere to models premised on atomised, homogenised, fully functional working age adults free of all social commitments and other “imperfections”. Just as the New Right was in the 1970s with the collapse of the Fordist paradigm, we must also be prepared to provide a logically coherent and persuasive alternative to the prevailing orthodoxy as this inevitably crumbles. Unlike the New Right, however, we have the advantage of starting from a much stronger basis in reality, in conditions that demonstrate very powerfully the futility of invidious distinction borne of material privilege. This kind of argument was much more difficult to make 40 years ago. Our chief disadvantage is that we are not offering “pie in the sky” utopias or excusing predatory behaviour as somehow integral to our nature and even laudable because functional or “rational”. But ruthless criticism of all that exists combined with practical strategies and policies for their implementation will have their effect, over time (much longer than it takes to spend a thousand dollar check), especially as the situation becomes more desperate. A particularly sad aspect of this is just how often it is demonstrated that human solidarity is most effectively forged in adversity, as we are being reminded once more.






From: AFEEMAIL Discussion List <[log in to unmask]> On Behalf Of erik dean
Sent: perjantai 20. maaliskuuta 2020 0.03
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: COVID-19 Pandemic


I think this is a very good place (and time) to have this discussion. 


Many on the left are criticizing Democratic leadership right now for what they see as an unnecessary insistence on means-testing--a staple of the neoliberal wing of the party (which, surely, is almost the whole of it).  To Randy, and setting your general critique of the UBI aside, do you think that an immediate check to everyone who could receive it (i.e. has a bank account, &c.) would be detrimental?  Perhaps it could be inflationary in a declining supply-type crisis?  Or is your position more along the lines of its inadequacies--whom it doesn't help, &c.?  From my view, I could probably do without, as I've still got full pay teaching online, but it wouldn't hurt to have a little extra savings to purchase that first house (once I'm 50).  But likewise, I think the understanding that many people either would not receive the check or would not be adequately helped by it should be made as salient as possible.


I've been impressed by how rapidly mainstream political discourse has taken up what only (and practically literally) yesterday I would've considered far from mainstream.  Trump indicated this morning that he would entertain restrictions on buybacks for companies receiving bailouts.  Who would've guessed?  Likewise for a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures.  Considering the politics of the past 5 years in this country, and the unprecedented nature of this crisis, maybe this is the point where we see surprising things--of the sort that we thought were impossible--actually getting done. 


Even if not, we can be useful as economists by sussing out the best policies and how to get them done.  For instance, what would need to happen to extend unemployment benefits to gig workers?  Perhaps recognizing them as employees of their 'platforms'--something that should've been done nationally already?  To Tim's point about pushing an agenda in a crisis, I think it's worth considering that any response is going to part of some agenda--wittingly or otherwise--, and will ultimately contribute to how things work post-crisis.  For what it's worth, some of Randy's arguments and proposals might not just be feasible in the present moment, but they may make us better prepared to face the next crisis (which I assume starts tomorrow).


My two cents and all.  Ya didn't ask for it, but ya got it anyway.






On Thu, Mar 19, 2020 at 12:23 PM Wray, Randall <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Tim: not at all; I never suggested you need to take it all. I suggested you think it through. I provided a reasonably comprehensive list of things you could choose from.


You want to endorse Trump's proposal. OK fine. I don't think he needs your letter.


You could make it a more progressive proposal by insisting on some kind of clawback for those who don't need the checks. Me, for example. 


The vast majority of the checks you want to send out will go to those who do not need them. You argue it is simpler; well, yes, but your method doesn't make it easier (at all) to reach those who most need the checks. 


You could, for example, push for expanded unemployment compensation for those who lost jobs or hours. Many progressives are arguing that right now. This could be more generous than Trump's plan. 


It could be extended to gig workers.


I admit, that still leaves many, some of whom are very hard to reach. Many of whom need basic shelter, food, and healthcare. A check would help them (if we can find them and they could find some place to cash it, without gouging fees), but they still won't be buying healthcare and probably not shelter unless their payment is ramped up significantly. What is a very nice gift for those who are doing relatively OK is not enough to get someone into an apartment. 


A social approach rather than a market approach might help those suffering the most.


Many of the other things I list (that you claim to be impossible) are right now being discussed, even by mainstream Democrats. 


Other things I list are now unlikely but will be on the table over the coming months.


And some are there--I admit--as dreams.


