Club Soda and Salt

No more stains

This Just In: The President Can’t Read

Posted by clubsodaandsalt on January 11, 2004

Obviously, I’ve been enjoying this whole situation immensely. It’s a pretty good example of why I don’t get how anyone with an education (who is not a CEO) can support the Bushies. Do you really need that much more in tax cuts? What are you gonna buy, one more Ipod mini?

This all coincides nicely with what I’ve been reading in the excellent “Bushwhacked“. It’s chock full of examples of politics and ideology (the gubmint is always bad!) triumphing over policy in this White House. For example:

In 1995, when the Republicans killed it, the Superfund Trust had $3.3 billion left in it and bills coming due. By 2002 it was down to $100 million… Bush could have picked up some easy environmental points on this one, but both he and Christine Whitman oppose reinstating the tax.

Superfund was funded via a tax on polluters, and the money was used to clean up various contaminated sites throughout the country. It was a nice compromise. It was like the companies were paying for less regulation (you know, a lot like that whole pollution-for-sale system that libertarians and righties are constantly on about). Yet, the Gingrich crew scrapped it, and the Bushies refuse to support its revival. As a result, tens of contaminated sites have been defunded. Why? Well, besides the fact that Bush is funded by big chemical interests like Union Carbide, you have to remember that the GOVERNMENT IS ALWAYS EVIL. TAXES ARE ALL BAD. And so on.

Coming, as I do, from a country where the government has been allowed to run utilities, airlines, and many industries into the ground, I can certainly sympathize with a distrust of government intervention. HOWEVER. What folks on the right love to ignore is that while gubmint should stay out of most things, there are certain situations where these things called “externalities” occur. When this happens, the government needs to sort things out, usually through taxes, subsidies, or some manner of regulation. Pollution is literally a textbook example of a negative externality. No, seriously, pick up a macro text if you doubt me. And yet, libertarians and conservatives insist that the government should stay out of regulating polluters. Then they wonder why it’s impossible to take them seriously. Guys, the government is sometimes useful. Just as not everything about American foreign policy is as evil as many lefties would have you believe, not everything about goverment is doomed to fail. Given that you guys control every branch of government at the moment, it’d be nice if you examined and judged specific policies like Superfund on their merits rather than shouting “Socialism!” every chance you get.


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