Hochul signs partial cryptocurrency mining ban into New York law

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Wednesday, November 23, 2022

ALBANY, N.Y. — New York will instate a two-year moratorium on new fossil fuel-powered cryptocurrency mining operations as the state works to balance its economic development and climate goals. Gov. Kathy Hochul on Tuesday signed the controversial measure into law that would create the first-in-the-nation temporary pause on new permits for fossil fuel power plants that house proof-of-work cryptocurrency mining, which is a process used in the transaction of digital money. Hochul, who had punted on the issue for months after the Legislature passed the bill in June, was elected to a full term Nov. 8. Upstate New York has become attractive to companies that “mine” digital currencies, including Bitcoin, because of the availability of former power plants and manufacturing sites with unused electrical infrastructure. But Hochul said that the moratorium is an important step to avoid increased emissions from the industry restarting old power plants as she guides the state toward ambitious climate goals. “As the first governor from upstate New York in nearly a century, I recognize the importance of creating economic opportunity in communities that have been left behind,” the Democratic governor from Buffalo said in the memo accompanying her approval. “I am signing this legislation into law to build on New York’s nation-leading Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, the most aggressive climate and clean energy law in the nation, while also continuing our steadfast efforts to support economic development and job creation in upstate New York.” The new law will also trigger a study by state Department of Environmental Conservation to study the impacts of the cryptocurrency mining industry on the environment. The measure was hotly debated in the halls of the state Capitol this year, with environmental groups pushing lawmakers and Hochul to support the bill and the industry urging Hochul to reject it. “Thank you, Governor Hochul, for stepping up to protect New Yorkers from corporate bullies who want to exploit communities like mine in the Finger Lakes,” Yvonne Taylor, vice president of Seneca Lake Guardian, an environmental group that has pushed for the closure of a local gas-powered cryptocurrency facility. “The crypto industry is going to whine that this is a blow, but it's not.” The bill is narrow in scope, despite its groundbreaking steps. The state's roughly dozen operations that draw power from the grid would not be affected, nor would individuals purchasing or mining for cryptocurrency or other blockchain activities. And the moratorium on new or renewed permits doesn’t apply if the company has already filed paperwork to operate in New York. Still, the law has raised concern in the industry that it would lead to other states to follow suit and hurt the industry, which has already faced a difficult stretch among investors. In June, the state denied a key permit for a gas powered cryptocurrency mining operation in the Finger Lakes, saying the Greenidge facility was spewing too much planet-warming pollution to be allowed under the state’s climate law. But the company is fighting the decision, and the plant continues to operate. Business groups ripped Hochul for signing the ban into law. “The Business Council does not believe the legislature should seek to categorically limit the growth and expansion of any business or sector in New York,” the group said in a statement. “We plan to further engage and help educate them regarding this industry and the benefits it provides to the local, regional and state economy.”

The law would create the first-in-the-nation temporary pause on new permits for fossil fuel power plants that house proof-of-work cryptocurrency mining.


ALBANY, N.Y. — New York will instate a two-year moratorium on new fossil fuel-powered cryptocurrency mining operations as the state works to balance its economic development and climate goals.

Gov. Kathy Hochul on Tuesday signed the controversial measure into law that would create the first-in-the-nation temporary pause on new permits for fossil fuel power plants that house proof-of-work cryptocurrency mining, which is a process used in the transaction of digital money. Hochul, who had punted on the issue for months after the Legislature passed the bill in June, was elected to a full term Nov. 8.

Upstate New York has become attractive to companies that “mine” digital currencies, including Bitcoin, because of the availability of former power plants and manufacturing sites with unused electrical infrastructure. But Hochul said that the moratorium is an important step to avoid increased emissions from the industry restarting old power plants as she guides the state toward ambitious climate goals.

“As the first governor from upstate New York in nearly a century, I recognize the importance of creating economic opportunity in communities that have been left behind,” the Democratic governor from Buffalo said in the memo accompanying her approval.

