We need to avoid using “dog whistle” terminology to oversimplify issues. Phrases like “deregulation” and “free enterprise” get folks salivating about job growth, higher wages and increased cash flow. Our president’s explanation for bowing out of the Paris Accord: to lift regulations off our oil and coal companies.
In the real world, economic health is not so simple. Do the jobs in fossil fuel industries somehow contribute more to the economy than jobs in renewable energy industries? As unprecedented storms and wildfires devastate whole states, shouldn’t the economic equation of climate change factor in the loss of jobs, buildings and infrastructure?
Economic issues are never simple. When our city spends millions to “clean up” homeless areas, is it still better to insist that everybody pays his own health care bills than to subsidize mental health care and drug treatment? Do we really believe that cutting corporate taxes will magically mean more income for workers, knowing that the obscene discrepancy between executive compensation and worker compensation is still widening in most large corporations?
One difference between business and government is that government is not obliged to ignore long-term consequences in order to provide shareholders with a hefty profit for the current quarter. Lawmakers are in a position to take the longer view, so why don’t they? Is there any doubt that they’re more interested in boosting the wealth of their most generous supporters than in the long-term good of the country?
We are not helpless in this. When we vote, we can choose to respond to the whistle or think through the issue.
Hydee Clayton, Millcreek