Thank the Wealthy for Your Unhealthy Air


Thank the Wealthy for Your Unhealthy Air

Low taxes for them, crappy everything for you


We could burn off underbrush, but that costs money
Photo by Karsten Winegeart on Unsplash

I woke up this morning to an air quality alert on my iPhone. We had opened some windows late last night in hopes of cooling down the house; I closed those and cranked up all three of our air purifiers. We are lucky to have bought those purifiers a few years ago — I imagine they might be hard to find now.

I assume that because the alert mentioned PM2.5 (particulate matter under 2.5 um), this must be from the Canadian wildfires, which our little bit of MA had not been badly affected by so far. Because our air purifiers had already been running on low, I hadn’t noticed any problem while sleeping, but my chest was tight now and my wife will feel worse.

Yet another unnecessary health hazard

Fires are inevitable. Giant, uncontrollable fires are not inevitable because they usually come from our idiotic refusal to thin forests and clear out the underbrush that causes small burns to get out of control.

We don’t do much of this because it costs money. Money means taxes and rich people hate taxes. Rich people control our policies and laws for obvious reasons, so when they are greedy, we all suffer. But the wealthy suffer less because they can fly off somewhere where the air is cleaner, leaving more pollution behind them in the wake of their private jets.

Yes, this fire is in Canada, but we have had our own polluting fires and we will have more. A 2015 article in Vox explains the stupidity and what we could and should do. It points out the funding foolishness that gives the US Forest Service small amounts of money to thin forests and even that can get diverted when there are emergencies. Typical kick the can down the road thinking from our tax adverse politicians.

It’s always money

There’s never enough money for prevention. We have plenty of money for wars, plenty of research money for new ways to fight wars yet to come, but little for aging bridges, roads, brush choked forests and so many other dangers. The people in our legislatures control the money, but too many of them fight taxes tooth and nail because they themselves are wealthy and the continuation of their power depends on funding from their wealthy peers.

This is true in both parties. I think the only hope we have is some form of ranked voting where third, fourth or even fifth candidates might have a chance of winning. When that came up on our ballot recently, those opposed lied about it and managed to defeat it. They like things just as they are: Hobson’s choice for who represents you.

So breathe deep and suck in those particulates. Sure, it might give you asthma or even lung cancer, but that’s your problem, not theirs. If that makes you angry, tough luck, but there’s not much you can do about it, is there.

Global warming and climate change add to our problems. That’s a money issue as well. We are getting the tasting menu for climate change now, but pretty soon they’ll be serving the four course dinner. Won’t that be even more fun?

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