“I am signing this legislation into law to build on New York’s nation-leading Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, the most aggressive climate and clean energy law in the nation, while also continuing our steadfast efforts to support economic development and job creation in upstate New York.”

The new law will also trigger a study by state Department of Environmental Conservation to study the impacts of the cryptocurrency mining industry on the environment.

The measure was hotly debated in the halls of the state Capitol this year, with environmental groups pushing lawmakers and Hochul to support the bill and the industry urging Hochul to reject it.

“Thank you, Governor Hochul, for stepping up to protect New Yorkers from corporate bullies who want to exploit communities like mine in the Finger Lakes,” Yvonne Taylor, vice president of Seneca Lake Guardian, an environmental group that has pushed for the closure of a local gas-powered cryptocurrency facility. “The crypto industry is going to whine that this is a blow, but it's not.”

The bill is narrow in scope, despite its groundbreaking steps. The state's roughly dozen operations that draw power from the grid would not be affected, nor would individuals purchasing or mining for cryptocurrency or other blockchain activities. And the moratorium on new or renewed permits doesn’t apply if the company has already filed paperwork to operate in New York.

Still, the law has raised concern in the industry that it would lead to other states to follow suit and hurt the industry, which has already faced a difficult stretch among investors.

In June, the state denied a key permit for a gas powered cryptocurrency mining operation in the Finger Lakes, saying the Greenidge facility was spewing too much planet-warming pollution to be allowed under the state’s climate law. But the company is fighting the decision, and the plant continues to operate.

Business groups ripped Hochul for signing the ban into law.

“The Business Council does not believe the legislature should seek to categorically limit the growth and expansion of any business or sector in New York,” the group said in a statement. “We plan to further engage and help educate them regarding this industry and the benefits it provides to the local, regional and state economy.”

Read the full story here.
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Costa Rica on Track to Shelve Escazu Environmental Agreement

The emblematic Escazú Agreement on environmental protection approved by Latin American countries in 2018, is about to fall into oblivion in Costa Rica, one of its promoters, in the face of the rejection of the government, the majority of Congress and businessmen, who see it as a brake on economic reactivation. Costa Rica has been […] The post Costa Rica on Track to Shelve Escazu Environmental Agreement appeared first on The Tico Times | Costa Rica News | Travel | Real Estate.

