Tag Archives: environmental regulations

Clean Up In My Back Yard: Record Fine for Henderson Contamination

Memories! Remember when Republican senatorial candidate Sharron Angle proposed eliminating the Department of Education, the Department of Energy, and the Environmental Protection Agency?  Hint: March 22, 2010. [Politifact] Fast forward to 2011 during which House Republicans introduced amendments to H.R. 1 which would have drastically cut funding to the EPA? [TP]  In 2012 Republicans wanted to enact the REINS Act (thinly disguised attack on the EPA) [Grist] and in 2013 a House Committee approved a 19% funding cut to the beleaguered agency. [Politico]  Fast forward —

What has the EPA and its state counterpart, the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection done for us lately?

“One of the world’s largest titanium manufacturers has agreed to pay a record $13.8 million penalty for producing and dumping banned cancer-causing chemicals at its Henderson factory.  Under a settlement with federal regulators announced Wednesday, Titanium Metals Corporation, or TIMET, also agreed to perform an extensive investigation and cleanup of potential contamination from the unauthorized manufacture and disposal of PCBs at its 108-acre site on Lake Mead Parkway east of U.S. Highway 95.” [LVRJ]

What’s close to the dump site?  A Target store and a hospital. Let’s review:  No EPA/NDEP, no fines. No EPA/NDEP no required clean up.  And, the Target store and the hospital would still be sitting there amidst the carcinogens.

Those harboring the delusion that contamination is a minor problem and Mother Nature will take care of things in her own time, might want to harken back to the Carson River mercury problem which affects residents of (and tourists to) Churchill, Lyon, and Storey counties.  The mercury went into the river during the Virginia City boom years — the effect is a current warning from the state of Nevada:

“Due to elevated levels of methylmercury in fish, the Nevada State Health Division has issued health advisories recommending no consumption of any fish from Big and Little Washoe Lakes, Lahontan Reservoir, and the Carson River from Dayton downstream to the reservoir. Mercury can cause permanent damage to the nervous system and serious disabilities for developing fetuses and children. Catch and release of fish, swimming, and recreation are safe.”

And then there are those 3,400 acres in Mason Valley associated with the old Anaconda mine site.   Atlantic Richfield is still reporting to Region 9 EPA authorities on the monthly progress made to clean up that mess. [pdf]

Meanwhile back in the 4th District in Texas, Congressman Ralph Hall wants us to know about ‘guv’mint regg-u-lations:’

“I know firsthand how burdensome government regulations are on small businesses. In order to reignite our economy, we need to curb stifling regulation, reduce taxes and, as part of the effort to bring back jobs, we must eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency.” — March 25, 2014.

I am having a bit of trouble seeing Atlantic Richfield, once part of British Petroleum, and sold to Tesoro, Inc. in June 2013 for $2.5 billion, as a struggling small business.  Meanwhile, the Washoe County Republicans are pleased to offer a link to a Heritage Foundation article on preventing the EPA from regulating extraction industries on their Facebook page:

Washoe GOP EPA

 

And this would prevent… fines for dumping carcinogens? Efforts to monitor mercury pollution on the Carson River?  Clean up management at the Anaconda site?

The most recent Heritage paean to the Oil and Gas Giants comes with some interesting quirks. (1) It doesn’t mention any of the benefits of cleaning up our messes; (2) It radically overstates estimates costs and job losses; (3) It comes to quite different conclusions than three other independent studies; (4) It devises its very own statistical model and then proceeds to operate therefrom = no transparency; and (5) It has a financial incentive to be misleading, read: Koch Brothers donations.  [MMA]

In short, eliminating the regulations and the regulatory agencies doesn’t do a thing for people who shop in stores located near old chemical dump sites, or for people using bottled water to avoid contaminated drinking water, or for people who want to go fishing and release a few of the ‘specimens to grease’ on a weekend outing.  It merely serves to pad the bottom lines of those with already well padded bottoms.

