Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 15, 2003
By: Kevin Drum

SOMETHING IN THE AIR....Reading about George Bush's speeches these days is a surreal experience. His constant refrain now is "jobs, jobs, jobs," and this might lead the unwary to think that he's going to propose some kind of program to actually boost employment. Nope:

"When we talk about environmental policy in this Bush administration, we don't just talk about clean air, we also talk about jobs. We can do both," the president told cheering workers at the Monroe Edison coal-fired power plant about 40 miles south of Detroit.

...."The old regulations on the books made it difficult to either protect the ... environment or grow the economy," the president said. "Therefore, I wanted to get rid of them. I'm interested in job creation and clean air, and I believe we can do both."

Do you laugh or cry at stuff like this? The economy is losing jobs, and instead of actually trying to do something about it Bush's answer is to pretend that employment will be increased by wait for it relieving power plants of the requirement to install pollution controls on new equipment! I guess the whole dirty plants/plentiful jobs thing worked so well in Eastern Europe that Bush wants to give it a try here.

But then it gets even worse:

Bush said air pollution data released Monday demonstrated that the country was making good progress in cleaning the air. He said the new EPA figures showed that since the Clean Air Act was passed in 1970, emissions of six major pollutants had fallen by 48 percent while economic output had increased 164 percent.

"Since 1974, the power generated from here has increased by 22 percent ... and yet the particulate matter emissions have fallen by 80 to 81 percent," Bush said. "You're good stewards of the quality of the air."

Let's recap here: the Clean Air Act is passed in 1970, and as a result air pollution has gotten better. Bush's conclusion: the plant owners are good stewards of the air. Nothing to do with regulation at all.

Does he actually believe this stuff, or does he just make shit up because he knows no one's going to bother calling him on it? Sheesh.

Kevin Drum 10:37 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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