FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Tea And Reality
Right now the little guy is the public school pupil whose daily rounds take him from a neglectful family to an indifferent teacher who can’t be removed. The little guy is the beleaguered administrator whose attempts at improvement are thwarted by unions. The little guy is the private-sector worker who doesn’t have a good health-care plan, who barely has a pension, who lacks job security, and who is paying everyone else’s bills.
Peggy Noonan (HT:WSJ)
A whole lot of average Americans are awakening to a shifting reality. A lot of things they believed, a lot of our cultural myths have fallen off the pedestal, rolled off the cliff-edge and plunging headlong into an abyss. We all had this belief that most of our powerful social organizations amassed their power and held their privileged positions because they went out there and fought at least a portion of The Good Fight. As we increasingly learn otherwise, a political pendulum begins a swing, with a newly awakened fear and distrust as the restoring force accelerating this move. Politically, this force has manifested itself against liberal, activist Democrats and Republicans both in the form of The Tea Party.
Both Public Employee Unions and The USEPA had that mythical and highly cherished good guy status. Yes, they went too far sometimes and occasionally needed to get pruned like an overambitious herbaceous border. The average American on the street would routinely view them as good, positive organizations that would do all right by us once the Hoffas got sent to the pokey or the latest environmentalist whacko got re-tethered to the sacred, verdant planet of his origin.
In the past three years we have seen a manifest body of evidence that this mythical good guy status did not accurately describe either the motives or the behavior of The Environmentalist Movement. The Cap and Trade Bill that emerged from The Us House of Representatives gave us a stark demonstration that the Environmental Movement was analogous to the people who surreptitiously manufactured Solyent Green. It was all about control, Man. It was all about control.
The Bill originally stipulated that various industries would purchase carbon emission permits from an allotment via an exchange that would sell gradually decreasing numbers of these pollution permits. Then the Bill went through committee and the real nature of the political-environmental alliance came to the fore. The bill would have represented a profoundly regressive tax on all users of electricity as utilities and industries fought to protect their margins. David Harsanyi describes the regressive impact that cost pass-through would have on consumers.
A recent study released by the Tax Foundation contends that the cap-and-trade bill is a regressive tax on families, as the bottom 20 percent of income earners would pay 6.2 percent of their income toward the tax while the top 20 percent of income earners will pay 1.4 percent. The report estimates that on average, this cap-and-trade scheme would cost the average household $1,218 extra a year. (The Congressional Budget Office analysis estimates that cap-and-trade would cost the average American family $1,600; others contend it would be even higher.)
Then the election of 2010 took place. After the Democrats lost several Senate seats and control of The House of Representatives, they went from backing The Waxman-Markey Bill to actually worrying whether President Obama would empower the EPA to enact Cap and Trade without their consent. The new Republican majority in the house is looking to legislate restrictions to the USEPA’s ability to regulation Greenhouse Gases (GHGs) such as Methane and CO2. Colin Peterson (D-Mn), a surviving Blue-Dog Democrat welcomes the opportunity to get on board. He is currently negotiating to protect ethanol subsidies, in return for which he will support whatever the GOP wants to do to Barak Obama’s EPA.
While I’ve opined in several previous blogs that ethanol subsidies are a poor public policy, fraught with costly negative externalities for US domestic and foreign policy, Peterson’s reversion to ratiocination on the issue is worthy of spotlighting. People look at election results and believe Christine O’ Donnell and Sharon Angle both utterly failed. A cursory look at the scoreboard does not flatter either woman’s reputation. Neither will be nominated for a major GOP election bid anytime this decade.
However, O’Donnell, Angle and all of their brave followers who fell before the spear of establishment ridicule accomplished two things. They revealed the establishment for the corrupt, self-serving leviathan that it was and they changed the political momentum supporting that leviathan’s inevitable growth. Peterson no longer willingly backs Cap-and-Trade for the same reason Richard Cohen of the Washington Post no longer reflexively backs the Public Employee Unions striking in Wisconsin. Cohen, rubs his eyes and wakes from the liberal dream for a bit below.
Walker is personifying the feeling of resentment and anger toward government workers who have so gamed the system that some of them retire on larger stipends than the average American makes in salary – and with health care, too. Like Reagan, Walker has tapped into a feeling of disgust – the always-dangerous sense that you and I have played by the rules and saved for our modest retirements, while government workers, on our dime, have run off with pensions they do not deserve. We feel we have been played for a fool.
-Richard Cohen (HT:WaPo)
I find myself mysteriously agreeing with Richard Cohen, the left-most writer on the WaPo staff who still comprehends mysterious documents that were written more than 100 years ago. (See Klein, Ezra, Moron; if you don’t understand that particular reference). On those rare and isolated occasions upon which I agree with Mr. Cohen on much of anything, I wait for Rod Serling’s voiceover to warn me of my impending approach to The Twilight Zone.
This time, however, I won’t be experiencing the bizarre side of late night television Sci-Fi. It is Mr. Cohen, not I, who has been forced to alter his fundamental paradigm. This doesn’t occur in a vacuum, but in a turbulent chaotic flux of changing times. He stares at impending reality like a paralyzed deer in the headlights of a marauding F-150.
Richard Cohen, who once compared Sarah Palin’s Vice-Presidential bid to the inauguration of Nero’s favorite racehorse into the Roman Senate, probably laughed and jokingly demanded to see the Tarot Cards when Christine O’Donnell was accused of practicing witchcraft. But; if Christine cast any spells last fall, Former Dungeons and Dragons players can tell you exactly which one it was. She, and her fellow partisans, unloaded with Dispel Illusion. They succeeding in destroying nearly a century’s worth of misperceptions that large, unrestrained government could remain an unalloyed force for good.
The willingness of Colin Peterson to oppose the EPA’s version of Cap and Trade, after he supported Waxman-Markey in 2009, is not a surprise. Richard Cohen’s realization that Public Employees had grown fat and corrupt is pleasantly shocking. However, thanks to the efforts of Tea Partiers everywhere, both men have awakened from the dream of the Oligarchical Collectivist State. Both men have been forced to face the world of tea and reality.