Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Thousands of wildfires burn California to the ground, as Congressional Republicans focus on taking food assistance away from low-income Americans
(Video of a wildfire in southern California. Original video link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_WHhNhxCFGA).
As of August 10, 2013, California has fought 4,300 wildfires. The yearly average from 2008 through 2012 was 3,000. A spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection stated: "We have seen a significant increase in our fire activity and much earlier than normal. We're not even yet into the time period where we see the largest number of damaging fires."
(See "Calif. faces longer, tough wildfire season," Associated Press, August 10, 2013)
During the New Deal era, California had almost one hundred Civilian Conservation Corps camps, with thousands of previously-unemployed CCC men fighting fires, building firebreaks, and removing dead trees and vegetation (wildfire fuel).
Today, we have millions of unemployed young adults, and we have millions of Americans categorized by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as the long-term unemployed. But, unlike the New Deal era, we cannot effectively address the problems of joblessness and wildfires. Why? Because Congress is too busy trying to cut low-income families off food assistance programs to be bothered with our country burning to a crisp (see, e.g., here, here, and here).
Adding salt to the wound, Senate Republicans, in September of 2012, blocked a bill that would have created a CCC-type program for unemployed veterans. Also, the federal government, as a whole--through its hare-brained "sequester" scheme--has cut funding for wildfire prevention.
Americans are being ripped-off by a cheap, incompetent, corporate-bought government, that couldn't solve the problem of untied shoelaces, let alone record-setting wildfires.