Tuesday, November 1, 2016
Not content to put lead in children's veins, Big Business and their political puppets are also putting smog in their lungs. The world needs a New Deal.
Above: Children across the world are being exposed to dangerous levels of air pollution. Photo courtesy of the Associated Press and Huffington Post, used here for educational, non-commercial purposes.
Above: The description for this photograph (ca. 1935-1943) reads, "These N.Y.A. youths at the Lassen Forestry Project in Susanville, California, are tying up young trees into protective wrapping for distribution to famous California forests." President Roosevelt once said, "The forests are also needed for mitigating extreme climatic fluctuations, holding the soil on the slopes, retaining the moisture in the ground, and controlling the equable flow of water in our streams. The forests are the lungs of our land, purifying the air and giving fresh strength to our people." Photo courtesy of the National Archives.
A recent UNICEF report indicates that 2 billion children are being exposed to unhealthy levels of air pollution; and that hundreds of thousands of children are dying from it each year. The largest source of the air pollution is, of course, the burning of fossil fuels.
This is just the latest news showing how lust for great wealth harms children. We also know, for example, that millions of children are drinking lead-contaminated water, thanks to infrastructure neglect. And why is infrastructure being neglected? Well, among other reasons, because Big Business is constantly lobbying for lower tax rates, and constantly engaging in tax avoidance schemes, thereby leaving governments without enough revenue to improve drinking water infrastructure. And the political puppets of Big Business are more-than-happy to turn a blind-eye - as long as they get their campaign contributions.
In case you might think that air pollution is more of a third-world problem, consider Utah, where pregnant women have been advised that the state's air pollution may harm their fetuses ("When moms breathe dirty air, what happens to Utah babies?" KUTV News, February 19, 2015. Also see "Toxic fog hits Utah: Pregnant women and children urged to stay indoors as pollution goes 'off the charts' in freezing weather," Daily Mail, January 24, 2013.)
Why aren't we doing more to protect our children from contaminated air and water? Here's one reason: Millions of people have bought into the argument that we can't tax the wealthy more, and we can't regulate them more, because they're the "JOB CREATORS." These people seem to have accepted the notion that breathing dirty air, and drinking contaminated water, is the price we must pay to have jobs. So they consistently vote for politicians who protect the super-wealthy. That's a pathetically submissive philosophy, and one that our children are paying the price for - sometimes with their lives. But it certainly plays into the overarching goal of Big Business: Hoard all the profits and socialize all the costs.
The world needs a New Deal; a deal where the health of our children, and the health of our planet, is not secondary to human greed.