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The Neoliberal Solution to Climate Change: An Opening Thought


Do we burn oil or does oil burn us?

By Thomas Neuburger


"Biden is fucking us."

—Howie Klein


I want to put two news items together, add a comment (this time not my own) and offer a few fast questions.


What all this adds to, I'll leave up to you. I'll give my own more measured thoughts at a later date. Not to worry, though; I'm sure you'll get the point.


Item 1. From the Guardian:

We sampled tap water across the US – and found arsenic, lead and toxic chemicals
In Connecticut, a condo had lead in its drinking water at levels more than double what the federal government deems acceptable. At a church in North Carolina, the water was contaminated with extremely high levels of potentially toxic PFAS chemicals (a group of compounds found in hundreds of household products). The water flowing into a Texas home had both – and concerning amounts of arsenic too.
All three were among locations that had water tested as part of a nine-month investigation by Consumer Reports (CR) and the Guardian into the US’s drinking water.
Since the passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972, access to safe water for all Americans has been a US government goal. Yet millions of people continue to face serious water quality problems because of contamination, deteriorating infrastructure, and inadequate treatment at water plants. [emphasis added]

Why do you suppose our infrastructure is crumbling? Because billionaires have to be paid before the government they control will fix it?


Item 2. From Twitterer Existential Comics:

Why do you suppose we need to incentivize the fix to climate change? Because billionaires have to be paid before before the government they control will fix it?


The comment. From Howie Klein on Joe Biden's "big" infrastructure bill, dubbed the American Jobs Plan:

I don't mean to insult [Robert] Reich but he's a Democratic Party activist and dances around the key point as every Democratic politician is. Biden is fucking us. The [new infrastructure] bill is not the solution we need to existential climate change ... it does not solve the problem. [emphasis added]

Biden has brought us, in other words, out of the age of no solution at all to inadequate solutions that preserve the systemic problem. And for this he's cheered.


A question. What is it about the American political system that requires billionaires be "incentivized" before anything good occurs?


More: What is it about modern American people that keeps billionaires in charge? Is this a systems problem or a species problem? Is it something built into our politics, or something built into our nature, that keep us here?


These questions all have answers, and we'll look more deeply at them later. For now, though, understand that the literal fate of the earth, and perhaps, if God is as strict as he sometimes seems, the fate of the generation that now walks the earth, hangs on their answers.

(I've launched a Substack site to greet the post-Trump era, the age in which the aggregated Democratic Party will show what it's made of. You can get more information here and here. If you decide to sign up — it's free — my thanks to you!)