December 6, 2012
Dr. Steven A. Leibo is the Professor of International History & Politics at the Sage College
I am beginning to think that Winston Churchill’s famous comment that one could always count on the Americans to do the right thing after they had tried all the other alternatives won’t save us this time. I mean let’s get real here.
Governor Cuomo has just told us Sandy will cost some 42 billion dollars money he is hoping the feds will help us out with. Forty two billion dollars! And that is on top of the money we are already stuck for from last year’s horrifically destructive storms Irene and Lee, two examples of a dangerously transformed climate system that the world’s top scientists and indeed the World Bank just warned us again is only going to get worse unless we back off from polluting the atmosphere with more carbon pollution.
And the American population at large is not screaming for a carbon tax?
Ok. I know back in 1993 the then vice president Al Gore tried to put in a carbon tax and it got shot done big time. But this is 2012 — You know, only one year after the American government’s credit rating got downgraded because we could not keep our expenses and revenues reasonably in balance.
And we Americans are not screaming for a federal tax on carbon?
Yes, a minor tax on one of the richest industries humanity has ever conceived. Sure, I know they are so rich they can spend almost anything to try to try to stave off such a tax. We after all just saw their spending power dramatically demonstrated in the last election. Which they did indeed almost manage to buy with the prolific carbon pollution booster advertising, but that carbon spending spree blitz was overcome; yes, we took their best and beat them back.
And now we are still not demanding a carbon tax?
No, let me try this one again. We hear ever day that the government needs even more new revenue sources If it is going to meet its long term challenges to the neediest of us in society, For social security, for Medicare for especially so as the famous baby boomer generation begins to collect those benefits.
And Americans are still not screaming for a federal tax on carbon pollution?
I just don’t get it. Now let me see if understand this. Even as our economy is starting to recover from Wall Street’s excessive gambling with our futures, we still need to employ far more people. Yes employ people whose likelihood of getting those needed jobs if we we’re rolling out an entire new green energy system for our economy would be enormously improved. Jobs that would be bursting at the seams, if we just made green energy a bit more competitive with the infinitely dirtier fossil fuels. Yes, a simple tax that would recognize their true costs from the traditional billions we’ve long spent to defend overseas oil resources to the growing new costs as we defend our shore lines from the sort of damage Sandy inflicted all over New York and New Jersey.
And we are still not demanding a carbon tax that will help avoid the worst of climate change?
Not demanding a tax that would help straighten out the American debt and make sure our society lives up the promises we have made to seniors and the most vulnerable among us?
But don’t take my word for it.. just consult the new report from MIT, far and away our greatest university which makes it absolutely clear that imposing a carbon tax is an absolutely “win win” idea.
And yet we are not demanding a federal tax on carbon?
I just don’t get it. But what I do understand is that this time
Winston Churchill’s famous adage won’t save us, you know, the one that says you can always trust the Americans to do the right thing after they had tried all the other alternatives won’t work. Because this time the alternatives — relying on fossil fuels, letting the wackos hide the reality of their impact on the planetary atmosphere Jut won’t work. Because we no longer have the time to work our way through the alternatives