There is a lot of “trashing” going on, which along with massive amounts of garbage and throwaways, is going to threaten our health and even our lives. Paul Krugman put it this way: “Donald Trump Is Trying to Kill You”—the title of his opinion piece in the New York Times on April 4, 2019. Krugman points out a variety of threats brought about by the Trump administration’s deregulation of specific industries, especially those that have made hefty contributions to Trump’s political campaigns.
For one thing, the Trump administration plans to reduce federal safety inspections at pork industries, allowing plant employees to inspect hogs for disease and contamination. “The administration also is working to shift inspection of beef to plant owners. Agriculture Department officials are scheduled [in May] to discuss the proposed changes with the meat industry,” writes Kimberly Kindy in the Washington Post.
When I read news accounts like the above, I remembered Upton Sinclair’s novel The Jungle, which described how rotten and contaminated meat was processed in Chicago’s meatpacking industry in the early 1900s. The novel made an impact on the U.S. Congress which passed the Pure Food and Drug Act in 1906. The Act established procedures for federal inspection of meat processing plants. And yet today, a federal administration is planning to reduce federal safety inspections at meat producers! A new “Jungle” on the way?
Another type of trashing that has a deleterious effect is Trump’s constant effort to downplay alternative energy sources such as wind and solar energy and instead support coal production. His absurd notion that wind turbines “cause cancer” is well known and has been debunked by scientists. On Sciencealert.com, Michael Starr wrote: [T]here has not been a single documented human death due to an illness caused by a wind turbine. Not one.” But every year there are deaths due to pneumonia and asthma due to air pollution from coal burning power plants.
As Krugman noted: “The Trump administration’s own estimates indicate that its relaxation of coal pollution rules will kill more than 1,000 Americans every year. If the administration gets to implement its full agenda — not just deregulation of many industries, but discrimination against industries it doesn’t like, such as renewable energy — the toll will be much higher.”
In other words: TRASHING federal inspections of food and regulations to prevent pollution from power plants can kill us.