by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Writing in the New York Times, Sean McElwee has produced an example of one of my favorite genres of political writing: “The idealized version of my preference is ideal.”
McElwee’s finding is that people love greenie-weenie schemes if you emphasize the benefits and promise that the costs will be minimal and paid for by someone else. “People Actually Like the Green New Deal,” the headline reads. …
… People love clean water that somebody else pays for, and high-paying jobs that someone else pays for, etc. McElwee writes:
“In our latest polling with Civis Analytics, a data science firm founded by alumni of the Obama campaign, we informed respondents that the Green New Deal is a Democratic proposal. Voters were told that the Green New Deal would ‘phase out the use of fossil fuels, with the government providing clean energy jobs for people who can’t find employment in the private sector. All jobs would pay at least $15 an hour, include health care benefits and collective bargaining rights.’ Many commentators have argued that the Green New Deal would become unpopular when voters were informed of the cost, so we added that the plan would ‘be paid for by raising taxes on incomes over $200,000 dollars a year by 15 percentage points.’”
This is pretty much pure horsepucky, of course. Would that 15-point tax hike on incomes over $200,000 actually pay for a program to “phase out the use of fossil fuels”? Nobody knows, since nobody knows what that would cost, since the technology to phase out fossil fuels does not currently, you know, exist. (I am writing this on an airplane, which is not kept in the air by happy thoughts.) Cookies poll pretty well, cookies that other people pay for poll very well, and cookies that magically appear on a plate thanks to magical f***ing magic are the most popular of all. But there ain’t no cookies like that.