The emblematic Escazú Agreement on environmental protection approved by Latin American countries in 2018, is about to fall into oblivion in Costa Rica, one of its promoters, in the face of the rejection of the government, the majority of Congress and businessmen, who see it as a brake on economic reactivation. Costa Rica has been a “vanguard country, with positions always in favor of the environment and human rights”, says Nicolás Boeglin, professor of international law at the University of Costa Rica, to AFP. For this reason, says the academic, it is inexplicable that the Legislative Assembly intends to shelve the agreement, which guarantees access to information on environmental matters, the right of citizen participation in decisions affecting the environment and protection for nature defenders. Only the six deputies of the Frente Amplio (left) are determined to extend the period of discussion in Congress, but 29 votes are needed. If the deadline, which expires on February 1, is not extended, the Agreement will be shelved. “Costa Rica is wrong if it does not approve the Escazú Agreement because of the signal it gives. Being a country that has been at the forefront in this matter (…) to throw it overboard would be a very serious mistake”, comments Jonathan Acuña, a member of the parliament of the Front of the Amplist Front, to AFP. Boeglin estimates that “it seems [that the other deputies] are very much in agreement and very comfortable with the fact that Costa Rica is turning its back internationally on two traditional pillars of its foreign policy: the environment and human rights”. Little support Pushed by Costa Rica and Chile, the convention was signed in 2018 by 24 countries after six years of arduous negotiations. It was ratified by 14: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador, Guyana, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Uruguay. The Costa Rican delegates christened it the Escazú Agreement, the name of an upper-class municipality of San José where its negotiation was closed, and it was signed in New York in September 2018 in the framework of the UN General Assembly. “The current scenario indicates that there is little support from the deputies and deputies,” the Ministry of Environment said in a note. “However, in a country like Costa Rica, where there is a very good protection of human rights, very good protection of the environment and a whole process of validation of the environmental impact of projects […] it will not affect anything if the Escazú Agreement is not approved,” it added. At the CELAC Summit held this week in Buenos Aires, Chilean President Gabriel Boric urged not to let the Agreement die.  It’s not on the agenda The Costa Rican Parliament approved the agreement in February 2020 with 44 votes in favor (out of 57 parliamentarians) and none against. However, a year later the Constitutional Chamber of the Supreme Court annulled the vote for “procedural flaws” and alleged lack of prior consultation with the Judiciary. “Most of what is contained in the Escazu Agreement, Costa Rica already has in its own legislation, the couple of things that would be new would be a monumental obstacle for any future development project of the country,” according to Liberal Congressman Eli Fienzag. Other parliamentarians and the president of Costa Rica, Rodrigo Chaves, do not like this Latin American pact either. “The private sector should be reassured that the Escazú Agreement is not on the government’s agenda […], I do not think it would be beneficial for the country”, said the president after taking office in May 2022. According to Chaves, if ratified, it would “unjustifiably” delay the economic reactivation after the covid-19 pandemic. Attacks against businesses The Costa Rican Union of Chambers and Associations of the Business Sector (Uccaep) supported the president’s words through a letter. “Said agreement attempts against the legal security of the companies and the economic reactivation”, says the missive. “When what we need are measures of economic reactivation, this initiative that does not contain a single point to boost production is being promoted,” said Uccaep’s president, José Álvaro Jenkins, in the letter. But the NGO MarViva, which operates in Latin American tropical Pacific nations, affirms that “contrary to what is argued” by the businessmen, the ratification of the Agreement would be beneficial for Costa Rica’s economy. “Rather, it is a guarantee in the investment climate, which would facilitate the creation of added value for those productive activities that are developed in accordance with the provisions of the agreement”, says to AFP the manager of Political Advocacy of MarViva, Katherine Arroyo. The post Costa Rica on Track to Shelve Escazu Environmental Agreement appeared first on The Tico Times | Costa Rica News | Travel | Real Estate.

Can video games change people’s minds about the climate crisis?

A new wave of game makers are attempting to influence a generation of environmentally conscious players. Will it work, and is it enough?“It was scary. It made you realise how, despite all the sophistication of modern society, we’re still reliant on water falling from the sky.” Sam Alfred, the lead designer at Cape Town-based video game studio Free Lives, vividly remembers his city nearly running out of water. During 2018, the area surrounding South Africa’s second largest city suffered months of dwindling rainfall. Dams were unable to replenish themselves at the rate its inhabitants required. Water was rationed. Businesses shut. The situation even called for its own grim version of the Doomsday Clock: hour by hour, the city ticked ever closer to Day Zero, marking the end of its fresh water supply.Terra Nil, the video game that Alfred has been developing since 2019, is a response to these terrifying events. Dubbed a “city-builder in reverse”, it foregoes the consumption and expansion of genre classics such as Civilisation and SimCity to paint a picture of environmental restoration. Starting with arid desert, it’s up to the player to rewild a landscape using various technologies – a toxin scrubber, for example, or a beehive. At light-speed, and with eye-massaging flushes of emerald green and azure blue, the environment transforms into lush vegetation. Terra Nil’s simplicity is as beautiful as its visuals, offering the satisfaction of a colouring book while doling out a clear-eyed critique of environment-wrecking extraction. Continue reading...

