With so much big news grabbing headlines -- the Kavanaugh confirmation, tariffs and trade wars, the Mueller probe, kids held captive at the border... and the latest tweet-of-the-day -- it's easy to get distracted from other happenings in our government that could impact is in way large and small.
For instance, it looks like Congress just quietly approved another tax cut for the super-rich. While most of us won't feel it directly, the cut means yet less tax money coming into the Treasury, pushing the deficit even higher. Who pays the interest on that? Might the government feel the need to fill the gap by borrowing against Social Security or cutting some of those benefits most of us do or will rely on?
And here's something else that's happening right under our noses. The Environmental Protection Agency continues to have its legs cut out from under it. Regulations that protect our rivers, our air and our national parks are being rolled back in order to make it easier for businesses to exploit resources or maximize profits.
Profits for business are good, but not totally when they come at a frightening cost to us, our children and future generations.
The latest thing that may be happening as our attention is diverted is a plan to abolish the EPA's Office of the Science Advisor. The department's function is to counsel the EPA and its Administrator on the scientific and health impact of actions being considered by the EPA.
The Center for Science and Democracy with the Union of Concerned Scientists, an advocacy group, says that "everything from research on chemicals and health to peer-to-peer testing to data analysis would inevitably suffer." A spokesman for the union that represents some 900 EPA employees calls the move "an attempt to silence voices...to kill career civil servants' input and scientific perspectives on rule-making."
The Administration clearly places little value on science, as evidenced by the president's frequently calling global climate change a Chinese hoax. Unfortunately, it's not a hoax and many experts say we are very close to a tipping point where the amount of carbon in our atmosphere will unalterably lead to rising temperatures that will set off a climate chain reaction that could -- if not in our lifetime, certainly in our children's lifetime -- make earth unable to sustain human life.
That's a scary picture and it's one from which we can't let our attention be diverted.