Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A big shock is ahead in global warming, pandering to wealthy

Tell Congress there's a nuclear war threat (without proof) and most members will vote for billions to upgrade U.S. missiles. Tell Congress that Iraq has doomsday weapons (without proof) and war is declared.

But tell Congress that the planet is in peril because of global warming (plenty of proof) and that lavishing undeserved tax breaks on less than 5 percent of the wealthiest Americans is unaffordable (plenty of proof), and Congress pooh-poohs such claims as left-wing exaggeration.

With such cockeyed thinking, the current generation of political leaders is driving the United States toward calamities. For this, their descendants in 50 years will curse them for preferring to pacify privileged industries and pampered multi-millionaires and billionaires.

What manner of shock does Washington need to awaken it to the disastrous reality of global warming and insanity of borrowing another nearly $1 trillion to subsidize tax breaks for the richest Americans? When the shock comes, it may be far too late to reverse the consequences.

How crazy is it that Oklahoma's U.S. Sen. James Inhofe has been able to stall climate change legislation with his absurd claim that global warming is a "hoax," whereas such credible groups as the National Academy of Sciences not only unequivocally certifies the growing dangers of global warming, but also urges countermeasures with all deliberate speed.

Thinking Americans will be alarmed by a section from an 860-page report issued in May by the academy's Thomas Wilbanks of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The likelihood of rising sea levels and more violent coastal storms due to global warming may require relocation of whole communities and their services inland, Wilbanks explained. With a more arid Southwest, he also recommends planning to preserve increasingly scarce water.

So why would politicians subject the planet to such jeopardy from unchecked industrial air and water pollution? To protect their patrons in industry from the cost of pollution prevention and cleanup. And why slather tax breaks costing the U.S. Treasury more hundreds of billions of dollars at a time when the nation is the world's biggest debtor and must borrow more hundreds of billions? For the same reason—to pander to political patrons.

With this momentary drink-and-be-merry attitude, benefactors and beneficiaries of senseless government policies are ignoring the final words of that old saw: "for tomorrow we die."

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