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H.R. 2279 and Amodei’s Arithmetic

Amodei pollutionRepresentative Mark Amodei (R-NV2) is delighted to tell us how much he values Freedom and Limited Government — unless, of course, the legislation in question would benefit the Big Corporations and their deregulation agenda.  We are also given to know how he’s all in to protect the Little Guy, the average Joe, the Great American Taxpayer — unless, of course, the legislation in question would lift the burden from the shoulders of corporate America and place it squarely on the backs of The Little Guys, those Great American Taxpayers.  Witness: The Reducing Excessive Deadline Obligations Act. While the citizens of West Virginia were trying to figure out whether or not to stock up on yet more bottled water, the Congress of the United States of America passed this highly dubious act for the benefit of major corporations, “that will greatly reduce the EPA’s ability to monitor environmental and health violations, leaving that responsibility to the states, many of which are constrained in their ability by tight budgets.” [Contributor]

“The three separate pieces of legislation included in the packet (combined in the bill)  were proposed by Republican representatives Cory Gardner of Colorado and Bob Latta and Bill Johnson of Ohio.  Altogether, the three Republicans have received more than $1,190,000 from the dirty energy industry.”  [Contributor]

Whether or not one wishes to refer to the energy lobby as “dirty,” the fact remains that the letters of support for the enaction of H.R. 2279 the Reducing Excessive Deadline Obligations Act, represent a Who’s Who of the energy and chemical industries:  the American Chemistry Council, the American Coke and Coal Chemical Institute, the American Iron and Steel Institute, the American Petroleum Institute, the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Mining Association, the American Exploration and Mining Association, the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates,  the Fertilizer Institute, and the Utility Solid Waste Activities Group.  [EC House] So, what did these industry lobby groups get for their efforts?  A bill that would “… require the President to consult with states before enforcing federal environmental law. The measure also would prohibit the EPA from imposing overlapping regulations on states that have rules on solid waste disposal and require all federally owned facilities to comply with state requirements on hazardous substances.” [AllAg] Actually, there was more than merely turning the current environmental regulations upside down, leaving the states to literally clean up messes created by industrial waste disposal and accidental emissions.  There was the matter of who would PAY for the clean up of toxic or unsanitary conditions created by waste disposal and hazardous contamination.   Here’s the gory part:

“No owner or operator of a vessel or facility who establishes  and maintains evidence of financial responsibility associated with the production, transportation, treatment, storage, or disposal of  hazardous substances pursuant to financial responsibility requirements  under any State law or regulation, or any other Federal law or regulation, shall be required to establish or maintain evidence of financial responsibility under this title, unless the President determines, after notice and opportunity for public comment, that in the event of a release of a hazardous substance that is not a federally permitted release or authorized by a State permit, such other Federal or State financial responsibility requirements are insufficient to cover likely response costs under section 104. If the President  determines that such other Federal or State financial responsibility  requirements are insufficient to cover likely response costs under  section 104 in the event of such a release, the President shall accept  evidence of compliance with such other Federal or State financial responsibility requirements in lieu of compliance with any portion of the financial responsibility requirements promulgated under this title to which they correspond.”  [GPO]

Translation:  We’re going to junk the long-standing requirements that those who caused the pollution in the first place are responsible for paying to clean up behind themselves by by allowing “insufficient existing requirements to block Superfund obligations,” and as a result saddle state and local governments with the clean up costs. Representative Amodei certainly sat on a rickety fence in regard to H.R. 2279.  Either he wanted to protect the average Nevada taxpayer from the obligation to finance the clean up after an industrial or mining pollution event — or — he wanted to protect the industry from having to pay to clean up after itself, and dump the financial obligations on the state and counties.  He opted for protecting the Big Industries.   Thus the next time Representative Amodei speaks of “burdensome” rates of taxation, and talks of removing that burden from the backs of the tax paying public, the appropriate response could easily be — What about your vote on  H.R. 2279?

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Filed under Amodei, Economy, Politics, public safety

Post Scripts and Other Matters

PS post script** Oh, by the way, there’s another problem with House Speaker John Boehner’s commentary on “no new regulations” highlighted by the Examiner:

“In the last 5 years that Obama has been President, Republicans in Congress have done all that they could to loosen regulations for hazardous waste, and to make it harder for the EPA to protect our nation’s water and air. Republicans have even gone as far as calling for the abolishment of the EPA.”  More here.

** Benghaziiiiiiiii — Nevada Progressive reports that Representative Joe Heck (R-NV3) is going to head up a House committee to investigate…. wait for it…. Benghazi.  All I can add is that a person hoping to maintain some sanity should click over to Sound Cloud and click on Rocky Mountain Mike’s Right Wing Troll Notification System audio.

