This morning, a Wyoming newspaper, The Casper Star Tribune, published a short article about two republican senators:
“Wyoming Republican Sens. John Barrasso and Mike Enzi are critical of federal pollution limits on new power plants. Barrasso says the Obama administration regulations will prevent construction of new coal plants, shut down American energy development, destroy jobs and drive up energy prices. Barrasso says President Barack Obama is hostile to all forms of fossil fuels, including cleaner burning natural gas. Enzi says the president’s policies are driving up gasoline prices and now he is trying to make electricity unaffordable, too. He says the country needs more prudent policies from the Obama administration that take more than ideology into account.”
After reading this article, I realized that although I have talked about parts of this issue, by addressing the fact that climate change is real and the fact that the GOP has got to stop using God as an excuse to delay action on climate matters, there is another aspect that must be addressed–the fact that we have got to stop putting the pursuit of the dollar above the environment.
The statements made here by Barrasso and Enzi are insulting. I say this because I assume that they are smart enough men to know they are participating in this great lie about climate change and I am insulted that they think I am stupid enough to believe them. When they say that the president is participating in an act of ideology by using the scientific method they are misrepresenting the entire problem. This repugnant idea that we have to make a choice between our economy and our environment is simply a falsehood.
The truth is that if we use the tools of economics correctly, we can find ways to earn money and create jobs while converting to a more ecologically conscientious economy. We can do this without ever venturing into the world of socialism. In fact, counter to the prevailing republican representation of a socialist agenda being held by the President and the politics of the left who support him, I am here to tell you that this hardcore lefty believes in the wonders of capitalism and I am not alone. Some of the finest minds of our time have been working to solve the issues of distributing scarce resources and even in the most innovative tools amongst them, like Ecological Economics, use capitalism as the driving idea behind them.
We’ve heard from all the squeaky wheels on the republican right lately, that regulating big business will kill the economy, but capitalism actually teaches us to that government intervention is a key tool in keeping market failures in check. One kind of market failure that most people are familiar with is a monopoly. We’ve all seen how prices skyrocket under this system, and we’ve all grown pretty fat and happy without complaint as the federal regulatory commissions broke up the monopolies that AT&T once held on long distance transmission lines.
Once competition broke into that market in the late 90′s, the cost of long distance calls went down, the market grew, and everyone including AT&T benefited. The government makes these kinds of regulatory interventions on free market capitalism all the time, and there is no reason at all to imply that a government official or agency who acts in favor of capitalism by imposing a regulation to correct a free market failure is in any way against capitalism.
When we burn fossil fuels to produce energy, we produce greenhouse gasses that cause the planet to warm, we create other pollutants such as mercury that contaminate our waterways, we create risk of oil spills, we create damage to the land where we drill and mine and we all know this. The president has acted in coordination with other government agencies to regulate these external costs on society. That is him doing his job. I do not fault him, I applaud him.
I wish I could say the same for the other men whose job it is to represent m,e but the fact is that Mike Enzi and John Barrasso are trying to frame the President and other lawmakers who act against the market failure of global warming with various forms of government regulation as a threat to our nation. This is a bogus misrepresentation.
I believe that they are perpetrating this lie because they are under the thumb of the oil, gas and coal industry. It takes only a few minutes of research to find that several websites that list coal, oil and gas donors as being top contributors to Mike Enzi’s campaign for the most recent fund-raising cycle. It looks as though he has taken nearly $20,000 in coal monies and more than $120,000 in oil/gas contributions , which is nearly 20% of his fundraising efforts. John Barrasso also received nearly $470,000 in contributions from the oil and gas industry, which makes up nearly 20% of his cash on hand.
Maybe, to those outside Wyoming, this sounds like small change, but here in Wyoming, this is big money. I would also point out that whether this is chump change or not is irrelevant, the fact is that accepting big oil money to deny climate change is an assault on your own grandchildren. Mike Enzi apparently values his grandchildren’s future at about 140 grand and John Barrasso to sold his grand-kids out for less than half a million dollars.
Next time you see Mike Enzi or John Barrasso’ name on a ballot, don’t forget that if they’ll sell out their own grandchildren… They’ll sell you out too.
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