Monday, December 27, 2010

Privatized Gain and Socialized Risk in Industrial Waste

It seems we constantly run into the theme of privatized gain and socialized risk. We found it when the banking industry got a massive bailout as the Wall Street bankers walked away with billions in bonuses for flattening the US and Global economies. And we're finding it in the world of "ownerless" toxic waste spots in the state of Michigan.

As businesses close down or move to other countries, they may leave behind property that has been heavily polluted leaving the government holding the bag. Over 11,000 bags to be more specific. In many cases, a city's ability to provide clean water to its citizens depends on ongoing toxic waste cleanup efforts.

As it currently stands, Michign has over 11,000 toxic areas with a mere $150 million to clean them.

Privatized profit and socialized risk.

Solutions range from a new billion dollar bond to a 3/8 cent sales both cases its the middle class resident who ends up covering the costs of business's private gains.

This is what environmental deregulation gets us. We can either live with the toxic water and arsenic and PCB laden lands by our elementary schools or we can pony up the cost of reversing the damage done by unregulated industrial waste.

Better and easier in the long run to regulate on the front end. Forget about extracting money from a dead business or its previous owners. Those against regulation seem inherently to prefer a continued policy of privatized gain and socialized risk...but only if it benefits the few.

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