L. Randall Wray

Senior Scholar, Levy Economics Institute


Professor of Economics, Bard College


Emeritus Professor, University of Missouri-Kansas City

Co-editor Journal of Post Keynesian Economics
ISSN 0160-3477 (Print), 1557-7821 (Online)


Recent Books:

A Great Leap Forward: Heterodox Economic Policy for the 21st Century; Randall Wray; Paperback ISBN: 9780128193808; Academic Press; Published Date: 22nd January 2020;


Macroeconomics; Author(s): William Mitchell, L. Randall Wray, Martin Watts; Red Globe Press, Macmillan International; February 2019;


Why Minsky Matters: An Introduction to the work of a maverick economist, Princeton University Press


Modern Money Theory: a primer on macroeconomics for sovereign monetary systems, Palgrave Macmillan 




Please make note of my new email address as I will be transitioning all email to:


From: AFEEMAIL Discussion List <[log in to unmask]> on behalf of Wunder, Tim <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thursday, March 19, 2020 1:14 PM
[log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [AFEEMAIL] COVID-19 Pandemic



Now it is quite visible what is wanted.  In words used by people here towards the other side "Never waste a good crisis."  The people out there who are about to be evicted are not means to and end, they are the end.  Your letter is disappointing at best and potentially morally bankrupt at worse.  You know for a fact that below reforms as a listed are impossible to get through congress in a matter of weeks and are equivalent to a shock therapy approach offered to the USSR that failed utterly.  How is this "evolutionary?"  How is this changing the institutions in our society in a reasonable manner with a minimum of social displacement?


"Do not support president Trump's re-election gambit"


I suspect this is the most important aspect of the entire letter.  This isn't about helping the millions of people who are about to be screwed, this is about pushing the ideological agenda at all costs.  And you are willing to pay that cost in the form of the weakest and poorest families being destroyed.  I am not willing to pay the price with other people's misery.  You are offering the equivalent of the argument that Trump is holding a gun to the peoples head and we should tell him to go ahead and pull the trigger.  Or better yet to just be quiet and let him pull  the trigger.  As if somehow, after he has killed the hostage, we will get our changes.


Here is the thing, after the hostage is dead we still won't get the change.  The only thing we will have is a dead hostage as the gunman chooses another hostage.


There is not a single thing below that I do not support completely and utterly, however I am NOT willing to burn millions of people in order to achieve them.  Further letting the poor fall off this cliff won't get us any closer to what you want below.  If you want the radical systemic changes below then why don't you truly call for what you are aiming for?  Why not make a call for people to go out into the streets.  That is what your letter ultimately would require.  Hell I might even heed that call, but at least its an honest call for a sharp opposition to the system.  


Your letter essentially implies unless we can get it all, we should do little to nothing.  That somehow giving families large chunks of money would only alleviate the pain for a short while so we shouldn't do it.  I am not sure how this is different from the world bank and IMF telling poor countries they need to have a massive "shock" to get the therapy.  Frankly I am not sure how alleviating the pain for millions of families for a short period of time makes anything worse.  How would any of the problems we face be made worse by giving all families 15 to 20k?  How would the lack of healthcare system get worse when households are better financed?  How would lack of sick leave get worse if households have more money?  How would giving this money in anyway stop us from pushing hard for all those other things?  


Short answer it wouldn't, but it would take some pressure off thus making our bargaining position stronger.  In other words you argue we need that hostage to get what we want.  Am I the only one that has a problem with that?


Your augment is premised one point, a move to alleviate household pain will take the pressure off the system and it will take longer to get the reforms you think essential.  Your letter is about using household pain to force systemic changes.  I am not sure I see a moral difference between the letter below and the methods the Oligarchs use.


Then again from the reactions so far I have seen I am clearly in the minority.




Timothy A Wunder

Clinical Associate Professor of Economics

Department of Economics


From: AFEEMAIL Discussion List <[log in to unmask]> on behalf of Wray, Randall <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thursday, March 19, 2020 11:02 AM
[log in to unmask] <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: COVID-19 Pandemic


Tim asked for my "letter" as an alternative to the free cash proposal; not sure you all want to sign on, but here's a more detailed policy response (draft):


How to deal with the crisis


L. Randall Wray


Naomi Klein: Disaster capitalism creates crises and uses those to implement Shock Doctrine; most of the proposals coming out—writing checks to all, bail-outs for banks, hundreds of billions for corporations—are all examples of taking advantage of the shock of a crisis to further the doctrine of “free markets”. Klein argues that what usually happens in a crisis is that all the progressives get co-opted and abandon progressive policy because they see the crisis as so severe, and causing so much suffering, that they’ll settle for the Doctrine as better than nothing. Slowly but inevitably, we lose all social protection as progressives abandon their principles to deal with the immediacy of the serial crises created by disaster capitalism.

