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In an effort to save the forests, our actions might actually be destroying the forests. In the same way, the U.S. Government’s actions to save the economy might end up destroying the economy.
Smokey the Bear - Fire Suppression has caused the Massive Wildfires in Texas
Forests need natural fires to burn so that the problems can be burned away while they are small and without causing damage to the trees. This also allows new trees to sprout and nourishes the rest of the forest. By putting out any small, natural fires, we have allowed the underbrush to build up so that when it does burn, it is devastating and the whole forest burns, trees and all.
For instance, Arizona Ponderosa Pine forests burned every 2 to 8 years before European settlement, and these natural lightning strike fires increased vegetation diversity. Tree density was much lower than it is today, so when fires did occur, they were cooler. Good intentions of saving the forest by not allowing any fires have actually caused more damage to the forests than what the small fires would have caused if allowed to burn.
The Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003 was proposed by President George W. Bush. The main thrusts of the law are to thin overstocked stands, clear away vegetation and trees to create shaded fuel breaks, and provide funding and guidance to reduce or eliminate hazardous fuels in National Forests.
As a result, we see a lot more prescribed burns to try to burn this buildup of underbrush and fix this problem that we have created. This law was a good start, but there is so much buildup of underbrush in so many places that we will see massive wildfires like what we now have in Texas for many years to come.
The United States Economy is also on the Brink of Being Destroyed by “Self–Inflicted, Massive Fires”
The United States Government has been suppressing the small fires that pop up in the economy. Much like the suppression of natural forest fires, this will end up being devastating for the economy in the long run. It is not always a bad thing for businesses to fail, to go bankrupt, to re-organize, to learn from their mistakes, to correct the problems. This allows bad practices and problems to be burned away and allows new businesses with better practices to sprout up, or forces the bad companies to change their course and learn from their mistakes. By continually putting out the natural fires in the economy by bailing out the bad businesses and not allowing “natural fires to take their course”, we now have an economy that is filled with a large understory of flammable brush that is ready to ignite and burn the entire economy. That problem is compounded by the massive debt that the U.S. Government has built up, which will eventually require huge tax increases to pay it off, which will in turn hurt the economy even more.
Good intentions of saving the economy by not allowing any fires has actually caused more damage to the economy than what the small business fires would have caused if allowed to burn. We let our feelings get in the way of reason and what is best for the long term. Now the economy is in danger of a massive and devastating wildfire. Just like President Bush did in 2003 by proactively starting to remove underbrush in the forests, we must also immediately stop allowing underbrush to grow in the economy. We must allow small fires to burn, and we must also stop feeding the massive U.S. debt.