Liberals’ green injustice
Charles Lane — TribLive — October 20, 2012
Al Gore is about 50 times richer than he was when he left the vice presidency in 2001. According to The Washington Post, Gore accumulated $100 million partly through investing in alternative energy firms subsidized by the Obama administration.
Two days after that story ran, Mitt Romney proclaimed at a rally in Ohio’s Appalachian coal country: “We have a lot of coal; we are going to use it. We are going to keep those jobs.” Thousands cheered.
The juxtaposition speaks volumes about the Democratic Party and about modern liberalism generally. As the Democrats become more committed to, and defined by, a green agenda (and as they become dependent on money from high-tech venture capitalists and their lobbyists), it becomes harder to describe them as a party for the little guy — or liberalism as a philosophy of distributive justice.
Gore’s sanctimony doesn’t help. The erstwhile Tennessee populist bristles at any suggestion that his climate crusade is about money. Still, his investments, including in such flops as Fisker, the maker of $100,000 plug-in hybrid cars, create a patent conflict of interest. This hurts his credibility — if not about climate change per se, then certainly about the particular solutions he advocates.
But that’s not the worst contradiction in the Democrats’ doing-well-by-being-green ethos. Green energy is not cost-competitive with traditional energy and won’t be for years. So it can’t work without either taxpayer subsidies, much of which accrue to “entrepreneurs” such as Gore, or higher prices for fossil energy, the brunt of which is borne by people of modest means
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