Should the latest Benghazi “investigation” not wish to re-invent the wheel, or the use of fingers to get food from fire to mouth for that matter, there are some excellent sources of information.  There’s the State Department’s Accountability Review Board report (pdf) and there’s David Fitzpatrick’s excellent reportage for the New York Times (December 28, 2013.   If that’s not enough for you, there’s the 85 page report from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (pdf) issued on January 15, 2014.

But then, nothing will ever be enough to satisfy the anti-Secretary Clinton crowd, and generally befuddled Faux News viewers, who cling to their conspiracy theories and react vehemently  to every new report debunking their fantasies.  Replay the “Right Wing Troll Notification System,” then read Bob Cesca’s “13 Benghazis that Occurred Bush’s Watch Without A Peep From Fox News.” [HuffPo]

** On a more serious note, see the NVRDC’s post on the Mythical Budget Deficit.   And, you know I’m going to quote a piece that includes my favorite economic concept for 2008-2014 — “aggregate demand:”

“The government should not be running a fiscal surplus when aggregate demand is still lagging in the macro economy. The country’s infrastructure is falling apart and we should be fixing it right now because the money is there and isn’t being used to expand employment or investment in the private sector. Instead coporate balance sheets are hoarding cash and using it to pay special dividends and stock buybacks for the investor class. That money should be put to work investing in America!” (emphasis added)

Combine this reading with Dan Crawford’s post on Angry Bear, “Time to end redistribution upwards…” (January 16, 2014)

** The campaign to elect Niger Innis to the Congressional seat held by Representative Steven Horsford (D-NV4) [Ralston] [Sebelius] seems to have gotten off to a rough start, with an FEC complaint [Ralston] from another candidate, “concerned citizen, ” whatever…

** We’re Number 2 — in the nationwide rate for residential foreclosures. Florida is still number 1. [RGJ]

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Almost Hell, West Virginia, and Amodei Helped?

water pollutionMeanwhile back in West Virginia.

The D.C. media continued to demonstrate its disconnection from issues concerning Americans in the portion of the country located outside Interstate Highway 495 when its Sunday morning chatterati confabs assiduously avoided any discussion of the chemical spill into the Elk River in West Virginia.  There was plenty of information worthy of a few moments, but none deemed worthy of broadcast time which might otherwise be devoted to interminable speculation on the political ramifications of speculated political implications of endless political assumptions.  Meanwhile back in West Virginia.

There’s a lesson here about government regulations.  Those “burdensome” government regulation which are “stifling employment,” and “hurting the economy,” to hear the Republicans tell it.

“The spill of 4-Methylcyclohexane Methanol, or Crude MCHM, a chemical used in the coal industry, occurred on Thursday on the Elk River in Charleston, West Virginia’s capital and largest city, upriver from the plant run by West Virginia American Water.”  [YahooNews] (January 10, 2014)

The good news is that the stuff  isn’t highly lethal.  The bad news is that the preliminary reports don’t tell us exactly how much of the the stuff  was accidentally spilled into the river, the current estimate is 5,000 gallons.  Those 5,000 gallons flowed into the water supply in nine West Virginia counties.  Charleston, WV’s 51,000 residents are still struggling.

Additionally, the incident gives us a glimpse of why environment regulations aren’t the “burdensome,” “hurtful,” “job killing” spikes in our national economic life.

(1) At some point the newspapers will report the cost of this spill.  The cost of closed schools, closed restaurants, closed businesses, business revenue lost, earnings and wages lost.  Events postponed, events cancelled.

“Downtown Charleston is dead,” Mayor Danny Jones said in an interview. “It’s not just my city, it’s nine counties. When you don’t have water you can drink or bathe in, you’re pretty much frozen solid.”

(Charleston Mayor) “Jones said hotels, restaurants and affiliated businesses were closed in the city of 51,000 people, which swells to about 125,000 on an average workday. A convention of mayors and city council members from around the state, scheduled to begin Sunday, has been canceled, he said.”  [WaPo]

Common sense dictates that the economic costs of this chemical spill is going to be well beyond, far beyond, the cost of enforcing environmental regulations.

