Even as Secretary of State John Kerry — man of many mansions and at least one yacht — was lecturing Indonesians (annual average income: $3,420) about the costs of inaction on climate change (that, again?) and government policies were continuing to wreak avoidable drought on California’s central valley, this instructive exchange was happening on Fox News Sunday:
“CHRIS WALLACE: President Obama in drought-ridden California Friday proposing a $1 billion fund to research and help communities deal with the effects of climate change. And we’re back now with the panel. Well, the president’s case may seem a bit hard to make when the eastern half of the country is in the grips of a brutal winter. But as you heard the president say, climate change accounts for everything from drought to floods. George? Do you buy it?
“GEORGE WILL, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: No. And neither does science. But I’m one of those who are called deniers. And the implication is that I deny climate change. It’s impossible to state with clearer precision the opposite of my view, which is that, of course the climate is changing. It’s always changing. That’s what gave us the medieval warm period. That’s what gave us subsequent to that for centuries the brutal Ice Age. Of course it’s changing. But when a politician on a subject implicating science, hard science, economic science, social science says the debate is over, you may be sure of two things. The debate is raging and he’s losing it. So I think frankly as a policy question, Chris, Holman Jenkins, Kim’s [Strassel] colleague at the ‘Wall Street Journal’ put it perfectly, the only questions is, how much money are we going to spend? How much wealth are we going to forego creating in order to have zero or discernible effect on the environment?”
The follow-up is, how much of that money is going to go to eco-businessmen who are well-connected with powerful politicians? If recent American experience is a guide the answer is: nearly all of it. Because, also as recent American experience has shown, such programs are churning operations that feed the campaign treasuries of Democrats.
The question beyond that becomes just how much freedom and upward mobility, through the inexpensive acquisition of goods and services produced by economical fossil fuels, are people willing to sacrifice in vain attempts to tame Earth’s immutable dynamism?
Fulfilling Kerry’s ambitions would squeeze, brutally, most of the 99 percent. And it’s not like all of us can defray the expense by marrying billionaire condiment heiresses.