Sat, Dec 3, 2022 |
By John Schroeder
Does Anybody Read Anymore?
Forty years ago, when I moved to the Los Angeles metropolitan area, I found the place endlessly fascinating. It still is actually, it has simply become an unlivable, fascinating place. Read a lot of LA history. Everybody associates LA with the entertainment industry, and if you pay close attention the defense and aerospace industry. But the base on which LA was built, at least from an industrial standpoint, is oil. There are vast deposits under the city and just offshore. Heck, in the somewhat famous La Brea Tar Pits the stuff actually oozes up from the ground on its own. It was the discovery of those deposits that turned a bunch of pastureland and citrus groves into a city – everything else that is LA followed in that wake.
It creates an interesting urban landscape as oil wells, and in a few cases fields, dot the city. You’ve all seen them in one famous LA movie or the other. In light of that history, not to mention the amount of money all those wells still produce, this is fascinating:
The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously on Friday to ban drilling of new oil and gas wells and phase out existing ones over the next 20 years.
The vote comes after more than a decade of complaints from city residents that pollution drifting from wells was affecting their health.
Two quick comments. One, the wells were there long before the neighbors were, so who is it ought to be moving on? People lived near those wells for decades before the last decade of complaints. So, are the complaints real or just an effort to pick a few pockets? Secondly, from an historical perspective this move is literally tearing the heart out of the city. It is as if no one knows any history.
This headline from CNN, “As respiratory viruses strain US health care systems,…” continues the covid theme that got us into this mess to begin with. It is the same problem that afflicts Obamacare and other grand health care schemes. It assumes that health care is a limited resource that must be husbanded, conserved and doled out. I wonder if anyone anywhere in the “health care system” has read any economic theory.
Following the CDC’s incontestable failure to protect Americans from Covid, President Joe Biden has proposed a 21 percent increase in the agency’s budget. If CDC bureaucrats had any concerns that painful reforms were coming, or that their leader, Rochelle Walensky, might be replaced, this proposal surely has put their minds at ease. Nor did two recent expert examinations of the nation’s Covid response by highly regarded, independent institutions do anything to worry them by way of publicizing the CDC’s negligence in failing to prepare for the kind of global pandemic that, by 2018, experts were already saying was inevitable.
Nearly everyone knows that the CDC’s colossal failures led to the needless deaths of tens of thousands of people from Covid. The agency’s highhanded mandates imposed additional costs by needlessly shutting down the economy, which caused unrecoverable income losses to businesses and families and a major rise in mental-health problems. Adding to the damage, millions of students were deprived of a year or more of in-person learning.
Americans will be paying a long time for the CDC’s panicked decision to treat a low-fatality virus as sufficient reason to shut down commerce, motivated partly by the government’s growing impulse to treat individual freedom as a threat to authority. In light of this debacle, President Biden’s decision to reward the CDC by showering it with resources seems incomprehensible.
In the world of Washington, however, sending more money to a broken agency is standard procedure….
When Walensky publicly apologized for the agency’s failures last August, she effectively bought amnesty for the CDC.
I’ve said this before – have you read Jim Geraghty’s “The Weed Agency“? The book is the story of a fictional agency failing miserably at its job and running precisely the playbook just described in the City Journal article.
No wonder history repeats itself – no one reads.