15 January 2011
The United States is responsible for 1.2 trillion gallons of sewage, storm water, and industrial waste being release into the water every year. United States factories also release 3 million tons of toxins into our water, land and air.( http://www.greenstudentu.com/ ) This industrial pollution has already ruined many of the United States lakes and rivers. American’s have to worry about toxic fish, pesticides in our drinking water, and the many illnesses associated with living in an unnecessarily polluted environment. It is hard to believe that some American’s are happy to ignore the trash and pollution piling up around them. It is even harder to believe that a person can trivialize our environmental problems simply to improve America’s economic standing.
Ben Lieberman, the author, is a specialist in energy and environmental issues, is a senior policy analyst at The Heritage Foundation's Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies. (http://www.washingtonpost.com) He is a regular author for the National Review and writes several articles and blog posts for The Heritage Foundation. In his article, Lieberman claims that President Obama’s Environmental regulations will be the end of major U.S. manufacturing. He is also worried about the new, “extreme”, environmental regulations that will come with the Waxman-Markey bill, if it passes. He states that the E.P.A., backed by Obama’s liberal agenda, is forcing manufacturers to face unrealistic pollution standards. Lieberman also states that no other country in the world has to deal with these environmental standards. The author is very thorough when writing about the plight of U.S. businesses. He claims that many of them will not be able to keep up with the regulations and will be forced to close down. This will cause businesses in the United States to move more jobs over to countries where manufacturing costs are down. His thesis is that if we do not stop President Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency we will lose our role as a manufacturing leader.
Ben Lieberman’s argument would be perfectly acceptable if the only people who read the article were already convinced that the economic future of the U.S. was more important the environment. However, anyone who has any knowledge about the current environmental problems will see through this article. His thesis is very weak. He is relying on his belief that President Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency are the only two powers that are in support of improving our environment. Lieberman’s article is full of threatening rhetoric and makes the reader feel as if they are talking to a fear monger. There are several glaring problems with Lieberman’s article. Lieberman makes no effort to convince the reader that his beliefs are correct. In fact, he spends more time vilifying President Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency than defending his opinion. Lieberman also forgets to mention the environment in his article that claims that the new environmental regulations are unnecessary. His belief that our country should emulate China’s lower regulations for manufacturing is not well thought out or defended.
The most annoying aspects of Lieberman’s paper are his scare tactics and his effort to vilify anyone who might disagree with his opinion. Lieberman’s article tries to set a fearful tone for readers. He wants the reader to believe that Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency are creating these new regulations just to hurt American manufacturers. In Lieberman’s article, Obama “threatens” to pass new regulations and claims that he will “unleash everything his bureaucrats can think of”. Then he assures the reader that Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency can be stopped, as if they are an evil power.
The fact that Lieberman fails to give details about the state of the environment in the U.S. is enough to raise doubts about the article. Equally suspicious is his lack of details about the new environmental plans that sparked this rant in the first place. The only information he gives about the Waxman-Markey Bill is an analysis of the bill done by his own Heritage Foundation. In the analysis, it was predicted that the bill would destroy 300,000 manufacturing jobs by 2012, rising to 1,380,000 by 2035.(Lieberman 17) His quoted analysis seems overly simplified and needs further explanation. It only offers further proof of the fear that the Heritage foundation and Ben Lieberman are trying to instill in the American public. Ben Lieberman also added that these are net job losses and account for the new green jobs like “windmill salesman and solar-panel installer.” This last sentence is simple minded. An economist believing only two sorts of jobs would come out of this significant change in American manufacturing is absurd. With any energy source, that will be used by the public, there will be jobs for phone operators, accountants, repairmen, office workers, administrators, and researchers along with the windmill salesman and solar-panel installers.
Any reader will agree that China is the leading manufacturer in the world. However, not every reader will agree that America should emulate Chinese manufacturing. It is hard to classify China as a quality manufacturing leader with all of the product recalls on the news. It seems odd that the author did not think about China’s problems with child labor and quality control when touting China’s ability to put industrial competitiveness first. It becomes very apparent that the author is blind to everything but industrial productivity.
The government must be careful when beginning new regulations on businesses, especially in bad economic times. However, that does not mean that America should completely ignore global problems simply to maintain a competitive stand in global manufacturing. The country should not cut off funding to the Environmental Protection Agency, as suggested by Lieberman. The Environmental Protection Agency is extremely qualified to determine what is needed for America to be environmentally friendly. Lieberman fails to identify with anyone but an American factory owner. His article is extremely biased and full of enough negative rhetoric to turn off any objective reader. This article would have been better if Lieberman had explained his opinion in a rational way and used unbiased information to prove his point.
“Ben Lieberman.” WashingtonPost.com. The Washington Post Company. 15 Jan,2011 http://views.washingtonpost.com/climate-change/panelists/ben_lieberman/
Lieberman, Ben. “Manufacturing Unemployment.” National Review 31 December 2010; 17-18 Print
“Pollution.” GreenstudentU.com. 15 Jan, 2011 <http://www.greenstudentu.com/encyclopedia/pollution>.