It used to be said that socialism was the opium of the liberal intelligentsia. But now the drug of choice for the elite is environmentalism.
The dirty little secret of the modern green movement is that it’s become a luxury good for the uber-rich who espouse policies — from carbon taxes to renewable energy standards to closing down coal plants — that impose high costs on poor people who can least afford to pay the green tab.
A Pew Research Center poll released last week offers further confirmation of this truism. It found that only two major voting groups oppose construction of the Keystone XL pipeline: Democrats who make more than $100,000 annually and Democrats with college or advanced degrees.
Democrats with advanced degrees oppose the pipeline 51% to 35% — further evidence that a Ph.D. is negatively associated with economic common sense.
Democrats who earn six figures oppose the project by roughly the same magnitude. No doubt liberal millionaires and billionaires like global-warming warrior Tom Steyer are most opposed.
This is a big and problematic rift inside the usually unified Democratic Party. For pretty much all other Democrats, a construction project that would create 5,000 jobs with $70,000-plus salaries, reduce American dependence on Middle-East oil and cut our balance of trade deficit is close to being a no-brainer.
Pew confirmed almost all other polls that find that among Americans outside the White House and the headquarters of the Environmental Defense Fund, Keystone supporters outnumber opponents more than 2-1.
The fact is, Keystone won’t benefit millionaires or university professors much. The lower electric utility costs and the additional hiring from the oil and gas drilling bonanza throughout North America haven’t materially affected their lives. Not too many lawyers or community organizers will ever stoop so low as to take one of these blue-collar jobs.
One study has found that the natural-gas boom has saved low-income families more than $4 billion a year in utility and heating costs. For the financially pinched middle class and poor Americans, these savings are a godsend — and they want more.
We wonder if wealthy liberals even understand that the green dictates they favor are making the rich richer and the poor poorer. Do they care?