Published on December 1st, 2017 | by Zachary Shahan0
How Republican Lawmakers Finally Aim To Cut Carbon Emissions
December 1st, 2017 by Zachary Shahan
Billionaires are sitting on islands of cash. Large corporations are as well. The middle class and poor, not so much. Nonetheless, there’s a popular myth that’s been making the rounds for decades (especially in Republican circles, but even much more broadly). This myth says that giving the super rich more money will result in better economic outcomes than giving the middle class and poor more money.
One obvious reason that’s nonsense is that the poor and middle class will go out and spend more money today if they get it (since there are plenty of things they could buy and would like to buy but can’t currently afford), whereas people and corporations already sitting on billions of dollars won’t do so … because they’re already having trouble finding economically helpful ways to use the insane amount of money they have.
The “cool thing” is that the results of Reagan and Bush tax cuts have already shown us that the magical economic boost Republicans promised for these was basically a myth. The not cool thing — Republicans continue to push this B.S., and are even pushing more jacked up versions of such tax cuts, ones that really shaft the middle class and poor while giving more cash to billionaires.
Hold those thoughts in your head a moment while I jump to something else.
Another myth Republican politicians love to push is the myth that killing regulations is inherently good for the economy. No, not so much.
Some regulations protect us from human-killing pollution. Without those regulations, more Americans die at a younger age. That results in a cost to our society and economy.
Some regulations don’t allow Wall Street to gamble with our economy or rip people off, which protects our economy from debilitating collapse (i.e., economic recessions like the one Obama and a Democrat-led Congress pulled us out of).
Can you see the problem here with “regulations hurt the economy” myth and similarly simplistic and false claims?
◊ Cutting taxes on billionaires and megacorporations while taking money and services away from the middle class and poor is more likely to hurt the economy than help it.
◊ Cutting regulations that protect human health and our economic stability hurts our society and economy.
Of course, Republican politicians illogically or treasonously support those cuts while claiming incorrectly that they will help the economy. They’ve been making such incorrect claims for years. Somehow, they still get away with it and much of the public and media consider the Republican Party the “pro-economy” and “pro-jobs” party — doesn’t make any sense.
But maybe this is all just a secret Republican plan to try to cut CO2 emissions — the long way around.
Now, you may be confused for a moment if you think, “hey, tax cuts for the rich just give the rich more money, but don’t take anything away from the rest of us.” Not exactly. Cutting taxes (even further) on the rich and megacorporations means removing trillions of dollars from government revenue. To “balance the budget,” that means funding for various government programs and departments will have to go away. Who does it hurt when public education, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the EPA have their funding cut? That’s right, it doesn’t directly and immediately hurt super rich people who put theirs kids in private schools, who can pay for health care in other ways, and who can live in clean communities far from power plants. It does hurt average Americans and society as a whole (the point that many short-sighted and selfish rich donors never seem to understand).
What’s the long-term result? A weaker (if not crashing) economy. A worse environment and thus higher numbers of premature death, disease, and suffering from pollution. A less equipped public with a weaker social safety net. Think that helps the U.S. economy? Not so much.
Pros & Cons of Republican Approach to Cutting CO2 Emissions
Pro: The next U.S. economic recession or depression — driven by a combination of wealth inequality and underregulation — will significantly cut U.S. CO2 emissions in the medium term.
Pro: The next U.S. economic recession or depression — driven by a combination of wealth inequality and underregulation — will have ramifications globally that significantly cut non-U.S. CO2 emissions in the medium term.
Pro: Shortened human lifespans mean less emissions from those people.
Con: The cuts cost us countless jobs rather than resulting in hundreds of thousands of new cleantech jobs, hurting our economy and society rather than helping our economy and society.
Con: The cuts are the result of more human hardship and suffering rather than innovation and technological transition or societal evolution.
Con: Some of the cuts are the result of prematurely lost human lives.
So, what do you think overall? Was the job-creating, economy-boosting approach of Obama and the Democrats better? Or is this new (yet also old) Republican approach better? (Admittedly, we’re yet to see the results of this round of the Republican approach. But the result of previous, less drastic rounds give some historical perspective of what we can expect.)