PoliBlog (TM): A Rough Draft of my Thoughts

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  1. For the last hundred years or so we’ve been managing forest fires with the policy that all forest fires should be extinguished.

    Unfortunately, what that means a hundred years down the line is that in forests that used to have 100 stems per acre, there are now 1000; and there is so much deadfall and ground fuel that when someone drops a match, half of California burns. We often lack the ability to put out fires now. There is so much fuel, and they get so hot so fast that the best we can do is try contain them and hope they don’t destroy too many communities.

    If routine fires were allowed to burn and clear out the surplus young trees, deadfall, and other clutter - we’d never have been in this place. When a brushfire started, it wouldn’t threaten the entire west. It would burn along the ground, clear out the deadfall, not reach the crowns of the trees. An occasional fire is natural, and part of the cleansing process that keeps the system healthy. Ironically - by trying to protect the forests by putting out fires, even those started by nature - we actually put the forests in greater danger than they had ever been before.

    By not letting the economy burn - even if it means a mild to moderate depression - these guys are letting the deadfall accumulate. No one learns from their mistakes in this deal, and the country does not get better for it. No discipline is infused into borrowers, lenders, or the government, and we get to continue borrowing, borrowing, borrowing, taking from a font that we believe will never dry up.

    It will. All this measure is going to do is make the economic fire that much more painful when it does happen.

    I’m ashamed of my Congress for letting this stand. It was short-sighted and stupid.

    Comment by Western Man — Saturday, October 4, 2008 @ 2:28 pm

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