Paris and the politicization of climate
The president has made a promise to the US coal industry: "It's coming back; you better believe it's coming back!"
Coal is not coming back. His decision to leave the Paris Climate Accord won't change that. And while climate change will continue to be a problem despite the Accord, rather than being a part of something that starts to push the needle in the right direction, rather than participate in a plan that was basically written around US involvement, the president has chosen an easy domestic political victory. His action was designed to pander to people in his base, who simply want to thumb their noses at the "elites" whenever possible and at any cost.
There are costs for inaction on climate change, and they aren't just for environmentalists. Everyone will suffer. Everyone will suffer from sea-level rise, ocean acidification, plant and animal extinction, and rising temperatures.
Your kids will suffer from volatile weather patterns, sickening air quality, global crop failures and famine, droughts, and floods. But at least they'll have coal to shovel and burn.
Why is this even a political issue? There are fewer than 70,000 jobs in the coal industry, compared to more than 340,000 jobs in wind and solar. Renewables represent the fastest growing energy sector, and the president's assertion that leaving the agreement is good for the economy is false. During Obama's tenure, US carbon emissions decreased while the economy strengthened, and both GDP and employment increased.
During the last presidential and vice presidential debates, not a single question was raised on the topic of climate change. Not from the perspective of environmentalism, when the air and water are becoming toxic around us. Not from the perspective of the economy, when the US has the opportunity to be a leader and innovator in the Green technology boom. And not from the perspective of national security, when we witness sea levels starting to threaten coastal habitation and populations of people being displaced.
If we really can't even escape the politicization of the obvious and observable, then perhaps Trump's decision to leave the Paris Climate Accord will finally put sustainability on the ticket in 2020.
Social Security still threatened
A very important recent news item, which did not appear in very many US newspapers, is that President Trump's budget director, Mick Mulvaney, tried to convince Trump to include big cuts to Social Security retirement benefits into his proposed 2018 budget.
Fortunately for millions and millions of us seniors, Trump said "no."
We should all be concerned about this, and we need to make all Americans aware of this danger. Mulvaney is well known for having said that he believes that Social Security is a "Ponzi scheme," that it is "unconstitutional," and that it should be abolished.
There are many other "conservatives" in 2017 America who oppose Social Security. These people will not stop trying to cut our benefits.
I am not a big fan of Trump, but I do appreciate him for standing firm (thus far) on this vital issue.