In high school I enjoyed print shop, but had I made it a career I would have been out of a job by the 1970s, when cool electronics replaced hot-metal printing. My dad was a draftsman, a profession replaced by computer-aided design. Everyone can identify other jobs that no longer exist or that require far fewer workers.
Which brings me to the so-called war on coal. Mining jobs are so geographically concentrated that regional effects are more pronounced, but the overall loss of coal jobs, due to economics and technology and less to regulations, fades relative to other losses. Where is the sympathy for lost farm families, factory workers, shopkeepers, shoe repairmen, blacksmiths and the loss of summer jobs for teenagers?
We’ll still have coal, but to use a “war on coal” argument as an excuse to risk public health (greater for coal-mining families), to hamper development of eco-friendly energy strategies, to stall economic redevelopment and to cede global leadership is worse than stupid.
Wake up, folks, this is the automated, online, somnolent world you seem to want. You can’t have it all.
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