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Too Many, Too Much

This blog has argued repeatedly that humankind’s core problem is “Too many people, consuming too much.” Industrial civilization, including modern medicine, has changed and depleted natural systems to crisis points. Healthy atmosphere and healthy oceans can no longer be taken for granted.

By accident, President Trump and his Republican supporters in Congress have taken actions which may aid the planet’s, or at least America’s, habitability.

TARIFFS. Trump has threatened to impose punitive tariffs on imported goods. That will increase the prices American consumers pay for imported goods since tariffs will likely be passed on by the foreign providers. Elementary economics states that a higher price for a good tends to reduce the quantity of that good purchased and consumed. Tariffs on imported foreign goods, as from China or Mexico, will make them more expensive, and less of those goods will be purchased and consumed.

TAX CUTS. Traditional Republican commitment to balanced federal budgets has disappeared, overwhelmed by political gains from cutting income taxes. Our federal government is running trillion-dollar annual deficits which is likely to continue until America’s creditors, including China, decide not to continue funding deficits. Trump and his followers show little inclination to raise taxes. History warns that the result could be a financial panic and a depression. That would reduce consumption; unemployment of workers and of capital would increase; and pressures on natural systems would decline.

IMMIGRATION. The Trump team is determined to reduce immigration by a combination of a “beautiful wall” between Mexico and the United States, by draconian enforcement of existing and proposed restrictions on immigration, by higher tariffs, and by broadcasting, as Trump has put it, “This country is full.” Refusing to accept people fleeing or migrating from other countries may be successful in reducing population pressures here, while adding to useful incentives abroad to control population.

So ironically a man who has referred to global warming as a liberal fabrication, may be doing good.


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