Last month President Obama finally unveiled a serious economic stimulus plan — far short of what I’d like to see, but a step in the right direction. Republicans, predictably, have blocked it. But the new plan, combined with the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations, seems to have shifted the national conversation. We are, suddenly, focused on what we should have been talking about all along: jobs.
So what is the G.O.P. jobs plan? The answer, in large part, is to allow more pollution. So what you need to know is that weakening environmental regulations would do little to create jobs and would make us both poorer and sicker…
Do you really need that explained to you? Are you as delusional as the Republican Party?
The important thing to understand is that the case for pollution control isn’t based on some kind of aesthetic distaste for industrial society. Pollution does real, measurable damage, especially to human health.
And policy makers should take that damage into account. We need more politicians like the courageous governor who supported environmental controls on a coal-fired power plant, despite warnings that the plant might be closed, because “I will not create jobs or hold jobs that kill people.”
Actually, that was Mitt Romney, back in 2003 — the same politician who now demands that we use more coal.
How big are these damages? A new study by researchers at Yale and Middlebury College brings together data from a variety of sources to put a dollar value on the environmental damage various industries inflict. The estimates are far from comprehensive, since they only consider air pollution…
For it turns out that there are a number of industries inflicting environmental damage that’s worth more than the sum of the wages they pay and the profits they earn — which means, in effect, that they destroy value rather than create it. High on the list, by the way, is coal-fired electricity generation, which the Mitt Romney-that-was used to stand up to.
As the study’s authors say, finding that an industry inflicts large environmental damage compared with its apparent economic return doesn’t necessarily mean that the industry should be shut down. What it means, instead, is that “the regulated levels of emissions from the industry are too high.” That is, environmental regulations aren’t strict enough.
Republicans ignore studies like that, the overwhelming body of industrial environment studies, BTW. Why start letting facts get in the way of profits for their largest contributors? Mining, power production industries are among the largest contributors to congressional Republicans. Simple-minded politicians who live the country-club life.
Their families, their kids are OK, Jack. The rest of us can go scramble for clean air and clean water whether we can afford it or not. There hasn’t been a Republican in office that I can recall fighting against pollution since that era before Ronald Reagan. Someone like that certainly wouldn’t be supported by today’s RNC or the KoolAid Party.