A lot of readers laugh. And it does seem comical, in a way: I am a conservative because I want to help the poor.
Now, that is supposed to be the exclusive domain of liberals. Indeed, there is said to be a direct correlation between liberalism and compassion. Yet it was only last week that I truly understood the folly of such logic.
Crammed into the tourist class of a Southwest 737 spewing greenhouse gases over the slums of St. Louis, I read about how a truly good government looks after its poor, hungry, huddled masses yearning to breathe free. It taxes them.
While venting about Donald Trump overtaxing trade, the city fathers and mothers of Seattle enacted a tariff of 23 cents per gallon of home heating oil. The policy behind the move was to make Seattle carbon neutral by 2050. Its Space Needle-shaped brain trust simply did not care that antiquated, inefficient oil heating systems were most prevalent among the old and the poor, the people who can least afford higher home heating costs. Neither can they afford to convert their homes to solar, especially in an area where there is more rain than sun.
Rather than have the rich, mostly white limousine liberals give up their private airplanes housed at local airports, or rather than place a tax on caviar and Courvoisier, Seattle decided to freeze those who can’t afford to stay warm.
It was just then that my flight hit an air pocket. My cup of Coca-Cola sloshed perilously near the woman in the center seat beside me. It was then that my attention turned to a Washington Post editorial advocating a new carbon tax. This tariff would surely best Seattle. Not only would home heating oil costs skyrocket, gasoline costs would do the same. Workers, as well as retirees, would jointly fund the quest to lower the rising seas, protecting seaside real estate from Malibu to Martha’s Vineyard.
Unfortunately, when carbon neutrality greets the Messiah in 2050, all those old people who traded food for fuel will be dead. At that point they will not need that liberal compassion anyway.
But what happens if the tides don’t fall? So what? Given enough global warming, who will need a heater? Moreover, If the liberal left can raise the cost for a middle-class worker to drive his 10-year-old Ford and can simultaneously raise the cost to heat his home, all while capturing the workers’ votes and their support to impeach Donald Trump, then such politicians may not be compassionate, but they are brilliant.
And, perhaps that is their lure. Politicians like California’s Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom may be smarter than their Republican rivals. Newsom can support policies that double California’s homeless population while attacking Republicans for lacking compassion. He can even blame greedy California gasoline retailers for his greenhouse gas regulations that cause middle class workers to pay fuel costs $1.50 per gallon greater than the national average. He can do all this and still retain overwhelming middle class support.
When I landed in Los Angeles, I passed by the county’s Zuma Beach. I noticed that California’s sea level did not seem lower than the surf in South Carolina. As I drove down California’s Pacific Coast Highway, I wondered what Californians were buying with their excessive taxes on the working class. I also wondered how the Seattle heating oil tax would help those without six- or seven-figure salaries. I wondered about those huddled masses, my immigrant grandparents among them, who did not come to America yearning to be taxed.
Then I understood. Workers, immigrant or not, do not want liberal compassion. They want to breathe free from precisely the government oppression that oil taxes and carbon taxes impose.
To breathe free means that a worker can live free, eat well and stay warm. I am a conservative, because I want the best for those who too often have known the worst. I pledge to dedicate my political life to their freedom and prosperity. And the best way I can do that is to oppose the feel-good crusades of limousine liberals who regressively tax the working class.