A new wave of game makers are attempting to influence a generation of environmentally conscious players. Will it work, and is it enough?“It was scary. It made you realise how, despite all the sophistication of modern society, we’re still reliant on water falling from the sky.” Sam Alfred, the lead designer at Cape Town-based video game studio Free Lives, vividly remembers his city nearly running out of water. During 2018, the area surrounding South Africa’s second largest city suffered months of dwindling rainfall. Dams were unable to replenish themselves at the rate its inhabitants required. Water was rationed. Businesses shut. The situation even called for its own grim version of the Doomsday Clock: hour by hour, the city ticked ever closer to Day Zero, marking the end of its fresh water supply.Terra Nil, the video game that Alfred has been developing since 2019, is a response to these terrifying events. Dubbed a “city-builder in reverse”, it foregoes the consumption and expansion of genre classics such as Civilisation and SimCity to paint a picture of environmental restoration. Starting with arid desert, it’s up to the player to rewild a landscape using various technologies – a toxin scrubber, for example, or a beehive. At light-speed, and with eye-massaging flushes of emerald green and azure blue, the environment transforms into lush vegetation. Terra Nil’s simplicity is as beautiful as its visuals, offering the satisfaction of a colouring book while doling out a clear-eyed critique of environment-wrecking extraction. Continue reading...

WTO chief calls for global carbon pricing

Adopting a global carbon pricing scheme could help countries streamline supply chains and mitigate concerns about competition, according to the head of the World Trade Organization (WTO). “A shared global carbon-pricing framework would best provide certainty for businesses and predictability for developing countries,” WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said Thursday evening at the World Economic Forum’s Annual...

Adopting a global carbon pricing scheme could help countries streamline supply chains and mitigate concerns about competition, according to the head of the World Trade Organization (WTO).  “A shared global carbon-pricing framework would best provide certainty for businesses and predictability for developing countries,” WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said Thursday evening at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland. Today there are at least 70 different — and “fragmented” — carbon pricing setups around the world, according to Okonjo-Iweala. That inconsistency ultimately hampers the decarbonization of trade and supply chains, the World Economic Forum stated following Okonjo-Iweala's address. As a result, the WTO has begun working with the World Bank, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the International Monetary Fund to streamline carbon pricing, Okonjo-Iweala confirmed. In addition to expressing her support for shared global carbon pricing framework, Okonjo-Iweala also called for the elimination of “skewed” import tariffs that plague national borders today. Such tariffs, she explained, favor high-carbon imports over those whose production have generated fewer emissions. “Because of countries’ widespread tendency to impose higher tariffs on relatively clean finished goods, but lower tariffs on often more-polluting inputs and intermediates, trade policy skews in favor of dirtier products,” Okonjo-Iweala said. This discrepancy has resulted in what Okonjo-Iweala described as “an implicit subsidy” for carbon dioxide production — equivalent to between $550 billion and $800 billion per year. Eradicating this bias, she added, could decrease global carbon emissions by 3.6 percent while increasing global income by 0.65 percent. Okonjo-Iweala said she has been calling upon WTO members to bolster efforts “to liberalize trade and environmental good and services, bearing in mind all the sensitivities of developing countries.” Decarbonization of global trade and supply chains must occur in a way that is “leaving no one behind,” Okonjo-Iweala said. Developing countries, she explained, will need to obtain both “the capacity and infrastructure to demonstrate the low carbon content of their goods.” “Some have export baskets that are currently tilted heavily towards high carbon goods,” Okonjo-Iweala said. At the same time, however, she identified an opportunity for developing countries “to leapfrog” past environmentally harmful stages of development. Okonjo-Iweala emphasized the need for the scale-up and “diffusion of the green technologies that are necessary to ensure sustainable growth.” “Trade is the missing piece of the climate puzzle,” she added. “Trade is part of the solution.”

