Pollution is an ordinary part of manufacturing. For example, those shiny, chrome plated gizmos like your ballpoint pen and the reflectors of the tail lights of your car are bathed in toxic chrome when they are made and they drip chrome into the water that rinses them. Capturing that residual chrome is much more expensive than just flushing it down the drain, so chrome platers don’t much like EPA regulations that make them install expensive waste water treatment facilities. Those who own and run other companies subject to EPA regulations feel pretty much the same way.
Come to think of it, lots of companies don’t much care for OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, either. That government bureau makes companies do expensive things, like install safety devices that prevent people from being decapitated or electrocuted or having their hands chopped off in manufacturing machinery. OSHA requires construction companies to ensure that their employee wear hard hats so that their heads don’t get sliced or crushed. All of that costs money that companies don’t like to spend.
Those pesky state legislatures have passed laws that require that your children be in child safety seats and that you be belted in and air bagged. All of that costs money that car manufacturers don’t like spending.
Old, rich white guys like the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson and others who own the companies that we force to spend extra money in order to protect all of us want to do away with lots of government driven protection. They want that precisely because that protection costs old, rich white guys money. Indeed, over the years the car companies resisted pollution controls, safety glass, turn signals, safety belts and more because those things cost money. If you’d like to know more about the thinking of such people, those who seek money and power over all else, have a look at the words of Vice President Henry A. Wallace, Franklin Roosevelt’s number two from 1941 – 1945. He wrote a blistering Op-Ed for the New York Times on April 9, 1944 focused on American Fascism, the blending of government and business. You will likely find that the description in his essay is stunningly and disturbingly similar to our socio-political circumstances today, including the lying, the cheating, the demonizing and, worst of all, greed masquerading as patriotism. The bulk of that comes from old, rich white guys. You can find Wallace’s article here and here.
The old, rich white guys are thankful that elections are so expensive that candidates have to continuously grub for cash, especially big pots of it, because then those who are elected become indebted to those old, rich white guys. That stimulates those politicians to take every measure possible to thwart legislation that might be good for most Americans who are not old, rich white guys.
Those politicians do things like make it harder for non-rich, non-white Americans to vote, because doing so keeps the old, rich white guys in power and in the money and that keeps the politicians well funded and in office. The flow is so pleasingly circular. Our national history is replete with egregious examples of voter suppression and the current voter ID laws about to be enacted in Texas, North Carolina and Ohio are the newest. Those laws will disenfranchise millions of non-rich , non-white Americans and will have the effect of being the final nail in the coffin of democracy. Hail to the John Roberts Supreme Court for enabling those voter suppression laws through its democracy killing decision in the Citizens United v. FEC case. That completed the task of ensuring that old, rich white guys control all the money and all the power, a task started with naked hypocrisy by Ronald Reagan in 1981.
In the not-too-distant future history may be written with deference to the old, rich white guys – after all, history is always written by the victors. But the multitudes who live in subsistence because of the loss of American democracy will not stay there willingly.
The fight for freedom and liberty is never ending and we are at a tipping point in America right now.
Are you an old, rich white guy? If so, things are working quite well for you and you like the path we’re on. On the other hand, if you are not an old, rich white guy you will care deeply about this far sooner than you might imagine. When it starts to pinch, you will squeak and you will fight back. What do you suppose it will look like when 310 million Americans who are not old, rich white guys are doing that? I fear for us, because we always seem to wait too long to act and we have always been a violent society.
Copyright 2019 by Jack Altschuler
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