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.