Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Green Front

I'm slated to be on "The Green Front" ( on Progressive Radio Network Wed., Dec. 21 sometime between 2 and 3 PM, to discuss my recent climate pieces: "How the GOP Should Explain Climate Change" and "Newt, Your Ad With Pelosi Wasn't Dumb."

UPDATE 12/21: "Talking With the Left About Climate Change," my FrumForum post about the radio spot.


sinz52 said...

“The speech I wrote for a notional GOP politician in my how-to-explain-it post, I explained, was aimed at setting not only a policy framework but also a tone that could resonate with conservative voters.”

No it won’t. Not a chance.

This is your proposal from December 7:

“We will raise taxes on carbon emissions across the board, while cutting taxes on payrolls and incomes. That means more money in people’s pockets”

Your proposal means more money in the pockets of residents of large cities who can use mass transit. (No wonder the Blue States love this idea.) And it means less money in the pockets of rural Americans who have to drive miles and miles to get anywhere.

Consider: Even today, 60% of residents in New York City don’t own cars. They depend on mass transit–subways mostly–to get around. Under Silber’s proposal, they would come out way ahead–since they would get all these tax benefits while not ever having paid a dollar for gasoline.

Whereas residents in rural areas without mass transit, who live in sprawling prairies and plains, would come out way behind, because they would never get enough tax benefits to compensate for the higher gasoline prices. (Unless your proposal were not revenue-neutral, but instead created huge deficits so that everyone would get a break.)

But residents of cities tend to vote Democrat (NYC is a Dem stronghold), and rural voters tend to be Republican. Hence your proposal is a reward to urban Dems mostly.

I don’t think that’s going to go over well with conservatives.

The hard fact of the matter is that liberals tend to live in cities that have mass transit alternatives to gasoline consumption, and conservatives do not. Hence ANY proposal that tries to reduce gasoline consumption will hurt conservatives more than liberals.

And THAT is the real reason why conservatives are opposed to doing anything about global warming. They know instinctively that forcing a reduction in gasoline consumption hurts them and their communities more than it hurts liberal communities which typically have better access to mass transit alternatives.

I don't see how you fix that problem.

Kenneth Silber said...

I would think there's some blend of tax cuts that would appeal broadly to rural voters. I'm not really convinced they would shrug off payroll tax cuts, though I'd be open to some alternative. Also, the urban people do pay more when gas prices rises, for all the products that are trucked into the cities.