The Clean Air Act Failed
by Handsome Matt
Yes we have cleaner air, more responsible manufacturing practices, and the Cuyahoga River no longer burns. However, it failed in one big way:
It wasn’t strong enough.
The reason the US dropped out of the Kyoto Protocols was simple: If China and India weren’t going to reduce their emissions, then why should the US?
Why did so many countries ship jobs overseas? To avoid doing the responsible thing in the US. To protect profit margins.
Here’s where the Clean Air Act failed: It didn’t affect companies that imported goods. We could have legally demanded and enforced, that any good imported to the US market be subject to Clean Air Act requirements (or Fair Labor Practices for that matter).
One or two things would have happened:
1) Outsourced companies would be forced to match the environmental standards/labor practices of US companies; They wouldn’t have been able to import into the US market.
2) Companies would have kept jobs in the US. Meaning they’re subject to environmental standards/labor practices that have been proven to work.
Here’s the kicker: The US market is massive, and a driver of the global economy; this kind of law is easy to enforce, because it can’t be sidestepped. If a company wants to export goods to the US, they have to play by our rules. Since we’re one of the largest economies in the world, companies will play by our rules.
Easy, peezy lemon squeezy!