Popular Economics Weekly
President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris Accord on climate change is symbolic in more ways than one. In bringing back the white nationalist call to make America great again, he could set us back decades in bringing cleaner air and reducing global warming, not to speak of what would happen to economic growth.
In fact, he wants to Make America Last in the developed nations in caring for not only our environment, but economic growth as well. The agenda of Trump and his Tea Party supporters seem to want is to knock out the main pillars that grow the economy—a better social safety net (fewer workers lose work time), restriction of immigration and the importation of new workers needed for higher growth, as well as cutting huge chunks out of the budget for education and R&D, which are needed for a more educated workforce and the development of new products, the seed corn for future productivity and prosperity.
We currently have the second highest carbon emissions per capita after China, but could become the highest emitter if Republicans succeed in rolling back 30 years of environmental protection, becoming the country with the least amount of environmental protections.
Why leave the Paris Accord, when it is a voluntary accord to reduce carbon emissions? It was to help the coal industry, where Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is heavily invested in coal and has already made $millions with the 50 percent bumpup in coal stocks since Trump took office.
And the Koch Brothers $millions that were spent to elect Tea Party candidates is paying off as Trump initiated an immediate review of President Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which restricts greenhouse gas emissions at coal-fired power plants, the main vehicle for reduction of U.S. emissions that was promised in the Paris Accord.
Surrounded by coal miners, the president described that plan as a “crushing attack” on workers and vowed to nix “job-killing regulations. We’re going to have safety, we’re going to have clean water, we’re going to have clean air, but so many [regulations] are unnecessary, so many are job-killing,” he said.
The withdrawal process takes a total of 4 years, beginning in 2020 after the next congressional elections. It is totally voluntary, with all but 3 countries now on board, except the US, Nicaragua, and Syria.
But it’s symbolic in another way, as well. Trump and his Republican supporters seem to want to be left out of collective agreements of any kind, and this will hurt us economically as well as isolate US from future attempts to lower carbon emissions.
America will also be last in health care if Republicans succeed in repealing Obamacare, because Repubs want to slash spending on Medicaid and social security disability coverage, needed predominately by the poorer states that supported Trump. Why? So they can use the $1.11 billion is savings to pay for the repeal of the Obamacare taxes that benefit the wealthiest.
Need we say more of why the Trump Team wants to Make America Last? So their own wealthy supporters gain even more wealth, and Trump’s supporters—most of whom reside in the poorest states—will continue to suffer from his sleight of hand.
Harlan Green © 2017
Follow Harlan Green on Twitter: https://twitter.com/HarlanGreen