Republicans’ War on Green Energy and Their Curious Born-Again Populism

While the last couple of weeks have been absorbed with gun control and the “fiscal cliff,” the Wall Street Journal editors have also been uncommonly obsessed with energy issues, mostly contrasting “green energy” with fracking.  The five editorials between Dec. 17-Jan 4 on these two subjects paint the usual Manichean world of growth vs. regulation, and “market-driven” natural gas investments vs. “trendy eco projects”. The key editorial in this sequence, “The Jackson Damage” (12/27), lays all the blame for high unemployment at the feet of retiring EPA Director and she-devil Lisa Jackson, whose “aggressive and punitive” regulators have “contributed to business uncertainty and stole dollars otherwise available for private investment.”

At the beating heart of this robbery are Obama’s “repressed green id” and the risible Democratic bias toward “racial justice and economic redistribution”. This bizarre psychoanalysis of the environmental movement seems confused insofar as it pits the desire for social justice, labeled as elitist and “anti-growth”, against American workers’ best interests.

A further twist of this inverted logic occurs in the Jan. 2 editorial, “Crony Capitalism Blowout,” which summons Republicans to a “new populist message” based on–wait for it- less corporate regulation, fewer constraints on corporate profit, lower taxes and less government. In this brave new populist America, “the social service planners who can’t run health care, education, or public housing” will be eclipsed by small businesses, investors, and the affluent. The ants (“those who save their money”) will triumph over the grasshoppers (“those who spend their money”).

But the ants are also due a huge tax break because the $5 million exemption on the estate tax is a “pittance for 50 years of work and thrift”, and should be raised. Only in GOP la-la-land is $5 million a “pittance”. Populism spreads to the 1%!

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