(2) Why do we have all these “burdensome” regulations when such accidents are rare events?   That’s the point, the entire exercise is undertaken to insure that accidents are rare events.  Yes, these events are rare, but when accidents do happen they are exceedingly expensive and harmful.  Witness some recent examples:

In December 2008, the retaining wall on a coal ash pond failed, sending 1.7 million cubic yards of toxic coal ash slurry into the Emory River, and an adjacent residential area in Tennessee. (Later estimates were raised to 5 million cubic yards)  The April 20, 2011 BP Deepwater Oil Spill poured more oil into the water than any other accident in U.S. history, and 11 workers lost their lives. The final effects of the destruction of the Fukushima Nuclear Power (March 2011) plant are still being tallied.

In August 2012 the Tennessee Valley Authority, owner of the Kingston facility, was judged liable for the damage caused by its coal ash spill.  It had already spent $43 million to buy contaminated properties.  The TVA’s litigation moved into new territory as plaintiffs were allowed to bring their individual cases to court.  [Reuters/HuffPo]

The Deepwater Horizon incident cost BP $25 billion, not counting fines levied by the government as of July 2013.  The corporation owes another $4.5 billion in fines. BP has set aside approximately $42 billion in estimated final costs.  [PBS]

A insurance trade group associated with the West, Texas fertilizer plant that exploded in April 2013, estimated the cost of the 90 foot wide crater and adjacent damage at approximately $100 million. [AP/HuffPo]

Meanwhile back in West Virginia.

(3) An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.   There doesn’t seem to have been enough attention paid to preventing the contamination of the Elk River.

“Asked late last week how much planning county officials had done for a possible leak from Freedom Industries into the region’s water supply, Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper was blunt.

“Not enough,” Carper said. But Carper also pointed the finger at the water company, saying West Virginia American certainly knew Freedom Industries was there and should have prepared for an accident like this one.” [WVGM]

If Kanawha County wasn’t as prepared as it should have been, how about federal inspections and enforcement?

OSHA began an inspection in November, 2009, resulting from industrial accident and injury reports, but found that the firm was misclassified for the inspection program implemented and the inspection never took place.  [WVGM]

What of state Department of Environmental Protection?   Because Freedom Industries was categorized as a storage (as opposed to a manufacturing facility) and because it created no emissions — it wasn’t on their radar.  [WVGM]

At some point the U.S. Attorney will complete his investigation of the contaminant spill, and West Virginia American and its subsidiary Freedom Industries will discover what TEPCO, the TVA, BP and others have already known — it’s less expensive to create the safest possible industrial operations plan than it is to pay for the damages later.

It’s easy to be glib about industrial accidents, and contaminating chemical spills, and generalize about how statistically “safe” our energy and chemical sectors are.  It’s easy to generalize about “burdensome” regulations, but much more difficult to explain away destroyed homes, lost revenue, undrinkable water, and economic damage when specific incidents highlight how important those regulations actually are.

The question we should be asking is NOT how to reduce regulations related to the use, storage, and safety of our chemical and energy operations, but how we can strengthen those regulations to prevent as many such accidents as possible.   However, that’s precisely what the House did.

“As West Virginians were learning Thursday of a devastating chemical spill in the Elk River that has rendered water undrinkable for 300,000 people, the US House of Representatives was busy gutting federal hazardous-waste cleanup law.

The House passed the Reducing Excessive Deadline Obligations Act that would ultimately eliminate requirements for the Environmental Protection Agency to review and update hazardous-waste disposal regulations in a timely manner, and make it more difficult for the government to compel companies that deal with toxic substances to carry proper insurance for cleanups, pushing the cost on to taxpayers.”  [RT] (emphasis added)

The Reducing Excessive Deadline Obligations Act passed 225-188, on January 9, 2014.  [roll call 10]  Representative Mark Amodei (R-NV2) voted in favor of the bill, Representatives Dina Titus (D-NV1) and Steven Horsford (D-NV4) voted against it. Representative Joe Heck (R-NV3) is recorded as not voting.   Representative Amodei may wish to explain, why, when his fellow Americans in West Virginia were struggling to find potable water, he voted to prevent the government from requiring that corporations carry enough insurance to cover the cost of their accidents.  And, why tax paying citizens in Nevada should be forced to pick up part of that tab?

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Amodei’s Magical List

AmodeiRepresentative Mark Amodei (R-NV2), ever faithful to his corporate masters, and ever ready to follow the lead of that (not-quite-so) compassionate leader Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), would have us believe the 112th Congress passed “27 bipartisan jobs bills” [Amodei] and more in the 113th, yielding some 40 “jobs bills.”   These are sadly jammed in that Upper Chamber of Horrors, a Democratically controlled Senate — well, maybe not too sad. Let’s dig deeper into Representative Amodei’s sequaceous sycophancy.