Why 2023 Is a Crucial Year in Our Economic Transformation

What now for Bidenomics? After two surprisingly, perhaps even shockingly, fruitful governing years for Democrats, the GOP—barely—holds the House. We’ve already seen the governing chaos caused by right-wing revolts against Republican leadership, and once the Kevin McCarthy saga is settled, we’ll likely see threats of investigations and impeachments. But don’t expect any substantive legislative progress.But this might be a very eventful policy year nonetheless. All eyes are now on the executive branch. The big question will be: Can the White House and the federal agencies make all of their legislative successes—the Inflation Reduction Act, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and the CHIPS and Science Act—really work for the American people? No doubt, these policies are a real break from the failures of neoliberalism. They invest public funds, from proper taxation on the wealthy and corporations who are otherwise skirting the law, in important new sectors of our future economy, from clean energy to semiconductor supply chains. They strengthen basic public scientific research. They strengthen government itself, from the IRS to the Department of Energy and more.But whether these policies will actually work is an open question. In the year ahead, policymakers will face four important “choice points.” Their decisions will make the difference between a one-off set of government grants and tax credits and the ushering in of a new political order—a true split from market-only answers, and an embrace of sustained public investment in public goods that Americans will see, understand, and maybe even reward.The four critical political economy questions for 2023: Will we plan? Will we repair? Will we embrace and amplify the role of government? And, as we seek to build roads and bridges, wind farms, and electric vehicle charging stations and semiconductor fabrication plans, will we listen to the communities who will be most affected by all of this change?Will we embrace government planning? For decades, open embrace of industrial policy was verboten. The idea that it is necessary, appropriate, and even good for the state to play a central role in deciding which industries rise and fall, how they are structured, and how they produce the goods and services we need: This was the policy that “shall not be named.” Sure, the Defense Department quietly nurtured the military-industrial complex, and various agencies enforced risk or competition regulations that made life easier or harder for industries. But they acted typically not with an explicit policy goal of onshoring or offshoring those industries, winding them up or winding them down, and almost never with job creation, worker power, and public safety in mind.Covid-19, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and a political reckoning in the U.S. with what is required to address climate change, changed all of that. Whether or not personal protective equipment, vaccines, or energy are produced at home or abroad, in friendly jurisdictions or hostile ones, these questions are no longer mostly about just-in-time logistics. They are now, more clearly than ever before, questions of life and death.Which leads to choice point number one: Does Biden let each agency that got enormous pots of money and new authorities in the last legislative session burrow into their own siloes, responsive only to their congressional overseers? Or does the president insist that all these new laws add up to more than the sum of their parts? For all of this legislation to add up strategically, as National Economic Council Director Brian Deese often insists it must, the White House will have to drive alignment across agencies and communicate clear economic and sectoral priorities. While the notion of “industrial planning” sometimes evokes more authoritarian political systems like China, the reality is that Western economies, U.S. states and localities, and well-run private sector firms all plan. Decades of research tell us that industrial strategies are more likely to be effective if they are part of an economy-wide plan, and more likely to be legitimate if this plan is inclusive, democratically decided, and accountable. What must be produced to meet the needs of a country as vast as ours? Where must it be produced to bring more of the productive capacity of our country to bear? Who should produce, and who should benefit? These questions must drive a strategic industrial plan that meets the unique challenges of the U.S. economy over the next decade. Will we repair past harms?The neoliberal era was premised on the assumption that markets would allocate capital efficiently—and, in certain ways, they did. Corporations moved manufacturing facilities where costs were low, often offshore. But they did so without regard to the kinds of things only democratically accountable governments attend to: whether the geographic distribution of economic opportunity contributes to a strong, vibrant democracy, and whether the location of new manufacturing facilities would strengthen or undermine our towns, cities, and communities. There’s a reason the narrative that Nafta cost American jobs has haunted Democrats for decades.Setting a new economic North Star is about more than producing resilient supply chains or making efficient use of nearby colleges and training centers for workforce development, however important both of those might be. It is also about repairing past harm—some of which far predates the neoliberal era, all of which was made worse by neoliberalism’s “let the market decide” dogma.In the coming years, government will write new rules and make important choices, shifting capital and structuring markets for decades to come. Where will our new manufacturing centers