Of course you will see this agenda as “politically infeasible”—and it is infeasible if you accept the premise of the Doctrine that there is no alternative to Neoliberalism’s Disaster Capitalism.

  1. Don’t pay attention to the stock market. It was boosted largely by corporate buy-backs and is vastly overvalued. Reported corporate profits since the GFC have been high, and more than all of them were used to goose stock prices. The stock market should—and will—fall much more.
    1. Yes, people are worried about their retirement portfolio. But saving Wall Street is not the answer
    2. Wall Street must be replaced by decent government-funded pensions.

  1. GDP is likely to fall by about 20%;
    1. much of this will be in the service sector where personal services are required.
    2. Additionally it will hit entertainment and travel very hard. And education.
    3. A rough guess is that the impact is similar to that of the GFC (where home construction and related sectors were hit)—just over 16% of the economy
    4. But people are still spending.
    5. It does not make sense to add $1 trillion to demand through thousand dollar checks sent indiscriminately, largely to those who do not need them, at a time when supply is declining. This is not a usual economic downturn caused by falling demand.

  1. Corporate debt is likely at an all-time record high—far higher than reported. Corporations were likely insolvent even before the Covid crisis. No wonder they are already begging for bail-outs—a couple of weeks into a crisis that has barely even begun and they’ve already run out of cash.

  2. Nationalization of troubled corporations is a better alternative than bail-out.
    1. We should insist on quid pro quo: only those corporations that submit to public management will receive help.
    2. Fed govt will select a manager to organize support and help rescue firm
    3. If a corporation seeks help, all top management must submit letters of recognition; the appointed manager will hold these and use them when necessary in the case of recalcitrant CEOs
    4. No bonuses will be paid to top management during 2020; any bonuses that have already been paid will be clawed back. All top management pay would be reduced to appropriate GS levels for as long as the firm needs help; thereafter, the top pay (including salaries, benefits, and deferred pay)  of any firm that received government help will be limited to 30 times the pay of the median worker in the firm for a period of at least a decade.
    5. Govt should insist that worker representation will be added to every Board; labor contracts will be enforced; laws protecting unions will be enforced

  1. The biggest banks have trillions of bad bets. They want bail-outs. We should take them over instead; then “resolve” them as mandated by law, breaking them up and shutting them down.

  2. Do not support President Trump’s Re-election Gambit of offering checks for all in an attempt to buy the election.
    1. He caused this disaster and is trying to divert attention; he sees the disaster as a way to ensure re-election
    2. BIG or UBI is the Neoliberal free market wet dream of Silicon Valley. They want to reduce the role of people in society to nothing more than consumers.
    3. This is shock doctrine—you lose your job, you lose democracy, all you get is a check.
    4. Instead of playing a role in the workplace and the political sphere, you get to “vote” with dollars for ice cream flavors.
    5. Disaster capitalism will use this crisis to bust the remaining unions

  1. We need to prioritize the health crisis impacts on people:
    1. Mandated paid sick leave and parental leave for the duration of the crisis; Fed govt offers refundable tax credit to fully cover the cost
    2. Ramp up unemployment compensation to cover ALL workers who lose jobs or hours; paid by Fed govt
      1. Extend to Gig workers
      2. Increase compensation to cover lost wages (@ 100%) up to $50,000 annual for duration of economic downturn
    1. Medicare for all, universal, immediate, free coverage for all treatment related to the virus
    2. Free testing for all
    3. Guarantee of adequate food, clothing and shelter for all
      1. Extended food stamps (loosen requirements, increase allotments, reverse Trump cutbacks)
      2. Safe shelter for all who request it
      3. targeted cash payment for all who need it

  1. It is best to target cash payments to those who need them; the argument that this is too difficult is overblown.
    1. Indeed, those who need the least help are the ones who are easiest to find: homeowners, employed workers, those who file tax returns.
      1. People are scared to spend, so those who do not need it won’t spend it anyway
      2. The check is too small to help those who just lost their jobs; more generous unemployment compensation is a better answer
    1. Those who need the most help are hardest to find: poor, unemployed, renters, homeless, and those with income so low that they do not file.

  1. In any event, if we do send checks to all (which I do not support), they can be issued now as a tax refund against 2020 taxes, with a proviso that those with taxable income below $30,000 for fiscal year 2020 keep the full value, but those with taxable income above $30,000 bear an additional tax equal to the value of the refund checks cashed. For those with taxable income over $30,000 the checks function as interest-free loans to be repaid at tax time (April 15 2021).