Representative Cantor helpfully provides a web site to list all these wonderful measures intended to “empower” small business owners from sea to shining sea.  Uh, not quite.

There is a huge chunk of House passed measures which is nothing more than a further gallop down the  DEREGULATION Trail.   That led to such wonderful results with regard to the American financial sector as of 2008 — we should want more of it?  Let’s take a look at a few bits of legislation on the Amodei/Cantor list:

H.Res. 72 calls for standing committees of the Congress to review every past, present, and proposed regulation — “That each standing committee designated in section 3 of this resolution shall inventory and review existing, pending, and proposed regulations, orders, and other administrative actions or procedures by agencies of the Federal Government within such committee’s jurisdiction.”    If you believe that this is supposed to alleviate the “burden” on small garage owners, I have some real estate for you…. This is about bringing succor to the international energy giants who are annoyed by environmental regulations, about comfort for the Wall Street Wizards who don’t want enforcement of the provisions of the Dodd Frank Act, especially the part wherein the big banks have to conform to some prohibitions against truly egregious behavior.  It’s also about further confounding efforts to enforce the provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, passed in the wake of the Enron Debacle, governing the actions of corporate management.   This passed the House, but as a House resolution the Senate doesn’t deal with it.

H.R. 874 “Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act,”  actually only reduces some very particular regulations.  “Amends the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (commonly known as the Clean Water Act [CWA]) to prohibit the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or a state from requiring a permit under the CWA for a discharge from a point source into navigable waters of a pesticide authorized for sale, distribution, or use under FIFRA, or the residue of such a pesticide, resulting from the application of such pesticide.

In short, neither the EPA nor the environmental authorities in any state can require a permit for discharging insecticides, fungicides, or rat poisons… or any chemical covered by the Clean Water Act… into our waters.  So, if I decide to dump &%#@! into the local river or creek, I don’t have to get a permit — what could possibly go wrong?

H.R. 2018:  Elegantly titled as the “Clean Water Cooperative Federalism Act of 2011”  isn’t exactly cooperative, in fact it’s the reverse of the federal system.  Here’s a bit from this legislation; which effectively places environmental regulations in state hands — some states will be cooperative, and as we can well imaging some states will be delighted to exploit and pollute to their heart’s content – “(1) promulgating a revised or new water quality standard for a pollutant when the Administrator has approved a state water quality standard for such pollutant unless the state concurs with the Administrator’s determination that the revised or new standard is necessary to meet the requirements of such Act; (2) taking action to supersede a state’s determination that a discharge will comply with effluent limitations, water quality standards, controls on the discharge of pollutants, and toxic and pretreatment effluent standards under such Act;….”   In short, if any state doesn’t want to follow the Clean Water Act rules, it doesn’t have to.  How cooperative! (not)

H.R. 1315, happily titled the “Consumer Financial Protection Safety and Soundness Improvement Act of 2011” is really simple:

“(Sec. 102) Amends the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act to authorize the Chairperson of the Financial Stability Oversight Council to issue a stay of, or set aside, any regulation issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) upon the affirmative vote of the majority (currently, two-thirds) of Council members, excluding the Chair of the Commission of the CFPB (as provided for in this Act).”

This is a “jobs” bill?  What it obviously does is gut the authority of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to prevent payday lenders from gouging their victims, to restrain some of the most egregious mortgage marketing practices known to man from devastating American families, and halt the sale of highly dubious financial products  cheating American workers and their families.   The only “jobs” saved or created by this bill are those for the less desirable elements in the financial sector.   Are these the ‘jobs’ Representative Amodei is anxious to save?

H.R. 2587, “Protecting Jobs From Government Interference Act,” is a beauty, at least in the eyes of the right wing corporate perspective of Freedomworks.  “…the bill would prohibit the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) from ordering any employer to close, relocate or transfer employment under any circumstance. The Protecting Jobs from Government Interference Act would help ensure that the government agency does not over step their bounds by dictating decisions made by private sector companies. ” [Fdwks] This isn’t about “all jobs” it’s about Boeing jobs, Boeing moving jobs to a right to work state, Boeing trying to cut labor costs.  And, there IS another explanation for H.R. 2587:

“H.R. 2587 would remove the only meaningful remedy available to workers if a company illegally moves operations or eliminates work because workers engaged in protected activities such as organizing a union. An employer can outsource for any reason, except for an unlawful reason. Retaliating against workers for exercising their rights under the National Labor Relations Act is one unlawful reason.” [NCL]

Once again, this bill isn’t about “job creation,” it’s quite simply union busting. Little wonder old Freedomworks was so enthusiastic.   The House tried another NLRB gutting, labor bashing, anti-union measure, H.R. 3094, which is also stuck in the Senate because union bashing, and the eliminating the protections of the NLRB aren’t so popular in that body.

