Tiananmen Square Anniversary
The anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre has come and gone. I remember when these events were going on, and thought that the world would stand up to the Chinese dictatorship. No one stood up. I remember that President Clinton gave China ”most favored nation” trade status after the massacre. Now there are people in Hong Kong protesting. Maybe it will take a ”Hong Kong Massacre” for the ”democratic” countries of the world to do something. As a supporter of democracy I think that the government of the United States should oppose, not appease, all dictatorships.
Impact Of Environmental Regulations
Recycling should reduce raw material consumption and landfills. However, it is too easy to take production offshore. We are a net importer of manufactured goods that eventually becomes trash. Another way of looking at this is, we import more consumer trash than we export. Recycling collected here in the US should end up in consumer goods. Yet, the majority of products are manufactured overseas.
As a net consumer, we demand products include recycled material. Manufacturers label products as containing a percentage of recycled material. Since the majority of manufactured goods comes into the US, how do we get recyclable material into products? Either we cannot, the content claims are “goals” at best. Or, a lot of resources have been spent transporting recyclable materials overseas hoping to be used.
In the US tough federal and state regulations on trash/recycling processing, with environmental groups providing oversight, ensure proper treatment. However, many countries accepting our trash/recyclable materials lack appropriate legislation. Even if they have legislation, many lack infrastructure, resources, or understanding of the issue to enforce. Despite our best intentions, US plastic bricks, cartons, and bottle caps end up in the oceans.
Offshoring manufacturing offers companies several diverse economic advantages including low wages and reduced managerial costs (aka regulatory costs). Companies offshore to reduce environmental protection expenses. They also benefit from being hundreds of miles away from environmental watchdogs.
Unchecked, this is a vicious cycle. Politicians support unenforceable environmental treaties. Many foreign leaders sign knowing they are incapable of compiling. Other signers intentionally ignore their obligation to benefit when others comply.
The vast majority of Americans support greater environmental protection. The problem is, regulation costs are real. The above factors severely impact rural America. It lost thousands of well-paying manufacturing jobs. Frustrated environmentalists/scientists stereotype rural America as unintelligent. However, the environmentalists fail to understand the reality. Rural America is being asked to choose between the concrete realities of food for families today or theoretical environmental protection that may happen decades from now. They rightfully chose jobs which translates into food, education, health, and self-determination.
The problem isn’t that Americans don’t like the environment. The problem is other countries do not have similar protections. We must renegotiate trade deals to encourage foreign countries to enact and enforce environmental protection including recycling and trash disposal. Otherwise, newer stricter superficial feel good legislation will send more jobs overseas with little actual benefit.