  2. We need a moratorium on:
    1. Foreclosures for missed mortgage payments
    2. Evictions of renters
    3. Rent and interest rate hikes
    4. Late fees and penalties for missed payments on debts (including but not limited to mortgages, student loans, auto related debt, and credit card debts)
    5. Debt collection
    6. Student loan payments
    7. Tax payments

  1. Payroll tax holiday: we do not need the stimulus, but the demonstration effect is important. The payroll tax is a terrible tax: regressive, taxes employment, taxes work. Workers and employers should demand a permanent holiday from this tax.

  2. Job Guarantee: an antidote to BIG and UBI. JG would be a permanent program; we can begin by creating projects to deal with this crisis. Because of quarantines, etc, it will take time to scale up to a universal program
    1. Unemp compensation now, JG a permanent response

  1. Tone of Macron is correct: we need a massive increase of the social safety net; we are at war—but not just a war against a virus, but against Disaster Capitalism;
    1. We need to use military hospitals, hotels, taxis, the army, National Guard, Corp of Engineers
    2. Build mobile hospitals and testing centers
    3. Better funding of community health centers
    4. More support for state and local governments
      1. Zero interest loans and grants
      2. Fed govt takes over all costs of Medicaid for duration of crisis
    1. Use emergency power to go after price gouging
    2. Use emergency powers to push increased production of medical devices, medicine, and research and development of treatment and vaccination



L. Randall Wray

Senior Scholar, Levy Economics Institute


Professor of Economics, Bard College


Emeritus Professor, University of Missouri-Kansas City

Co-editor Journal of Post Keynesian Economics
ISSN 0160-3477 (Print), 1557-7821 (Online)


Recent Books:

A Great Leap Forward: Heterodox Economic Policy for the 21st Century; Randall Wray; Paperback ISBN: 9780128193808; Academic Press; Published Date: 22nd January 2020;


Macroeconomics; Author(s): William Mitchell, L. Randall Wray, Martin Watts; Red Globe Press, Macmillan International; February 2019;


Why Minsky Matters: An Introduction to the work of a maverick economist, Princeton University Press


Modern Money Theory: a primer on macroeconomics for sovereign monetary systems, Palgrave Macmillan 




Please make note of my new email address as I will be transitioning all email to:


From: AFEEMAIL Discussion List <[log in to unmask]> on behalf of Dell Champlin <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wednesday, March 18, 2020 12:38 PM
[log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [AFEEMAIL] COVID-19 Pandemic


Thanks, Geoff, for posting this. 


The contrast with our “leader” is heartbreaking for those of us in the US.




Sent from Mail for Windows 10


From: Geoff Hodgson
Sent: Wednesday, March 18, 2020 10:21 AM
[log in to unmask]
Subject: COVID-19 Pandemic


Dear All


Thanks for the interesting discussion of what should be done to deal with the COVID

-19 pandemic. I paste below the text of President Macron’s speech of 16 March.


Compare and contrast with US and UK “leaders”.


Best wishes

Geoff Hodgson


President Emmanuele Macron      16 March 2020

“We are at war. This is a war of sanitation. We are struggling against an enemy we can’t see. We are at war. We need everyone to fight this enemy. Nobody can break this new rule.

We are at war. Everyone, every leader of all parts of French society, we call upon you to fight together. We must care for everyone. We cannot let anyone slip through the net.

Special medical services will be available for the elderly. Things will be available in your pharmacies on Wednesday.

Keep our children safe. We owe them a duty of care and safety. I assure everyone that money does not matter. We will open hotels, we will use taxis as ambulances, we will use the army and their ambulances. We will use military hospitals. We are at war.

We must take this decision to protect everyone. If you are French and overseas, come home now.

The consequences of this war will require everyone to make sacrifices.
We will support everyone economically. No company, whatever it is, will be put at the risk of bankruptcy. No individual will suffer .

We will defer all payments for taxes, rents, so nobody is left without resources.

We will massively widen social security payments.

We will work with our economic advisers to ensure security for all.

We cannot say how long this will go on. We are guided by experts. We continue to work to finding treatment.

I say to each of you I will tell you the truth at every stage of this war. If we work together as citizens, my dear people, we will accept and bear these constraints. We will all do this.

These are things which we know. A lot of things we thought to be impossible are happening. Remember this, on the day after we have finally won this war, we will never be the same. We will be stronger. We will be united. We can win this war together.”





Geoffrey M Hodgson

Professor in Management at Loughborough University London

Editor in Chief, Journal of Institutional Economics

Secretary of the World Interdisciplinary Network for Institutional Research (WINIR)

Secretary of Millennium Economics Ltd

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Erik Dean, Ph. D.
Instructor of Economics,
Portland Community College
Research Scholar, Global Institute for Sustainable Prosperity
Portland, OR 97203