Testifying in favor of a carbon tax yesterday, James Hansen said something rather startling:
“An important point is that such legislation I think needs to be introduced by conservatives, because I’m afraid liberals will try to take part of the money to make the government bigger. Not one dime should go to the government. 100 percent should go to the public.”
Milton Friedman famously observed that in any fight over policy there are two sorts of people:
Let me give you a very simple example — take the minimum wage law. Its well-meaning sponsors – there are always in these cases two groups of sponsors – there are the well-meaning sponsors and there are the special interests, who are using the well-meaning sponsors as front men. You almost always when you have bad programs have an unholy coalition of the do-gooders on the one hand, and the special interests on the other.
What James Hansen just did – albeit in a small, reluctant, and possibly even inadvertent way – is to fracture that uniformity a little. “I’m not like those guys,” he seemed to be saying to the Senate. “They just want to serve themselves; I want to help.” That, in no small part, is a testament to the weak position in which the environmental Left currently finds itself. One wonders who will peel off next.