Today's question at "Politico Arena":
"Have the greens failed?"
If the greens have failed, it's not for lack of trying. For years now, in everything from pre-school programs to "educational" ads aimed at adults, they've been "greenwashing" our brains. In September the Wall Street Journal reported that the EPA was focusing on children: "Partnering with the Parent Teacher Organization, the agency earlier this month launched a cross-country tour of 6,000 schools to teach students about climate change and energy efficiency."
Yet for all that effort, the public isn't buying. As Politico notes this morning: "The Pew Research Center found that by last January, global warming 'ranked at the bottom of the public’s list of policy priorities for the president and Congress this year.'" And "Independent voters and Republicans ranked it last on a list of 20 priorities, while Democrats ranked it 16th." Meanwhile, "other polling suggests Americans are growing more skeptical of the science behind climate change, with those who blame human activity for global warming -- 36 percent -- falling 11 percentage points this year, according to Pew." And that was before "Climategate" came to light.
At bottom, the greens face three basic problems. First, by no means is the science of global warming "settled" -- if anything, the fraud Climategate surfaced has settled that question. Second, even if global warming were a settled science, the contribution of human activity is anything but certain. And finally, most important, even if the answers to those two questions were clear, the costs -- or benefits -- of global warming are unknown, but the costs of the proposals promoted by the greens are astronomical.
So how do they respond to all of this? Politico cites Greenpeace executive director Phil Radford: "'Obama's problem is not his position on the climate issue but, rather, his will,' says Radford. 'The question is how much the president will lead.' Americans have 'overlearned' the lessons of Kyoto, where President Bill Clinton agreed to a treaty that he never submitted for ratification because it faced near-unanimous rejection in the Senate, Radford said. 'They’re using that as a reason to hide behind Congress instead of to lead Congress.'"
There you have it. It's all a matter of will -- indeed, of belief. The president needs simply to will this through, the people (and Congress) be damned. We, the anointed, know what's right, what needs to be done. Is it any wonder that the greens are failing, at least where the people can still be heard?
ABC News reports that the "Cash for Clunkers" scheme, a government program that offers a rebate to people who trade in vehicles with low gas mileage for more fuel efficient cars, is gaining popularity:
The program is off to a fast start. In less than a week, 8,000 cars have been traded in for new ones -- deals that might not have happened if Washington were not offering people $3,500 to $4,500 to get their aging gas guzzlers off the road.
In June, Cato senior fellow Alan Reynolds explained how you can use that money to buy the muscle car or truck you always wanted:
Consider how easy it would be to game this giveaway program by using that $4,500 voucher to buy a big SUV or V-8 muscle car.
First of all, with Chrysler and GM dealerships folding, it should be easy to buy a mediocre Chevy Cobalt or Dodge Caliber for about $10,000 more than the voucher.
What you do next is sell that boring econobox, even if you end up with $1,000 less than you paid — that still leaves you with $3,500 of free money, courtesy of taxpayers.
As this process unfolds, the flood of resold small cars will make it even harder for GM, Chrysler and Ford dealers to get a decent price for small cars, because of added competition from new cars being resold as used.
That’s their problem, not yours.
So, take the $9,000 net from reselling the crummy little car plus the $4,500 from Uncle Sam. Then use that $13,500 to make a big down payment on a used Cadillac Escalade, Toyota Tundra pickup or Corvette.
File this under “unintended consequences” (my own file is running out of space).