Econ­omy, not pol­i­tics

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - VOICES -

In the im­mor­tal words of Ron­ald Rea­gan, “There you go again!”

In a let­ter to the ed­i­tor, state Sen. Ron­ald Cald­well at­tempted to de­fend and pro­mote the coal in­dus­try. Most re­cently, Sen­a­tor Cald­well’s let­ters to the Arkansas Demo­crat-Gazette and the Wynne Progress at­tempt to rede­fine “in­fra­struc­ture” so as to pro­mote the in­ter­ests of the Amer­i­can Petroleum In­sti­tute. Mov­ing be­yond the gen­er­ally ac­cepted def­i­ni­tion of in­fra­struc­ture which in­cludes roads, bridges and high­ways, which, along with other ex­am­ples, are paid for from taxes, tolls, or me­tered user fees, Sen­a­tor Cald­well at­tempts to cast the net wider to in­clude pri­vately held means of pro­duc­tion, ex­ist­ing to gen­er­ate prof­its for share­hold­ers, and which is not a part of any def­i­ni­tion of in­fra­struc­ture.

How for­tu­itous that on the front page of the Busi­ness and Farm sec­tion last Fri­day there is an in­for­ma­tive ar­ti­cle about the sta­tus of the Key­stone pipe­line. In it, the de­te­ri­o­rat­ing eco­nomic en­vi­ron­ment sur­round­ing the ex­trac­tion and pro­cess­ing of Cana­dian crude, not pol­i­tics, is rec­og­nized as so prob­lem­atic as to cast in doubt the com­ple­tion of the pipe­line. In fact, the in­dus­try is protest­ing Trump’s forc­ing them to pur­chase pipe­lines us­ing Amer­i­can-made steel. Their ar­gu­ment is that pri­vate en­ter­prise, the back­bone of demo­cratic cap­i­tal­ism, should be free to pur­chase ma­te­ri­als on its own, us­ing its own best judg­ment. I be­lieve Trump’s at­tempts at gov­ern­men­tal in­ter­ven­tion in pri­vate busi­ness are un-Amer­i­can and eco­nomic heresy.

Fur­ther, the eco­nom­ics of fos­sil­fuel pro­duc­tion is such that in­creas­ingly higher in­vest­ment per unit of out­put and the ad­vances of tech­nol­ogy are putting this en­tire in­dus­try in de­cline. How ironic that the CEO of Shell Oil says that his next car will be elec­tric. PA­TRI­CIA DUKE Wynne

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