Why Are They All So Angry?

It’s the defining characteristic of today’s progressive left: Anger. And it’s not just the rioters like Antifa, or the unspeakably rude people who confront administration figures in restaurants and gratuitously yell at them. Take a look at any of the new icons of the Democratic Party when they are speaking — for example Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, or Ilhan Omar — and you see them seething with barely controllable anger, if not outright fury. Same with essentially every left-wing commenter on CNN or MSNBC.

And I’m just getting to the Democratic presidential candidates. Bernie Sanders. Is there anybody angrier? Always, and about everything. For that matter, all the contenders who have broken out of the less-than-1% category (and most of those who haven’t) are putting on a show of trying to out-angry all the others. Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris. Anger must be what sells these days to the categories of voters they are pursuing.

But how about Joe Biden, you say? Certainly he is not as angry as these others. You must have missed Biden’s July 5 interview with Chris Cuomo of CNN. Having just been outmaneuvered by Kamala Harris at the first Democratic debate, Biden decided that it was time to show that he can do anger with the best of them. According to that New York Post report of the interview, “throughout it all, Biden was angry.” It reached the boiling point when Cuomo raised the issue of Russian election interference, drawing this response from Biden:

“You think that would happen on my watch, on Barack’s watch? You can’t answer that, but I promise you it wouldn’t have. And it didn’t.”

Sure, Joe.

My observation is that, at least for those of the progressive mindset, the less they have to be angry about, the angrier they become. . . .

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The Democratic Candidates' Bidding War: Can Anybody Even Compile A Full List?

In the run-up to tonight’s first debate among the 2020 Democratic candidates, many have noted the outbreak of what is being called the “bidding war.” In this war, the “bids” consist of proposals for new government spending, handout and giveaway programs. Among both the candidates and those covering the process, the assumption appears to be that the game will be won by the candidate who bids the biggest collection of the most expensive and extravagant such new programs. With time running out to get bids on the table before the debates begin, the last few weeks have seen a blizzard of new and ever-more-expensive proposals for buying the votes of the electorate. After all, when you get hit at one of these debates with a question about some human problem, you certainly don’t want to be caught without having already proposed a program or handout to “solve” that particular problem.

Meanwhile, don’t worry, none of these moderators will bother to ask you how you plan to pay for your various proposals. Obviously, we all know that payment can come from the infinite pile of free government loot. In the off chance that somebody tries to press you, you can always refer to your plan for a new “billionaire’s tax.” No details required.

A funny thing about this process is how piecemeal it is. One day one candidate comes out with a proposal for Medicare for All, and another day another candidate comes out with a proposal for a universal childcare system, and on yet another day another candidate comes out with a proposal for a renters’ tax credit. Can anybody give us a complete list of all the proposed new programs? How else are we ever going to get an idea of what kind of country these people intend to leave us with when all their programs get enacted?

Well, I’m sorry to be the one to tell you, but I don’t think it’s possible. . . .

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Talk About Excitement: New York To Become The "Global Leader" On Climate!

My posts of May 27 and of June 17 have taken note of the tremendous excitement being felt in New York now that our newly-fully-progressive-controlled state legislature has finally tightened up the rent regulation system to make sure that a select group of Manhattan millionaires can keep their way-below-market regulated rents for life. Take that, evil Republicans! But believe it or not, the excitement emanating from the great rent regulation “victory” is nothing compared to the fervor now being generated by the latest bill, just passed yesterday by the state legislature. You can get a sense of the ecstasy from the all-caps New York Times headline appearing over its lead story in this morning’s edition: “BIG CLIMATE PLAN SETS UP NEW YORK AS GLOBAL LEADER.” (The headline in the online version of the story is different, although the story is the same.)

Yes, finally (now that those evil Republicans are gone from their former majority in the state Senate) New York is getting serious on “climate.” And not just a little serious. It is going to become the climate’s “global leader.” What exactly does that entail?

The [Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act] requires New York to get 70 percent of its electricity from renewable sources like wind, solar and hydropower by 2030 and shift entirely to carbon-free power a decade later.

And then?

[T]he . . . Act would require the state to slash its planet-warming pollution 85 percent below 1990 levels by 2050, and offset the remaining 15 percent, possibly through measures to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. If the state manages to hit those targets, it would effectively create a so-called net-zero economy, the ultimate goal of environmentalists and others seeking to slow the pace of global warming.

Before getting into the subject of whether there is any reality to this at all, we ought perhaps to have a review of the last time the New York Times declared a world “climate leader.” That would be back in March 2017, when Pravda in a big front-page spread awarded the mantle of “climate leader” to none other than the country of China. . . .

