Thursday, October 29, 2009

Socialism and the American West: What Was Good For the Goose...

High Country New reminds us that when citizens of the American West complain that President Obama is a "Socialist", they are forgetting that the region was built upon government subsidies and aid.

Indeed, the whole "winning of the West" was a federal enterprise, with the government subsidizing railroads and silver mines and promoting settlement while maintaining an army to keep the Indians out of the way. America's socialized westward expansion was a success, while Mexico's northern expansion, which relied on private enterprise, never got much farther than Taos.

But "winning the West" was Manifest Destiny; nobody called it socialism.

It turns out that all the environmentally destructive land uses that have been subsidized, like welfare ranching and dirty energy, have caused some pretty severe and expensive environmental, health and safety problems.

Given how expensive the solutions are, it's going to take the government to come in and subsidize them, like transitioning our energy system to renewables and restoring the health and resilience of the land.  What was good for the goose...

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