Saturday, April 17, 2010

Capitalism = Parasitism, Ex. # 1: Mountaintop Mining

A non-profit organization commissioned a study from an environmental firm to compare a proposal by a coal company for REMOVING the top of a mountain with the NPO's proposal to construct a wind farm on top of the mountain.

This study found that over the 17 year expected life of the mountaintop coal mine, the Raleigh County Government would receive a total of about $30 million from the wind farm, but only a little over $600,000 in "coal severance taxes". Sounds like a pretty serious disparity, huh?

But wait - here's the kicker! The coal mine would cost $600 million "in the form of health expenses and environmental clean up costs as well as lost resources."

$600K out to get $600M back? Wow, what a great "opportunity"! But the only way the mountaintop removal company can make a profit is by "externalizing" the vast majority of the true costs onto the public, while keeping the vast majority of the revenue. Revenue - cost = profit; America really is the greatest nation ever. If the company had to bear those costs itself, why it'd be a huge loser.

I lied - that wasn't the kicker. The real kicker is: the coal company in question? It's Massey Energy. That's right, they own the mine that killed 29 employees on 4/5/10. E.J. Dionne reports that the "Upper Big Branch Mine has been cited for safety violations 1,342 times since 2005."

But if anyone dares criticize this murder-for-money, the parasites will claim that WE are parasites - or worse, "socialists" (gasp!).