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On The Promise Of "Green Jobs"

Sometimes it seems like the biggest selling point advanced in favor of “renewable energy” is the promise of what are called “green jobs.” What are those? Proponents are often vague, but I suppose that the green jobs largely consist of the work of building, installing, and maintaining the vast future farms of windmills and solar panels, and related infrastructure like transmission lines. Since most of these jobs involve some combination of strenuous labor in remote areas and/or a high level of skill, of course they will be very high-paying jobs. Millions of them. What’s not to like about that?

President Obama was an early arrival at the “green jobs” party, tossing out a “plan to create 5 million new green jobs” as part of his 2008 presidential campaign. (Politifact in November 2016 struggles to figure out how many of those jobs ever got created, and if so, where they may be.) You won’t be surprised to learn that Obama’s ideas pretty much all consisted of some variety of government subsidies, programs, mandates, tax credits, “investments,” expenditures, and the like, e.g., a new “job training program for clean technologies,” a new federal “renewable portfolio standard” to force utilities to switch to wind and/or solar generation, extension of the “production tax credit” for wind and solar, and so on and on.

More recently “green jobs” promoters have further upped the ante. In January of this year, Francie Diep of Pacific Standard quoted the Center for American Progress as predicting that a federal “investment” of just $800 billion per year (!) toward cutting carbon emissions to zero would create 6.8 million net new jobs. Meanwhile, the International Labor Organization (part of the UN) put out a study in 2018 predicting that implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement would create some 24 million “net” green new jobs worldwide by 2030. It all sounds like a near-infinite bounty of new wealth.

Do you spot the fallacy here? . . .

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The Best Part Of Not Being A Progressive Is Not Having To Feel Guilty All The Time

I often tell my kids that the most important thing you can do with your life is enjoy it. Life is way shorter than you think, and if you blow your precious days coming up with fake reasons to feel anxious or guilty, you have no one to blame but yourself. Instead, count your blessings and seize every minute.

Then there is the progressive approach to life. I think that the whole progressive philosophy boils down to coming up with fake reasons to feel anxious and/or guilty in order to prevent any and all enjoyment of life. You worked hard and made some money? Then you have caused income inequality! You had a delicious steak for dinner? Then you have caused the degradation of the environment and you are ruining your own health! I’m sure that readers can come up with dozens more such examples.

How to explain this phenomenon? Could it be that there is some dark, twisted pleasure in creating fake guilt for yourself so that you can wallow in it and feel miserable? It doesn’t make any sense to me, but that’s the best hypothesis I’ve got. However, this I do know: There is definitely much pleasure to be had in watching progressives wallowing in their guilt and sapping all the joy out of their lives. This can be quite entertaining.

A great example of the genre is an article that appeared in the Travel section of the New York Times over the weekend. The headline (in the online version) is “If Seeing the World Helps Ruin It, Should We Stay Home?”, and the author is Andy Newman. This was not just any old article, but the lead article, occupying the entire front page and the entire back page of the section. It had the official New York Times imprimatur as the most important thing happening in the world of travel right now. So what is the official word? . . .

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What's The Potential Bipartisan Compromise On "Climate" Policy?

What's The Potential Bipartisan Compromise On "Climate" Policy?

Many bemoan how our political culture has become increasingly and perhaps irretrievably polarized in recent years. Seemingly all of Washington consists of nothing but two sides endlessly screaming at each other. What happened to what once were the regular outbreaks of “bipartisanship”? Can’t these people work together any more to “get things done”?

For myself, I’ve never been much of a fan of “bipartisanship” or “getting things done” in Washington. Almost always, these are euphemisms for adding to the government’s budget and to counter-productive programs, albeit a little more slowly than the Democrats would have liked. How about getting less done in Washington, and letting the states, or the people individually, take care of these things?

But suppose you are a fan of the growth of government and its spending as the route to solve all the big problems of the world. Then the “climate change” mantra may well seem to you like a godsend. Here is a catch-all slogan that can be used to advocate for most or all of your major goals, while bringing to the mix a claim of moral necessity and urgency that many people, especially young people, find politically irresistible. Do you want to have the government take a more active role in maintaining and improving the environment? How about a more active role to make industry or agriculture or transportation more “sustainable”? How about to thwart capitalism and bring about a more just and fair society organized on a socialist model? How about to redistribute income from rich to poor? Make it all about “climate change.” Now you’re not just playing to envy and using taxpayer dollars to buy votes. You’re fighting to “save the planet”! The moral high ground is yours. . . .

But there is a fundamental problem here in trying to reach any kind of half-way compromise on an emissions reduction program intended to affect the climate. The problem is that the whole concept of affecting the world’s climate through attempted emissions reductions quite obviously doesn’t make any sense at all except on the very grandest of scales. Halfway (or ten percent of the way) measures are completely useless. . . .

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