The Indifference of Government
Photography is one of my hobbies and when I travel I look for scenes to capture. I try to avoid the Interstate and look at what has been bypassed. Across the plains are a variety of small towns, many empty or seriously declining. Along these routes are a tremendous variety of images to capture. The little town in the picture still operates a grain elevator there and usually there is a collection of grain cars spotted there. This time it was coal hoppers that were mothballed there. I stopped to take some pictures and on down the road I went.
It wasn’t until later that I looked at the pics that some anger showed up. Here was an image of government indifference to the people they are supposed to govern. The coal hopper is parked next to what had been a coal shed from years ago. Up through the early 1900’s, coal was the choice for heating homes and in some cases cooking. Then it was learned how to process oil and gas to use for heating and cooking and some things began to change. Coal was still the primary fuel to generate power for factories and electrical plants. With some work, coal was cleaned up and became a very clean efficient fuel source.
Yet for a few people, coal became a hated black dirty rock. This small minority began a campaign to blame coal for lots of society’s ills and what disappointing is how many people believed the convoluted stories that were being put out. This group of people known as “Greenies” pressured government bureaucrats to believe their story and some of them got jobs in various government agencies to further their hate for coal. Today government policy has almost become totally anti-coal. Alternative methods had to be built to generate power for a modern society to operate. In the process the people that would be adversely impacted by changes in government policy were ignored.
Today thousands of people are out of work because of government policy. The sting of coal hoppers mothballed here in this little town represent, 1000’s of jobs that have been lost. The employees of large coal companies have been laid off, the transportation companies are laying off more as are many related industries laying off workers. So many people are out of work because of the attitude of the government.
The government could step back on their policies and many of these people could go back to work. No, the government does not ease their policy. Instead, thousands of workers are now relying of the government dole because there are not jobs out there for these displaced workers. So rather than having productive citizens, that are earning a wage and paying taxes. These people are now drawing down the treasury department of tax money.
Then there are all of the associated businesses that are impacted. Fewer goods are consumed because of the lack of surplus income. Sales at stores decline and like dominoes, more jobs are lost. When one looks at the ripple effects, there are probably millions of people that are affected by this adverse government policy. Yet when one looks at the haltered of coal, nothing is gained by this hate. Instead lives are destroyed.
Looking at the country, USA, when it goes into a recession, it is usually because of an adverse government regulation. Best example is the Stock Market crash of 1929 and the ensuing depression it caused. There were other factors that amplified the depression, but the key element was how the government dealt with the banking industry. Tracking back over the years, the economic downturns have mostly come from government policy. When the government changes its attitude towards the people, it is amazing how the economy recovers.
People of the country for the most part are pretty competent citizens and very capable of taking care of themselves. When somebody gets in a position of government authority and has the attitude that they know what’s best for the peasants is when the country has troubles.
So my question is: Why doesn’t the government regulators and politicians want to put these people back to work and help keep the economy going?