There’s an election coming up this November, and the Republicans are running on their boilerplate platform of small government, less government regulation on business and lower taxes on the rich. That platform is the blueprint for disaster.
On Aug. 15, the Post-Gazette reported “Study Blames Humans for Most of Melting Glaciers: Global Warming Is the Leading Culprit; Soot Pollution and Land Use Also Play a Role.” On Aug. 16, Paul Krugman discusses the “contamination from toxic algae blooms in Lake Erie, largely caused by the runoff of phosphorus from farms” that left Toledo, Ohio, without water for several days (“Saving Lake Erie”). The column’s subhead opines that, in regard to saving the lake, “Government Regulations Can Be Pretty Helpful.”
Saying that governmental regulations “can be pretty helpful” is, of course, a massive understatement; the only important task facing us right now is keeping Planet Earth inhabitable and that task is impossible without government. Without government support, such things as the development of alternative fuels and fertilizers more friendly to the environment will never happen. Without government regulation, factories and corporate farms will continue to poison the planet.
Most of all, without government intervention, countless Americans will lose their shirts as old jobs are eliminated and new jobs are created and they can’t find a match for their skills (think, for example, of coal miners in West Virginia).
There’s an election coming up in November. Republicans say we’d be better off without effective government; I say we’d be better off without Republicans who say we don’t need strong, well-funded, compassionate government.
PAUL A. ALTER