Paul Ryan: ‘Climate Change occurs no matter what’ (and government is not going to pay for it)

We’re winning the message (see below), so the climate battle shifts to our old friend, money, where it’s always been.

“Who’s gonna pay for it?” asks a paraphrased Paul Ryan. “Not me or my friends.”

From Igor Bobic in the Huffington Post:

Paul Ryan Says ‘Climate Change Occurs No Matter What’

“Climate change occurs no matter what,” Ryan said Wednesday, as quoted by CNN. “The question is, can and should the federal government do something about it?”

“And I would argue the federal government, with all its tax and regulatory schemes, can’t. And all it will do is end up hurting [profits, by which I mean] our country, our people and especially low-income individuals [whom I deeply love],” he added. […]

We’re winning the first battle — yes, climate change is real. Now for the next battle — cost. “It’s too expensive to come from general funds.” And they’re right, because to really offset the “social cost of carbon,” at some point some of those profits from externalizing carbon cost are going to have to be taken back, forcibly. Perhaps most of them.

That’s one choice — make the wealthy pay for their mess.

Flood via Shutterstock.

Flood via Shutterstock.

The other choice for government is abandonment of the non-wealthy to their fate, and Paul Ryan is drawing those lines already. We’ve seen what happens when the “non-wealthy” in question are brown (Katrina). But what happens when they’re white and relatively middle-class (even relatively Tea Party–ish)?

As the climate crisis unfolds, the crunch will come — whom does the government really protect? And that discussion — about the social contract — will break the social contract in a significant enough way to matter. Nothing like a squabble over scarcity (pretend or otherwise) to tear a society literally apart.

Which is why I make my pitch Chicago-style (early and often) that we should be making our pitch ahead of the game. Our pitch:

When it’s climate crunch time, the cost should come from one source first — the people who caused the problem.

At crunch time, anything government does to coddle the rich (per Wall Street–funded Paul Ryan‘s implication above) will look like another bank bailout to the TP folks, and it should. Limbaugh will then get them to point at “libruls” as the source of their pain, and we’ll be so caught up in fighting each other (because of wealth-controlled withheld resources), we’ll never solve it.

Until …

Greenland melts, taking us fully to another -cene, and not the Holo one we’ve been so comfortable in. (Does it strike you that the Holocene is the real Garden of Eden? It does me.)

David Koch will die a happy man — all he needs is “business as usual” another five years or so, when the next carbon president takes office — but not the rest of us. If Paul Ryan can be pre-emptive with his message, so can we — When the bill comes due, hand it to the profiteers. We could even be pre-emptive now, Chicago-style.


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Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States.

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