In the news yesterday, June 26, 2006, was a story about the Supreme Court agreeing to hear arguments on whether the federal government must (or even has the authority to) regulate carbon dioxide as a pollutant. This case could have broad implications for utilities, auto manufacturers and other industries nationwide. So it’s important, folks. But I don’t anticipate the Court ruling in favor of the 12 states, 13 environmental groups, two cities and American Samoa that are bringing suit against the nation’s government. Why? Well, it wouldn’t be good for business. That’s why. See the FULL STORY in the Seattle Times.
Charles E. Wilson, who eventually became Secretary of Defense during the Eisenhower years, is often misquoted as having said during Senate confirmation hearings, “What’s good for General Motors is good for the country.” What he really said, when asked if as secretary of defense he could make a decision adverse to the interests of General Motors, was, “Yes.” But he added words to the effect that he could not conceive of such a situation, “… because for years I thought what was good for the country was good for General Motors and vice versa.” You see, Wilson had been CEO of General Motors and, at the time of his nomination, he still owned 2.5 million dollars in General Motors stock – a tidy sum back then. Notwithstanding, he was eventually approved for the post. You can read more about Wilson, if you’re interested, in this Department of Defense biography. Hmmm… I wonder how much Mr. Cheney still owns of Halliburton?… another posting another time perhaps.
You may or may not think that this little tidbit of U.S. history is interesting. But whether you do or not, you might well ask, why should we care? Why should you bring it up in a posting about the Supreme Court and the environment? Well, because the myth about what Wilson said seems to be more true about our country than what he really said. People actually do believe what they think he said is true… if that makes any sense. Personally, I think it’s even more true today, under the Bush/Cheney administration and a Republican-controlled Congress, than it ever has been. But, hey… that’s just me talking. Substitute the word, “business,” for the words, “General Motors” (back then, circa 1953, the two were virtually synonymous) and you’ve pretty much defined the motivation behind everything that Washington does, everything except getting reelected that is. Didn’t Will Rogers say, “A fool and his money are soon elected?”
Smart man that Will Rogers, but he wasn’t the only American that could sort the wheat from the chaff. President Eisenhower could too, and he was a Republican! In fact, most of us can clearly see that what is good for America is not always what is best for America. Let’s all hope the Supreme Court still can too. But, hey! They at least agreed to hear the case.
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