When we saw the headline for Sunday’s Wisconsin State Journal editorial — “Three smart steps to help curb climate change” — we thought we’d have a chance to say something nice… which we really DO like to do. “Lower carbon emissions” has been on their “2013 Editorial Board Agenda”, so we’ve been waiting, patiently. And this effort, for the WSJ, was sort of good! They urge 1) raising the gas tax, 2) more money for clean energy R&D, and 3) all of us should waste less energy.
Good for you, WSJ editorial board!
Good for you, WSJ editorial board; those are three good suggestions for curbing climate change.
But wait. Something’s not right… what is it? Oh, yes, of course, only the third suggestion (which is up to individuals) could plausibly happen. In fact, it is happening; many of us are wasting less energy in our daily lives. But the first two — the bigger two — require government action, and we have a federal government that’s unable to act on almost anything. Climate change is a prime example.
Republican lawmakers have painted themselves into a corner where they can’t ever raise a tax, no matter the reason, because the moment they do, a swarm of well-financed, far-right, anti-tax groups like the Club for Growth will begin working to replace them from office with candidates even more rigidly inflexible and doctrinaire. That’s today’s Grand Old Party. Isn’t it grand?
And then, to make things even worse, most Republican lawmakers are afraid to admit that climate change is real, or that humans are to blame, or that it’s a necessarily a bad thing even if it is occurring…. Some of them figure maybe it’s good thing! Ain’t it grand? We’ve got one our major parties marching ever backward and to the right, singing from a hymnal of dangerous, deliberate, and blind nonsense. Is it likely they’ll act, or be influenced in any way, by the State Journal’s three suggestions? Of course not. They will block any such effort.
Now, does the State Journal know this? Well, surely they must, on account of being Journalists… or because of following the news generally. Well, for any number of reasons, really. So, then, to what degree should we think of this latest Sunday editorial as serious work?
Well, suppose they had urged NASA to save immense amounts of time and money by powering their space vehicles with dilithium crystals, like on Star Trek. Now, dilithium crystals don’t exist (or not yet, except in science fiction). A call to use these crystals might sound good at first, especially to non-chemists — hell, dilithium crystals, yeah! — but it cannot happen (in reality). We’re not saying the State Journal called for fictional crystals, just that they called for Congress to raise the gas tax. It’s just an analogy but it’s pretty close.