In the previous post, I discussed “predictable outcomes” when it comes to regulatory weakness or lax enforcement in creating man-made disasters. I said they were due to political ideology or short-term economic concerns. There’s another type of disaster which can happen, when problems from a natural event end up being magnified into a man-made one. These stem from political ideology. Recently, a polar vortex moved south, and created winter storm conditions in the South. The result? Atlanta, Georgia became a parking lot. It wasn’t the only area in the South affected, Birmingham, Alabama had similar issues.
A day after up to 3 inches of snow in parts of Georgia caused horrific gridlock on ice-covered streets — particularly in metropolitan Atlanta where thousands were trapped on the roads overnight — several major thoroughfares remained a mess due to lingering accidents and other problems.
In neighboring Alabama, there was a similar scene playing out. “There are still four or five areas on our interstates that are still treacherous. The traffic is still proceeding very slowly, but we are making progress,” Gov. Robert Bentley said.
One of the constant statements you’ll hear from conservatives is how “regulations are stifling business and the economy.” Obviously, if only we could do away with them, it would lead to a major economic boom! It’s a line that draws sympathetic responses, because most of us have our own experiences with various regulations. I know I do in my work. A good part of my job is filling out various reporting forms required by various state and federal agencies. I’m also required to follow quite a number of regulations, and I receive annual – or more – inspections from them, to insure that I’m doing it.
The sequester officially went into effect at midnight yesterday, as the President signed the order mandating it. Addicting Info has an interactive map up to show what your state will be losing in 2013, because of the cuts in federal spending this year. If you read through various comment boards, particularly the ones with a lot of “conservatives,” you’d come away with the impression that these will just mean some “wasteful” spending will be cut. You even see it with many of the supposedly “informed” pundits. After all, it’s only 85 billion, right? The real issue they overlook is something the President said in his press conference: “”We will get through this,” he said. “This is not going to be an apocalypse, I think, as some people have said. It’s just dumb. And it’s going to hurt.” Why is it dumb?
One of the big topics in Washington these days is “the fiscal cliff.” What it really means is that all the tax rates return to the level they were before the Bush tax cuts, and major cuts in government spending (the sequester) take effect. Both sides consider this a bad thing, although the particular part of it they consider “bad things” is different. The President has presented his plan, which has … shocked … the Republicans. Apparently, his proposals came at them from out of the blue, which demonstrates that they hadn’t paid any attention to what he’d been saying during the campaign, the platform he was running on, and the various policy statements his campaign headquarters was issuing. After wringing their hands, crying about how unfair it was that the President, the press, and the American public expected them to issue their own proposals, they finally relented. Continue reading