The Washington Post

Burning question

I don’t understand people who worry about coal. They talk about all that energy, right there in the ground, going to waste if we don’t dig it out and burn it.

How is it going to waste in the ground? Is money in the bank ‘going to waste’? If coal is a valuable resource, it’s still valuable if we hold onto to it for a little longer, maybe longer enough that we can burn it without dumping the carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

But what about the jobs? Now there is a better question. Jobs are scare enough, although the vast majority of the money from coal mining does not go to the diggers. But the fact of the matter is, it’s a bad job, and I’m not talking about working conditions. If somebody created a job that paid somebody to take his waste and dump it in your child’s crib, how patient would you be with justifications? Okay, now tell me the difference.

This is simply one more version of Americans not growing up enough to have an intelligent conversation about trade-offs. Yeah, life was simpler and more profitable in the time before we had to have that kind of conversation. Time’s up.

Tom Toles is the editorial cartoonist for The Post and writes the Tom Toles blog. See all of his cartoons here.

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