Aside from the fact that the Republicans seem intent upon trashing the public education system in this country, there are two items high on their agenda that are just plain stupid. The first is the urge to cut-taxes-at-all-cost mentality that ignores the fact that many of the programs under the axe are essential to the health and well-being of this country and its citizens. At the extreme right end of this pole are the TEA partiers who simply want to slash taxes with no thought for tomorrow. But, as a fellow blogger pointed out in a recent blog, the Democrats are not without blame, either. since they failed to support a bill that would have increased taxes along with the cuts in a 1 to 10 ratio. ” last summer’s Obama/ Boehner 10 to 1 compromise [should have passed] in a heartbeat. . . . That should have been a no brainer..” Clearly, there is waste and there should be cuts. But we must also be willing to pay for the benefits we receive and in many cases desperately need.
The second stupid item on the agenda is the attack on the environment in the name of good business. This is stupid because it rests on the false dichotomy: either we protect the environment or we save jobs. We can do both. But as a recent item in the Sierra magazine points out, this Republican Congress is “the most anti-environmental Congress in history.” It has passed 209 anti-environmental bills in the name of business, while the clean energy industry waits patiently for a sign that they will also receive some of the government’s largess.
But the news is not all bad, as it happens. The American citizens may be waking up slowly. And this is a good thing, because we may not have much time if even the most optimistic predictions of the scientific community are correct. The good news, as also reported in the Sierra magazine, is that electric cars and hybrids are selling at record rates. In addition, electricity generated from coal has “dropped to 36.7 percent in February, the lowest level since 1973.” And in “five states electricity generation from wind now equals or exceeds 10 percent. In South Dakota [of all places!] the figure is 22 percent.” Further, we read that Warren Buffett has thrown his considerable weight and influence behind investing in solar energy. There is hope, and clearly there is also money to be made in clean energy.
That is why these items on the Republican agenda are so stupid: they are short-sighted at a time when we need enlightened leadership and long-term planning to help save the planet and all life on it. The Republicans need to wake up. But so do the Democrats. It is time for the politicians in this country to realize that our priorities in the past have run their course and we need to turn in another direction before it is too late.