be located? What features, from the treatment of workers to the use of natural resources, will distinguish our most innovative, productive firms? Values beyond economic efficiency will guide those choices, and a new North Star must make those plain.One value should be to recognize and repair the harm of years of neoliberal disinvestment and extraction, both public and private. This will not be easy. The Biden administration has already pledged a “whole-of-government” approach to race equity that directs 40 percent of the benefits of investments to “disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved, and overburdened by pollution.”This is certainly a reparative move, in that it requires acknowledging past harm. Fixing past harm was, for example, the basis of the administration’s summer 2022 decision to cancel hundreds of billions of dollars in student debt. Certainly, part of the argument for debt cancellation is about borrowers’ future economic contributions, but part of the policy decision was based on Occupy Wall Street–era arguments that our current level of student debt is unfair and extractive, because borrowers who took out loans never got the degrees or employment benefits promised. Whether the Biden administration has the political backbone to design IRA, supply chain, and infrastructure policies such that they redress past harms and prevent future concentrations of economic and political power remains an open question as we head into 2023. It is a critical one.Will we make government visible?The role and reputation of government itself is also important as we begin implementation at scale. The Biden team must strengthen government’s public legitimacy by driving a visible government plan that can shift public views toward government. This will be a very tall order. Polling consistently shows that across the country, Americans of all ages and demographic backgrounds lack trust in the federal government, although Democratic and independent voters have more faith in government than do Republicans. Making government actions visible—marketing them, advertising them, taking full credit—might be risky given anti-government sentiment and the polarization of government itself, but this is a risk worth taking given how essential belief in government action is to our democracy. This will be most important for the Treasury Department. For the past decade, we’ve had policy-by-tax code, from subsidies for health insurance to Covid recovery funds. This is largely the result of Senate rules that make more sensible policymaking impossible. It is indirect, and largely invisible. As Suzanne Mettler describes, this submerges the state. Voters don’t see what is happening and can’t hold the government to account, or reward it, for outcomes. Correcting for these flaws is ultimately the job of Congress, but there are steps Treasury officials can take to add accountability, guidance, and oversight to guide these dollars in ways that align with industrial policy aims. Today’s Treasury leadership has done an admirable job of explaining itself. But government and those of us who are pro-government allies must do much, much more so that the American people understand government’s role in structuring and driving all manner of public benefits.The new economics is such an important break from the past. Getting the public to see that this is the work of government—not just a policy here or there, but an entirely new governmental approach—critical to not just the success of these laws, but to our basic democratic project.Who will we listen to, elite experts or ordinary citizens?Most people still think about neoliberalism as a pro-market, libertarian-esque economic project. But the deepest part of the neoliberal legacy is not economic per se; it is about governance. The neoliberal fight is less about left versus right, and more about who gets listened to and whose advice gets baked into policy design: the expert economist or the union member, the corporate lawyer or the movement leader.This leads to our final choice point for the coming year: As implementation decisions proceed, and our country builds out its manufacturing capacity at a blistering pace, whose expertise will the Biden administration make central? Trained experts of course matter on everything from economic to environmental effects. But so does the knowledge of line workers, nurses and orderlies, and everyday citizens. Will this administration, as it implements its $4 trillion agenda, find a smart and effective way to include the expertise of people whose lives will be most affected by the siting of the new wind farm or the implementation of health insurance directives?Many prominent thinkers are understandably worried that such local expertise—a.k.a. democracy—will hobble our ability to build good things quickly, and with it all of the good intentions of 2022’s hard-fought legislative wins. Whether the Biden team, and local and state governments around the country, devise more robust ways to get input from the people who are least often heard from may determine whether any of the 2022 legislation leaves a legacy that lasts far beyond the next few years, and whether it’s a legacy our children will be proud of.Conclusion The battle for our new economy has only just begun. Republican lawmakers are already trying to claw back critical funding. Corporate interests are lining up to take advantage of all that the new laws have to offer. The question now is whether progressives and those fighting for the public interest—less informed than businesses, and less organized, but far more important for our politics—will step effectively onto the playing field. Even with no legislative prospects in sight for the next two years, 2023 will be a critical year in our fight for the economy the American people deserve.

