Monday, October 11, 2010

A Failure to Pass Climate Change Legislation

Tom Friedman in his column “An X-Ray of Dysfunction,” summarizes a piece by Ryan Lizza, “As the World Burns: How the Senate and the White House missed their best chance to deal with climate change.” Extracting from Lizza’s New Yorker magazine entry, Friedman reduces the reasons for failure in congress to pass climate change legislation to “Mindless tribal partisanship”; “Politicians who put their interests before the country’s”; “Special interests buying policy”; and “A TV network [Fox News] acting as the political enforcer of the Republican Party.” Friedman says, “Lizza’s piece is an X-ray of the dysfunctions eating away at our future: politicians who only know how to read polls, never change them; media outlets serving political parties; special interests buying senators; mindless partisanship; an epidemic of low expectations for our government. And us — we elected them all, and we tolerate them.”

For the time being, apparently climate change legislation has been snuffed out by partisanship, special interest and politics.

No matter which political party is in the majority after the November 2010 elections, nothing is going to change partisanship, selfish political maneuvering, lobbyist buying into the legislative process, or the political biases of Fox News. If the house and senate become a republican majority sprinkled with independent conservatives and blue dog democrats, I would not expect any meaningful climate change legislation anytime soon.

As long as we allow money to influence decision making in the congressional legislative processes, we will always have a political system that favors the interest of big business and politicians acting in their personal best interest and not America’s.

I agree with Tom Friedman: “we have to do better,” and better is the abandonment of the concept of a money-based economy.