My letter is in response to The Heritage Foundation editorial on Monday, June 4. I openly confess to being subject to the free market. I am motivated to avoid high costs. To avoid the high cost of going to the doctor, I choose to invest in less expensive, but still costly, quality food. Paying a premium for healthy food encourages me to eat less resulting in a leaner body and a fatter wallet.
In addition, I choose to pay the price of a painful knee while walking around my hilly neighborhood because I am willing to suffer a nonlife-threatening pain now to avoid what I see down the road: the greater suffering and expense of heart disease and dementia as well as burdening family members with my care. You see, taking care of myself is my responsibility. By behaving responsibly, I benefit, and I prevent being a burden to others.
Just as it is my individual responsibility to look down the road to avoid impending personal problems, so too is it my responsibility to avoid hurting my neighbors and burdening future generations. Air pollution is real, and it harms the health of people right now and in the future. I’m sure some can still remember when it wasn’t safe to eat the blackberries that grow alongside the road because the lead-laden car fumes coated them with toxic lead a metal that has the power to impair the minds of today’s children and tomorrow’s adults.
The free market didn’t force the petroleum industry to stop making leaded gasoline. The petroleum industry did its best to cast doubt on the science that showed a connection between lead and health. Fortunately science won out, and a Republican president signed the Clean Air Act. Responsibly eliminating leaded gas saved children.
Today, the problem isn’t lead, it’s C02. Its effects are more subtle than lead but just as insidious. The petroleum industry is still trying to cast doubt on science, and so far, it seems to be succeeding. The free market won’t eliminate our C02 problem just as it didn’t eliminate our lead problem. It took the government to save children from the harm of lead, and it will take the government to protect today’s children and their children’s children from the harm of C02. Sometimes the government has to step in to protect the weak from the strong.
There is a plan to solve this problem. It’s called “Fee and Dividend.” It’s been created by the nonprofit Citizens’ Climate Lobby. This organization is creating the political will for change. This time politics is the solution. Raise your voice so that Congress can hear you. Congress can make this plan into law.
We can have a stronger economy, a healthier society, and a brighter future. Of course it will mean a few billion less for oil executives, but I’m willing to make that sacrifice.
Brian E. Moss