So see if you can follow this train of thought.
I was in listening to Pandora in the shower (where all good ideas emerge) thinking about how I need to add Martha Scanlan to my list. Then, I began to think of the beautiful cd cover:
And I thought, “Gee, it would be nice to get up to Montana or where ever that picture was taken. But in reality, I doubt I’ll ever be able to buy land up there. Good thing we have parks.”
Then I thought, “Hey, why don’t we expand the parks system right now?” And then, this idea emerged to resolve our housing, economic, and climate concerns:
1. The federal government offers banks the ability to write off the losses of their foreclosures (the ones that they rightfully seized) for the next three years (this may already be a choice for them, I’m not sure).
2. The banks then give the properties to the local governments where they are secured as parks for the next 100 years.
3. The foreclosed homes are then deconstructed. Compensation for workers would be a living wage with half of it provided by the banks and half of it provided by the federal government.
4. After the homes are deconstructed, the workers then plant native trees, shrubs, and grasses.
The result would be:
1. A reduction in the excess capacity of homes that are currently driving prices down, allowing prices to stabilize and eventually rise (creating more confidence in the market).
2. It would offer jobs to folks who are currently out of work or in jobs that pay too little.
3. It would even add a little bit of CO2-sucking greenery to not only provide better views, but work a little bit (very little bit) against climate change and all of the terrible weather we have been facing around the country.
Of course, this idea likely neglects several realities about property rights and bank’s rights. However, I’m not really sure that we should be so concerned with the latter after this entire financial-sector-led-economic-disaster (my initial preference would be for the government to seize the foreclosures from the banks). Still, a similar idea is already being done on some level in communities such as Cleveland – but the homes were sold to local governments then and since most local governments are tight on finances now, they can’t afford to purchase it, but probably wouldn’t mind if it was donated!
All this idea took, was a little music on Pandora and a little Martha Scanlan.
With the professional people who think and create policies for a living, we should have an unending flow of ideas coming from all over the place. Yet, all we hear is more tax-cuts, less regulation, debt ceiling shenanigans, and then pure silence from the Democrats who are just happy that the GOP is taking all of this flack from Rep. Ryan’s budget.
To date, it seems as though these Very Important People (as Paul Krugman refers to them) are all too concerned with the next election and the preservation of the status quo. So rather than risk anything, they play it safe. And while they play it safe, millions of people struggle and suffer.
We need more ideas and more imagination – preferably before 2012.