America needs to re-invent itself in a very real sense to face the challenges that Globalization has brought to its door. The Obama administration can lead this transformational process by taking on an audacious initiative, which I'll dub the "Greenshot". The Greenshot is like the Moonshot; a well-defined goal that is just out of reach.
The idea is to make the automobile internal combustion engine completely obsolete. This will set into motion several virtuous cycles which will bring about radical transformations in the daily lives of Americans. A multipronged approach will be taken towards this goal.
The combined buying power of the American people will allow them to tap vast economies of scale in both research, and development. The US demand for foreign oil will be completely eliminated. DARPA should lead this initiative, as the Greenshot really is about defense.
There will be federally-funded jobs in education, research & development, and even manufacturing.
Educational programs and vocational training programs will retrain workers for green collar jobs. For example:
1. researching green energy sources, such as solar, wind, ocean, geothermal, and biological energy.
2. research and development to extend the range of electric vehicles.
3. building charging stations for electric vehicles.
4. developing a new smart grid, hardened against cyber-intrusion by its very design.
The "Made in USA" brand will rise. Oil will depreciate.
Future Americans will be living in a post-petroleum world, eventually. It is just a matter of when. Making this watershed event happen on purpose, gives us strategic insights into the future.
These insights can be applied to public policy to great advantage.
For example, having a concrete goal like the Greenshot provides a roadmap to educators.
The educational curriculum should reflect which skills are likely to be useful in an electric future.
The research will all be public domain, and the software, all open source.
Innovation will be participatory. Grassroots innovation will crawl out of America's garages and transform her.
Yes, we can.