What now for Bidenomics? After two surprisingly, perhaps even shockingly, fruitful governing years for Democrats, the GOP—barely—holds the House. We’ve already seen the governing chaos caused by right-wing revolts against Republican leadership, and once the Kevin McCarthy saga is settled, we’ll likely see threats of investigations and impeachments. But don’t expect any substantive legislative progress.But this might be a very eventful policy year nonetheless. All eyes are now on the executive branch. The big question will be: Can the White House and the federal agencies make all of their legislative successes—the Inflation Reduction Act, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and the CHIPS and Science Act—really work for the American people? No doubt, these policies are a real break from the failures of neoliberalism. They invest public funds, from proper taxation on the wealthy and corporations who are otherwise skirting the law, in important new sectors of our future economy, from clean energy to semiconductor supply chains. They strengthen basic public scientific research. They strengthen government itself, from the IRS to the Department of Energy and more.But whether these policies will actually work is an open question. In the year ahead, policymakers will face four important “choice points.” Their decisions will make the difference between a one-off set of government grants and tax credits and the ushering in of a new political order—a true split from market-only answers, and an embrace of sustained public investment in public goods that Americans will see, understand, and maybe even reward.The four critical political economy questions for 2023: Will we plan? Will we repair? Will we embrace and amplify the role of government? And, as we seek to build roads and bridges, wind farms, and electric vehicle charging stations and semiconductor fabrication plans, will we listen to the communities who will be most affected by all of this change?Will we embrace government planning? For decades, open embrace of industrial policy was verboten. The idea that it is necessary, appropriate, and even good for the state to play a central role in deciding which industries rise and fall, how they are structured, and how they produce the goods and services we need: This was the policy that “shall not be named.” Sure, the Defense Department quietly nurtured the military-industrial complex, and various agencies enforced risk or competition regulations that made life easier or harder for industries. But they acted typically not with an explicit policy goal of onshoring or offshoring those industries, winding them up or winding them down, and almost never with job creation, worker power, and public safety in mind.Covid-19, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and a political reckoning in the U.S. with what is required to address climate change, changed all of that. Whether or not personal protective equipment, vaccines, or energy are produced at home or abroad, in friendly jurisdictions or hostile ones, these questions are no longer mostly about just-in-time logistics. They are now, more clearly than ever before, questions of life and death.Which leads to choice point number one: Does Biden let each agency that got enormous pots of money and new authorities in the last legislative session burrow into their own siloes, responsive only to their congressional overseers? Or does the president insist that all these new laws add up to more than the sum of their parts? For all of this legislation to add up strategically, as National Economic Council Director Brian Deese often insists it must, the White House will have to drive alignment across agencies and communicate clear economic and sectoral priorities. While the notion of “industrial planning” sometimes evokes more authoritarian political systems like China, the reality is that Western economies, U.S. states and localities, and well-run private sector firms all plan. Decades of research tell us that industrial strategies are more likely to be effective if they are part of an economy-wide plan, and more likely to be legitimate if this plan is inclusive, democratically decided, and accountable. What must be produced to meet the needs of a country as vast as ours? Where must it be produced to bring more of the productive capacity of our country to bear? Who should produce, and who should benefit? These questions must drive a strategic industrial plan that meets the unique challenges of the U.S. economy over the next decade. Will we repair past harms?The neoliberal era was premised on the assumption that markets would allocate capital efficiently—and, in certain ways, they did. Corporations moved manufacturing facilities where costs were low, often offshore. But they did so without regard to the kinds of things only democratically accountable governments attend to: whether the geographic distribution of economic opportunity contributes to a strong, vibrant democracy, and whether the location of new manufacturing facilities would strengthen or undermine our towns, cities, and communities. There’s a reason the narrative that Nafta cost American jobs has haunted Democrats for decades.Setting a new economic North Star is about more than producing resilient supply chains or making efficient use of nearby colleges and training centers for workforce development, however important both of those might be. It is also about repairing past harm—some of which far predates the neoliberal era, all of which was made worse by neoliberalism’s “let the market decide” dogma.In the coming years, government will write new rules and make important choices, shifting capital and structuring markets for decades to come. Where will our new manufacturing centers be located? What features, from the treatment of workers