A no-brainer stimulus idea: Electrify USPS mail trucks

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Electric vehicles for the US Postal Service would reduce noise, air, and carbon pollution in every community.

With the US trapped in a historic lockdown, everyone agrees that enormous federal spending is necessary to keep the economy going over the next year and beyond — and everyone has their own ideas about how, exactly, that federal spending should be targeted. A whole genre of essays and white papers devoted to clever stimulus plans has developed almost overnight.

I’ve contributed to that genre: Go here for my ideal recovery/stimulus plan, here for what I think Democrats’ bottom-line demands should be in stimulus negotiations, here for my take on the wisdom of investing in clean energy, and here for why devoting stimulus money to fossil fuels is short-sighted.

Now I want to offer a much more modest idea — a fun idea, even. It’s a win-win-win proposal that would be worth doing even if the economy were at full employment, but a total no-brainer in an economy that needs a kickstart. The cost would be a tiny rounding error amid the trillions of dollars of stimulus being contemplated, and it would produce outsized social benefits in the form of improved public health, more efficient public services, and lower climate pollution.

I’m talking about electrifying mail trucks.

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Outlook on Jobs for Teens Worsens

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Massachusetts teens marched to the State House in Boston to protest cuts in financing for jobs.

This year is shaping up to be even worse than last for the millions of high school and college students looking for summer jobs.  State and local governments, traditionally among the biggest seasonal employers, are knee-deep in budget woes, and the stimulus money that helped cushion some government job programs last summer is running out. Private employers are also reluctant to hire until the economy shows more solid signs of recovery.

 

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Four Large U.S. Cities That Made it Through the Recession with Smallest Increase in Joblessness

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Aerospace manufacturing in Oklahoma City

The four large U.S. cities that have made it through the Great Recession with the smallest increases in unemployment, Minneapolis, Oklahoma City, Buffalo and Rochester, New York, don’t have much else in common. But a government report shows they’ve had the smallest increases in joblessness over the past two years among cities with at least 1 million people. None of the four relies on heavy manufacturing industries, such as autos or steel, which have been hit hard by the downturn. And all have avoided the extremes of the housing boom and bust that devastated much of California, Florida and Nevada.

 

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