Thoughts on clean air, paying for influence

the golden rule The recent hassle over Neighbors for Clean Air reminds us once again of the golden rule. You remember the golden rule. Sure you do. The golden rule says that the people with the gold get to make the rules. They get to say who marches in the parade and who may hand out leaflets — maybe.

As you know, the golden rule doesn’t just apply here in the Mid-Ohio Valley. It also applies nationally. We see the golden rule at work in Congress and the White House. Take the recent change in the bankruptcy laws as an example. It was simple. The credit card companies said “jump” and our Congress and president asked “How high?”

Now, if some catastrophe puts you in the hole financially, there’s going to be little or no chance you’ll ever start over debt free. And, as we know, just getting behind brings on interest charges that eat you alive. They used to call these kinds of interest rates loan-sharking.

The credit card companies paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to get their law passed. They called it political contributions, but it was obviously a wonderful investment for them. It’s going to be paying dividends for years.

Then there’s the government subsidy that the drug companies bought themselves with campaign contributions. It’s officially known as the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit, but its primary purpose is funneling taxpayer money to the drug companies. The dirty little secret is that this law forbids Medicare from ever negotiating lower drug prices, which is what the Veterans Administration is allowed to do. In this country, we pay the highest drug prices in the world.

But to get back to home, our local situation is clear — unlike our air. The Mid-Ohio Valley is like a Third World country. We’re so desperate and powerless that we’ll let any company that brings in jobs turn our air into their toxic waste dump.

What do you think? Is clean air controversial or is it a fundamental right of living, breathing Americans?

L.P. McGovern
 Williamstown
Letter to the editor, Marietta Times