to the use of natural resources, will distinguish our most innovative, productive firms? Values beyond economic efficiency will guide those choices, and a new North Star must make those plain.One value should be to recognize and repair the harm of years of neoliberal disinvestment and extraction, both public and private. This will not be easy. The Biden administration has already pledged a “whole-of-government” approach to race equity that directs 40 percent of the benefits of investments to “disadvantaged communities that are marginalized, underserved, and overburdened by pollution.”This is certainly a reparative move, in that it requires acknowledging past harm. Fixing past harm was, for example, the basis of the administration’s summer 2022 decision to cancel hundreds of billions of dollars in student debt. Certainly, part of the argument for debt cancellation is about borrowers’ future economic contributions, but part of the policy decision was based on Occupy Wall Street–era arguments that our current level of student debt is unfair and extractive, because borrowers who took out loans never got the degrees or employment benefits promised. Whether the Biden administration has the political backbone to design IRA, supply chain, and infrastructure policies such that they redress past harms and prevent future concentrations of economic and political power remains an open question as we head into 2023. It is a critical one.Will we make government visible?The role and reputation of government itself is also important as we begin implementation at scale. The Biden team must strengthen government’s public legitimacy by driving a visible government plan that can shift public views toward government. This will be a very tall order. Polling consistently shows that across the country, Americans of all ages and demographic backgrounds lack trust in the federal government, although Democratic and independent voters have more faith in government than do Republicans. Making government actions visible—marketing them, advertising them, taking full credit—might be risky given anti-government sentiment and the polarization of government itself, but this is a risk worth taking given how essential belief in government action is to our democracy. This will be most important for the Treasury Department. For the past decade, we’ve had policy-by-tax code, from subsidies for health insurance to Covid recovery funds. This is largely the result of Senate rules that make more sensible policymaking impossible. It is indirect, and largely invisible. As Suzanne Mettler describes, this submerges the state. Voters don’t see what is happening and can’t hold the government to account, or reward it, for outcomes. Correcting for these flaws is ultimately the job of Congress, but there are steps Treasury officials can take to add accountability, guidance, and oversight to guide these dollars in ways that align with industrial policy aims. Today’s Treasury leadership has done an admirable job of explaining itself. But government and those of us who are pro-government allies must do much, much more so that the American people understand government’s role in structuring and driving all manner of public benefits.The new economics is such an important break from the past. Getting the public to see that this is the work of government—not just a policy here or there, but an entirely new governmental approach—critical to not just the success of these laws, but to our basic democratic project.Who will we listen to, elite experts or ordinary citizens?Most people still think about neoliberalism as a pro-market, libertarian-esque economic project. But the deepest part of the neoliberal legacy is not economic per se; it is about governance. The neoliberal fight is less about left versus right, and more about who gets listened to and whose advice gets baked into policy design: the expert economist or the union member, the corporate lawyer or the movement leader.This leads to our final choice point for the coming year: As implementation decisions proceed, and our country builds out its manufacturing capacity at a blistering pace, whose expertise will the Biden administration make central? Trained experts of course matter on everything from economic to environmental effects. But so does the knowledge of line workers, nurses and orderlies, and everyday citizens. Will this administration, as it implements its $4 trillion agenda, find a smart and effective way to include the expertise of people whose lives will be most affected by the siting of the new wind farm or the implementation of health insurance directives?Many prominent thinkers are understandably worried that such local expertise—a.k.a. democracy—will hobble our ability to build good things quickly, and with it all of the good intentions of 2022’s hard-fought legislative wins. Whether the Biden team, and local and state governments around the country, devise more robust ways to get input from the people who are least often heard from may determine whether any of the 2022 legislation leaves a legacy that lasts far beyond the next few years, and whether it’s a legacy our children will be proud of.Conclusion The battle for our new economy has only just begun. Republican lawmakers are already trying to claw back critical funding. Corporate interests are lining up to take advantage of all that the new laws have to offer. The question now is whether progressives and those fighting for the public interest—less informed than businesses, and less organized, but far more important for our politics—will step effectively onto the playing field. Even with no legislative prospects in sight for the next two years, 2023 will be a critical year in our fight for the economy the American people deserve.

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