Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Marketplace Knows Best--Not

Big Business has repeatedly claimed that there is a “market” solution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions while it opposes any kind of legislated emission standards. They have been saying this for decades. OK, so show us what you have done. Very little, it seems. It is the usual cycle: Democratic administration proposed new standards, Republicans block them, businesses oppose them. Businesses promise that they will “voluntarily” seek ways to reduce emissions, and get away with weakened regulations. Then years pass and businesses essentially do nothing until the next environmental crisis comes along. Threats of additional regulations, Republican blocking, business opposition and more promises to improve their environmentally-unfriendly record. Off the hook, they do nothing. Over and over again the cycle is repeated.

Perhaps Sen. Lisa Murkowsky of Alaska, pushing an amendment banning the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases through the Clean Air Act, hopes that her state will become some tropical playground if all the glaciers melt away—except that outside a few mountain tops-turned-islands, there won’t be much of Alaska left if that ever happened. Because the purpose of the Clean Air Act is to limit pollutants in the air that effect human health, it is a way to bypass the head-in-the-sand types who deny that global warming is “man-made.” Green house gases like carbon dioxide and methane, as well as carbon monoxide, have potentially harmful effects on humans if present in large quantities, and the EPA is mandated by the Act to regulate those gases. But the Murkowsky amendment would essentially strip away that authority if it was even suspected of being used to combat global warming. The cost of this corporate-sponsored mendacity is not merely human health, but untold billions more in health care costs.

Meanwhile, the current BP oil spill catastrophe had its genesis when Dick Cheney and his still secret energy task force decided that certain safeguards in off-shore drilling were "unnecessary." It is somewhat disingenuous to all of a sudden lay the blame on Obama for this mes when conservatives and their corporate masters repeatedly demand a "hands-off" approach to business activities. "The marketplace knows best," they repeat ad nauseum. No regulation is necessary, the anti-big government advocates say. Well, Obama is taking them at their word. And now we see how “marketplace solutions” work in reality. When big business screws-up, people all of a sudden want “big government” to fix the mess. What shameless hypocrites.

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