Meanwhile back at the Pollution Party, H.R.2273 — the Coal Residuals Reuse and Management Act, “H.R. 2773 eliminates EPA’s authority under the Resource Conservation and Recovery (RCRA) Act to set minimum federal standards to ensure the safe disposal of coal combustion residuals (coal ash).  Instead, the bill allows states to establish their own programs without requiring them to meet any standard of protection for public health, public safety, or the environment. ” [DemE/C]

There are reasons people get nervous about the dumping of coal ash in close proximity to their homes and businesses:

“Coal ash pollution contains high levels of toxic heavy metals such as arsenic, lead, selenium, and hexavalent chromium. The public health hazards and environmental threats to nearby communities from unsafe coal ash dumping have been known for many years, including increased risk of cancer, learning disabilities, neurological disorders, birth defects, reproductive failure, asthma, and other illnesses.” [SCOrg]

How lovely, this isn’t a ‘jobs bills’ it’s a death warrant.

However, the crowning jewel in the deregulation diadem was the not-so-job-creating H.R. 10, the REINS Act.

“Requires a joint resolution of approval of major rules to be enacted before such rules may take effect (currently, major rules take effect unless a joint resolution disapproving them is enacted). Provides that if a joint resolution of approval is not enacted by the end of 70 session days or legislative days, as applicable, after the agency proposing the rule submits its report on such rule to Congress, the major rule shall be deemed not to be approved and shall not take effect. Permits a major rule to take effect for one 90-calendar day period without such approval if the President determines it is necessary because of an imminent threat to health or safety or other emergency, for the enforcement of criminal laws, for national security, or to implement an international trade agreement.”

We could say all this in one sentence — no one from the President to any executive, or quasi-judicial regulatory agency — can promulgate a rule, any rule, without Congressional approval.   Herein we have the Ultimate Deregulation Act.   No more interference from the FDA about marketing drugs, no more interference from the Consumer Product Safety Commission about flammable infant pajamas, no more interference from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau with unscrupulous pay day lenders…

These examples from the Republican list of “jobs bills” have little or nothing to do with actual jobs, instead they have everything to do with further deregulation — deregulation of polluters, deregulation of bankers, deregulation of the financial sector.

Somehow, we are encouraged by the Republicans in Congress to believe that unfettered corporate activities are necessary to “create jobs.”   It is, by their lights, acceptable to recreate the conditions which caused the 1948 Donora, Pennsylvania smog disaster, or the day in June 1969 when the Cuyahoga River caught fire in Cleveland, Ohio.  Unfettered capitalism requires, by GOP reasoning, we accept the fate of Times Beach, Missouri, evacuated in 1983 because of dioxin pollution.

JOBS! will be created if we allow a replication of the Enron Debacle? The collapse of Lehman Brothers? The Financial Crisis of 2007-2008?

Recession job lossWhat deregulation (especially in the financial sector) creates are Bubbles.  Unrestrained by any prohibitions on their reckless enthusiasm or their unalloyed greed, financialism enhanced by deregulation eventually spawns disaster.   The Republicans in the House of Representatives have evidently confused the needs of Main Street with the desires of Wall Street.  The legislation they tout as Job Creating doesn’t do anything for the average Main Street enterprise, but seeks to do everything for even  the most modest Wall Street hedge fund.   The graph above illustrates the Bubble in the housing sector — during which all manner of jobs appeared in order to feed the demand from Wall Street for ever more mortgages to package and repackage into ever more complex and devious financial products.  When the Bubble burst, jobs were LOST, many still vacant, most not yet replaced five years later.

Meanwhile, the American Jobs Act, is stalled in the House of Representatives, a bill which would create 1.9 million jobs [Moody’s] and would add about 1.5% to our GDP. [WSJ]

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