Lobbyist Grover Norquist famously said that he wanted to “Starve the Beast” to reduce the size of government “down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub.”
There’s just one problem. Not everything can be done by private enterprise. Don’t get me wrong, I am a strong believer in capitalism and private enterprise. But common sense makes it obvious that capitalism requires a profit, and not everything worth doing generates profit. Would you want the military to be run as a profit-making enterprise? Or streets and roads in your town? Or the local police or fire departments? Or keeping your food, water, and air safe and clean?
Climate change is exactly one of those externalities that requires government intervention.
Also published on Medium.
Yep, no way is capitalism going to make a quarterly profit out of making the planet cleaner. Government can do it, if the individual lawmakers can look beyond the will of their own corporate donors. One can only hope, but I wouldn’t bet a bitcoin on it.
As Ogden Nash put it:
I think that I shall never see
A billboard lovely as a tree.
Indeed, unless the billboards fall,
I’ll never see a tree at all!
Thanks to Lady Bird Johnston and ordinances to limit the number and placement of billboards, we were saved from the fate that Nash foresaw.
A bit dated, but a great example of why public services shouldn’t be run as a for-profit business: