Just want to add two quick things here:
 This short-sighted preoccupation with economic growth, as part of national policy, is actually a fairly recent phenomenon. When GDP measures were initially introduced as a regular feature of national accounting (which was only in the 1940s), they were at first used towards highly specific objectives – admittedly, back then, stimulating employment was frequently one of them. And those were the dark-ages. For an example of what I mean by this, look no further than the words of U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Morgenthau at Bretton Woods (1943): “… [it is an] elementary economic axiom … that prosperity has no fixed limits. It is not a finite substance to be diminished by division.” By the 1950s, economic growth had become an end in its own right.
 In addition to the substance of Rachel’s linked article, Japan provides another powerful lesson for those enlightened few [yes, that’s us] that have come to see economic systems as subsystems of the geobiosphere: it is that a significant decrease in GDP energy density can be achieved while maintaining a high GDP. That is, the Japanese managed to markedly decrease their *per-dollar* carbon footprint to one of the lowest in the developed world without actually *lowering* their output. They pulled this off mostly in the decade prior to the commencement of the current recession. It may not be zero-growth, but it’s certainly a start.
– Lawrence H. Summers, director of Obama’s National Economic Council.
Good overview of new U.S. federal budget break-down: