Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Jobs or a healthy environment? – the wrong debate


Those who say our environmental regulations have put our businesses in a strangle hold are framing the debate that should be going on in our country the wrong way. We should be talking about moving our economics to a sustainable path—a path our economy has not been on since it began. Our economy has been using our environment as a magical resources planet where anything businesses want they take without recompense to the public and a toilet for pollution. The system is not working for the planet, though it is making the rich, richer, and the poor, poorer.

This present debate where what little rules and regulations there are to keep what little is left of a healthy environment should be cut completely away for a system of economics that treats our environment with distain is depraved. Talking about how many jobs are lost due to keeping our air and water clean may make sense to some, but it’s crazy. It’s crazy to put the ideologies of some above the need to keep an environment we can survive in.

A Debate Arises on Job Creation vs. Environmental Regulation - NYTimes.com Republicans and business groups say yes, arguing that environmental protection is simply too expensive for a battered economy. They were quick to claim victory Friday after the Obama administration abandoned stricter ozone pollution standards. Many economists agree that regulation comes with undeniable costs that can affect workers. Factories may close because of the high cost of cleanup, or owners may relocate to countries with weaker regulations. (September 4, 2011) The New York Times - Breaking News, World News & Multimedia

The real debate we should be having is to focus on what we need to clean up our environment and protect ourselves from Climate Change, and then figure out how we can pay ourselves to do all that. We can change our economics, though the rich and powerful have made it so that it’s almost unthinkable to consider, but we cannot change the laws of physics.

If we were so insane as to put a political party in charge that only catered to the corporate agenda to gobble up more of the planet’s resources, like coal and oil, without regard to their environmental cost so they can decide who works were are in trouble. The history of business as usual is to take from our environment and leave the mess behind as Brownfields when they can no longer make it profitable.

The debate now going on should be about jobs and our environment: How best can we put everyone to work and make our environment sustainable? Attacking environmental regulations because they impinge on present-day business practices is an argument that we should no longer be having because it assumes that present-day business practices are more important than surviving. Somehow we have to relieve ourselves of this present economic delusion that doesn’t work.

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