Policies that are cynically good for the business of politics and bad for everyone else.
The political left’s playbook isn’t very big, but it is always amazing how boldly they run it and nobody is proud to re-run the same old plays more than New York’s Governor Cuomo.
If a football team only had two plays, they might wander onto the field sheepishly with the fear that everyone knew what to expect. But instead the left seems to showboat like a touchdown-scoring quarterback with their single-paged, albeit double-sided, playbook.
Play number one for the left isn’t much of a secret — attack your opponent’s credibility. An example of this play was Hillary Clinton’s recent “impromptu” airplane press conference where she insinuated Trump was corrupt — boldly ignoring her own decades of bad behavior. And she hasn’t stopped attacking her opponent over ethics, even as Wikileaks wizard Julian Assange threatens to release as much evidence of her corruption as he can.
Spoiler alert: he has a lot of material.
Play one is easy to spot, but play number two is the sneaky one. (I even bet they print on the back page of their one-page playbook.)
First, the left picks a policy area that they can reduce to the simplest terms and foment populist support around. Second, they funnel public money toward their friends and crony supporters. Third, they exacerbate the problems of the populace, so that the next time their plan will be even easier. Fourth, profit.
There are lot of examples of this second play. A frequent use of this sneaky play are welfare programs that “get people out of poverty,” but fund “non-profits,” consultants, and businesses that are often also donors. When help does arrive, it is delivered in a way that makes it harder for their impoverished targets to escape their financial troubles.
See the left doesn’t really want to solve poverty, they want to exacerbate it. The so-called War on Poverty has cost America $22 trillion in the last 50 years all while the poverty rate has stayed the same (about 14.5 %).
Another all too familiar example are healthcare policies sold as helping to insure the uninsured, but in fact push people into healthcare plans that do more to insure the hospital than the patient, all while actually lowering the amount of competition in the market — which means that even more people need “help.”
A newer example is something happening in New York. Gov. Andrew Cuomo is attempting to adeptly usher through play number two, all while strutting like only a Democrat who thinks he’s about to spike a ball in the end zone.
The left has done a good job at creating consistent populist outcry regarding the environment. The Earth is constantly in peril, whether it’s from climate change, global warming, the greenhouse effect, the hole in the ozone layer, or (and they hate when we bring this up) global cooling.
Now Cuomo is using this as his pivot point. On August 1 the New York Public Service Commission (PSC), a board appointed by Cuomo, approved a Clean Energy Standard (CES). The standard mandates that New York gets 50% of its energy from carbon-neutral sources by 2030. Step number one complete.
However, the PSC didn’t stop there — that isn’t where the play ends. They still need to funnel money to their friends and make it easier next time.
So, the Commission included a “Zero Emission Credit.” Great title, but it is merely a payout to the Nuclear Power plants — a non-renewable energy — to the tune of $7 billion. Step number two complete. Step number three is that the money for those billions has to come from somewhere, and it will end up coming from everyday New Yorkers for the next 12 years. For a “progressive” Governor this is about as regressive a policy he could support. Step three complete.
Given a proposal like this it makes sense that middle-class wages are having trouble growing when they have to fight through the left’s not only misguided, but likely mal-intentioned policies. Cuomo’s attempt to sneak into the end zone will not go unnoticed.
The only way that truly good environmental public policy is going to work is if it is passed after a fully robust public debate, relies on good vetted science, and doesn’t reward the cronies in the room over the people it’s designed to help.
The left’s play number one is bad, but it’s the second one — that does so much damage to Americans and the economy — where I really hope they fumble.
Credit: Metropolitan Transportation Authority of the State of New York/Flickr-Creative Commons