The supposedly surprising rejection of the Lieberman-Warner climate bill last week had an element that Old Media in the US hasn't covered, but is very relevant.
While the press is ever eager to jump on politicians who fly in the face of supposed "world opinion" when it goes against US positions and traditions, it has been virtually silent over how "the rest of the world" has been rejecting the true linchpin of government climate policies: supposedly climate change-related higher taxes and fees. Surely some of the green-leaning Senators who were supposedly on board but voted against cloture were not blind to this.
Consider the following:
- Germany -- "German Car Tax Plan to Be Delayed: Government."
- In Canada, a sympathetic columnist cautions the Liberal Party, which seems to think that the road back into power is through green taxes, about "The Suicidal Allure of a Carbon Tax."
- Australia -- "The Sun Sets on Rudd’s Climate Change Credibility."
- New Zealand -- "Emissions Bill Hanging by Thread"
Each story is about how a government or party is finding that citizens/voters are not at all keen on reducing their living standards in the name of supposed environmental purity.
The biggest media blackout is over the political situation in Great Britain, where Tony Blair's successor Gordon Brown hangs by a thread, largely because of his radical environmental initiatives.
Brown continues to push his "Green Road Tax" on "environmentally unfriendly cars." Poorer Britons stand to be hit hardest, while his environmental minister plays the save-the-planet card:
Owners of the most polluting cars in band M will pay £440 (about $870) in tax. And from April 2010, people buying the most polluting cars would pay a one-off "showroom tax" of up to £950 (about $1,900).
(Environmental Minister Joan) Ruddock added: "What we can't do is lose sight of the environment agenda because this is everybody's future, the future of the planet."
She denied the retrospective aspect of the policy was unfair.
"Over a 10 year period...I think the direction we have been going in has been clear to people at the time," she said.
In other words, according to Ms. Ruddock, "Your crystal balls should have told you these taxes were coming."
Two weeks ago, a one-day strike by lorry drivers (truckers) over high fuel prices shut down London's roads in what was called the "capital's largest-ever fuel protest."
If most of all of this is news to you, it's because the US press is studiously ignoring it. New York Times stories about Brown's situation on May 14 and May 23 have not a word about the Green Road Tax, even though many Labour MPs have been calling it a "ticking time bomb" for several weeks. Wire-service stories have also been few and far between.
There are three lessons here:
- The tax plans environmentalists want invariably end up taking their pound of flesh from the people they supposedly care about the most.
- Once people see through it, they rebel.
- Politicians interested in self-preservation aren't about to commit political suicide in the name of greenness. Their best hope is that the news media keep details of the costs away from public view until after legislation passes -- a tough task indeed in the New Media Age.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.