Is living well an indication of greed or is it good stewardship?

by Bob Benze

There is a prevailing notion that the United States is a greedy country. It has only five percent of the world’s population but unconscionably consumes 24 percent of the world’s energy. There is a sense that our individual desires to have a nice lifestyle robs resources from the rest of the world and creates far too much waste and pollution.

People who think this way believe that we should feel guilty and be glad to give up much of what we enjoy for the common good. Their arguments are currently in vogue and both the federal government and state governments are actively passing legislation that will dramatically restrict our ability to live the way we choose.

Not only are we fast losing the rights associated with property ownership, our Washington State legislature wants to limit how much energy we can use and how many miles we can drive our vehicles. To this end they have already established goals to cut energy use and vehicle miles traveled in half by 2050, and they plan to specify exactly how they will make us do this in future sessions.

It might be a good thing to know if there is any merit to their presumptions before we citizens allow them to take away any more of our freedoms. It turns out that they don’t have an ounce of data to back up their intentions. They simply believe it is intellectually the right thing to do. Indeed, the following chart from a recent Washington Policy Center presentation suggests they are 100 percent wrong.

© Washington Policy Center, 2009

A ton of rock-solid historical data such as this shows that the more wealthy a country and its citizens become, the better care they take of everything, including protecting the environment. This isn’t because the government passes laws to make them do so, it is because a wealthy society has the time and the money to devote to these activities. Today there are more of us, we are richer, we travel more, we use more energy, yet the nation’s pollution levels continue to steadily go down. Air pollution is well below EPA’s super-safe standards almost everywhere,

It’s time we demand that the laws being passed in Olympia and in Washington D.C. have some basis in fact. Bills like the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade legislation will not do anything to help the environment, but they will ruin the greatest economy the world has ever seen – and any chance your children and grandchildren will have to live and enjoy their lives like we have.

Tell your elected representatives to do some factual research before they sign on to any more of this environmental nonsense, or you will send them packing.


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