Greens against the poor

Lexus lib­er­als ig­nore how their cli­mate change agenda hurts the less for­tu­nate

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - By Stephen Moore

Barack Obama, Hil­lary Clin­ton, El­iz­a­beth War­ren and the whole gang of Demo­cratic lead­ers claim that one of their high­est pri­or­i­ties is to lift up the mid­dle class and re­duce the in­come gap be­tween rich and poor. That goal col­lides with what they ad­mit is their very high­est pri­or­ity: stop­ping cli­mate change. Their agenda is driven by the mil­lion­aire and bil­lion­aire Demo­cratic donors who make the party pos­si­ble. But the agenda also in­volves mak­ing en­ergy, home heat­ing, trans­porta­tion and just about ev­ery­thing else less ef­fi­cient and more ex­pen­sive to the mid­dle class and poor. The peo­ple who lose their jobs when the cli­mate-change Stal­in­ists pre­vail are the peo­ple at the bot­tom and the mid­dle of the in­come lad­der.

The bil­lion­aire club mem­bers don’t seem to mind this col­lat­eral dam­age. Last week bil­lion­aire Tom Steyer con­vened the uber-rich lib­eral donor base at the Four Sea­sons Ho­tel in Seat­tle — nice — to pon­tif­i­cate about how much they care about po­lar bears, the Arc­tic ice caps and ris­ing sea lev­els.

As Politico re­ported ear­lier this week, Mr. Steyer had “his fin­ger­prints are all over this week’s spring meet­ing of the Democ­racy Al­liance — an in­di­ca­tion that the in­flu­en­tial coali­tion of lib­eral donors in­tends to spend big to el­e­vate cli­mate change, and that Steyer plans to be at the fore­front.”

All of the ma­jor ac­tion items will hurt unions, re­duce wages, drive up un­em­ploy­ment, and make the poor poorer. Mr. Steyer may as well be say­ing of Amer­ica’s work­ing class: Let them eat cake.

For sev­eral years now, the en­vi­ron­men­tal con­fer­ences in posh places like Aspen, Sun Val­ley and Rio be­come park­ing lots for pri­vate jets. Hil­lary Clin­ton re­quires a pri­vate plane when she gives her $200,000 speeches. She and her jolly green friends then opine about why the poor should do their part to help save the planet by giv­ing up coal min­ing, truck­ing, weld­ing, con­struc­tion, pipe-fit­ting, drilling and other jobs that are vi­tal to their very liveli­hoods. Farm­ers in Cal­i­for­nia have to watch the brown­ing of their state and the loss of their prop­erty to save salmon and trout. Some 42,000 fewer Amer­i­cans have jobs thanks to Mr. Obama’s de­ci­sion at the be­hest of the En­vi­ron­men­tal De­fense Fund to kill the Keystone XL pipe­line.

What hu­man­i­tar­i­ans th­ese peo­ple are. I had much more re­spect for this crowd when they were bleed­ing hearts. Though their pol­icy ideas were of­ten mis­guided, at least they cared about the less for­tu­nate. Now they are will­ing to nail the poor to a cross of green.

Mr. Steyer and his pals like Pres­i­dent Obama have been run­ning around the coun­try telling Amer­i­cans that the great­est cri­sis in Amer­ica to­day is global warm­ing. But work­ing-class peo­ple uni­ver­sally re­ject that no­tion. Nearly ev­ery poll of vot­ers over the last sev­eral years con­sis­tently finds Amer­i­cans rank jobs, in­comes, ter­ror­ism, the na­tional debt, schools and other such daily con­cerns at the top of the list of pol­icy pri­or­i­ties. Global warm­ing al­most al­ways ranks last or very near the bot­tom — which is amaz­ing, given the bil­lions that have been spent on this pro­pa­ganda cam­paign.

A Gallup poll found in March 2015 that only 2 per­cent of Amer­i­cans per­ceive the “en­vi­ron­ment/pol­lu­tion” as the na­tion’s “most im­por­tant prob­lem.” And a Bloomberg poll last year specif­i­cally list­ing cli­mate as an can­di­date for “most im­por­tant is­sue” found only 5 per­cent of Amer­i­cans con­cur­ring. Polls also show the richer Democrats are, the more they care about cli­mate change. Maybe that’s be­cause green poli­cies hurt the poor and work­ing class — start­ing most ob­vi­ously with op­po­si­tion to mod­ern drilling tech­niques such as frack­ing, and with block­ing in­fra­struc­ture projects that would cre­ate tens of thou­sands of high-pay­ing union jobs.

A re­cent Brook­ings study en­ti­tled “Wel­fare and Dis­tri­bu­tional Im­pli­ca­tions of Shale Gas,” finds that the 47 per­cent decline in nat­u­ral gas prices due to the shale gas “frack­ing revo­lu­tion” has meant the “res­i­den­tial con­sumer gas bills have dropped $13 bil­lion per year from 2007-2013.” This has saved gas-con­sum­ing mid­dle-class fam­i­lies an av­er­age of $200 per year, with some fam­i­lies sav­ing nearly $500 a year.

An­other study by John Har­pole, pres­i­dent of Mer­ca­tor En­ergy in Colorado, finds that be­cause the poor spend far more on util­ity bills than do the rich as a share of their in­comes, “the poor ben­e­fit far more than the rich from the shale oil and gas boom.” The sav­ings to the poor have been mul­ti­ple times larger than the value of the $1 bil­lion a year the feds throw at the Low In­come Home En­ergy As­sis­tance Pro­gram.

Last month Mr. Obama pledged to cut Amer­ica’s car­bon diox­ide emis­sions up to 28 per­cent be­low 2005 lev­els by 2025 and 80 per­cent by 2050. Paul Driessen of the Com­mit­tee For a Con­struc­tive To­mor­row cal­cu­lates this would end up “tak­ing us back to Civil War-era emis­sion lev­els, 150 years ago.” He adds: “Poor, mi­nor­ity and blue-col­lar fam­i­lies will have to find thou­sands of dol­lars a year for soar­ing elec­tric­ity, ve­hi­cle and ap­pli­ance costs. Small busi­nesses will have to find tens of thou­sands of dol­lars to keep the heat and lights on. Fac­to­ries, malls, school dis­tricts, hos­pi­tals and cities will have to pay mil­lions more.”

Re­mem­ber that when Democrats start play­ing the class war­fare card. No one on the left, least of all the donors who are fund­ing the cli­mate change scare cam­paign, seem to care about how the poor will cope with slow growth and higher costs. The Sierra Club’s Lexus lib­er­als can af­ford a fu­ture with less growth, fewer jobs and higher costs for ev­ery­thing. The mid­dle class can’t. Democrats have aban­doned the fi­nan­cial in­ter­ests of th­ese Amer­i­cans. Repub­li­cans re­ally are the stupid party if they can’t win th­ese dis­en­chanted vot­ers. Stephen Moore is a se­nior fel­low at the Her­itage Foun­da­tion and a Fox News con­trib­u­tor.

IL­LUS­TRA­TION BY ALEXANDER HUNTER/THE WASH­ING­TON TIMES

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