On My Mind: Environmental Politics

Article From: Products Finishing, from Gardner Business Media

Posted on: 12/1/2000

Even though I've only been in this industry for three years, there is one issue that seems to come up wherever I go—environmental regulation.

Even though I've only been in this industry for three years, there is one issue that seems to come up wherever I go—environmental regulation.

We all know that the finishing industry is one of the most regulated industries in the U.S. But, for the most part, I don't think finishers mind being regulated. Surely, we all want to live in a clean, healthy environment. What I, and probably many of you mind, however, is the type of regulation we face. Instead of emotional regulation, the finishing industry wants scientific regulation.

In my mind, Bush seems to be the lesser of two evils when it comes to the environment. Bush would probably be slower to act on environmental issues, allowing scientists the time to evaluate rulemakings. He feels the federal government's role should be to provide market-based incentives for new technology that will uphold the high environmental standards of the federal government, but that the state and local governments should have more of the regulating authority.

I think most of us know of Gore's love for the environment. In his mind, he probably invented the EPA as well as the Internet. Seriously, though, Al Gore has stated that the environment will be his signature issue. His goal is to make the first decade of the next millennium the Environmental Decade. My main concern is that he seems to be swayed more by public opinion and sentiment than Bush, which could possibly result in more emotional regulation.

But, there is my uncle's opposite theory—the new president will do exactly the opposite of what he campaigned for, therefore you should vote for the one you disagree with the most. While he does say this somewhat in jest, there is some truth to it. No one but Nixon could have opened China because he was so against communism. Only the conservative Reagan could have run up the national debt to obscene levels. A "tax-and-spend" liberal like Carter would have never been able to do that—the public wouldn't have stood for it. And, only Clinton could have passed true welfare reform—imagine the heat a Republican president would have taken for trying to do that.

By the time you read this, we already know the results of the election. But, we don't know what the next four years will bring. Will conventional wisdom win out, or will my uncle's opposite theory be proven yet again? I guess we will just have to wait and see.


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