We’re Really Gonna Let the Planet Burn to Line a Few People’s Pockets

Even if regular people did get some of that money, what are they going to buy to protect themselves, a poncho and a fire extinguisher?

We’re Really Gonna Let the Planet Burn to Line a Few People’s Pockets
Photo:Chip Somodevilla (Getty Images)

Last week, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WVa.), a rich 74-year-old coal baron who will frankly not be alive to experience the worst ravages of climate change, tanked climate provisions in an economic package written specifically to appease him. The bill would have raised taxes on wealthy people and corporations and created tax credits for clean energy and electric cars. (This comes, of course, after he killed a different bill last December.)

Manchin told a local radio station that he could support climate spending if economic indicators improved next month, according to the Washington Post. And a Manchin spokesperson cited inflation as the reason for backing away from the bill, per the Post:

“Political headlines are of no value to the millions of Americans struggling to afford groceries and gas as inflation soars to 9.1 percent. Senator Manchin believes it’s time for leaders to put political agendas aside, reevaluate and adjust to the economic realities the country faces to avoid taking steps that add fuel to the inflation fire.”

It’s very interesting that the spokesperson is referencing fires and people struggling to survive! Because Manchin pussy-footing on this bill will prove deadly not just for people in the U.S., but across the globe. We’re talking about more extreme heat, flooding, hurricanes, and disruptions to the food supply. The polar ice caps are literally melting as we speak, but won’t someone think of the corporations that will have their obscene profit margins slimmed?

Manchin wants to appear like a guy who cares about your grocery bill, but the proposed taxes to pay for Biden’s climate plan would be on rich people and corporations. So citing inflation is a red herring—the taxes would not affect the purchasing power of regular people. In fact, the more likely reason Manchin is backtracking is that enacting climate policy would prove costly to his shady coal business. (The Intercept reported this week that Manchin directed more than $15 million in federal funds to protecting the land around his own vacation home—he cares about himself and not anyone else, apparently including his own children and grandchildren.)

It’s not just Manchin, of course, who’s happy to let the world burn as long as his pockets are full. An op-ed writer in The Hill wrote Wednesday that “Manchin saved US taxpayers $300 billion by rejecting bad climate policy.” (That $300 billion was the tax credits for electric vehicles and solar and wind power.) That money isn’t going into people’s pockets! It’s probably going to get spent on other bullshit like drones and arming police departments to the teeth. Even if people did get some of that money, what are they going to buy to protect themselves, a poncho and a fire extinguisher?

Then some ding dong went on Tucker Carlson on Wednesday night to say that calling the threats to the planet an “emergency” makes countries spend money poorly and that more heatwaves are GOOD, because more people die from the cold than the heat. Who’s going to tell him that 1,900 people died during heat waves in Spain and Portugal in the past week?

I must ask: Has everyone lost their damn minds? This simping to protect rich people and giant corporations ignores that a burning planet will eventually harm their bottom lines, too. Maybe they expect to become so rich they’ll just become floating heads, impervious to threats on the mortal plane, and they just don’t give a shit about leaving future generations with a much different planet than they had.

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