The nation’s richest senator – the Bay State’s own John Forbes Kerry – has been knocked down a few notches after seeing his fortune sliced by one-third by the fiscal meltdown that ripped down Wall Street.
Kerry’s personal net worth plunged from an estimated $336 million in 2007 to $208 million in 2008, according to a study by the Washington-based Center for Responsive Politics. The Boston Democrat’s staggering losses dropped him from first to third among the wealthiest senators, trailing Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.)
“So does this mean Senator Kerry is now arriving in Nantucket by ferry instead of private jet?” sniped Massachusetts GOP spokeswoman Tarah Donoghue.
Fortunately, his hair remains perfect, to borrow from Warren Zevon.
But does the senator (who by the way, served in Vietnam before becoming the legendary Winter Soldier upon return) view his financial setback as entirely a bad thing? A stock declines in price to reflect its market value, and its market value is based on both the individual performance of the company, and its relative success within the overall marketplace. And as Dan Calabrese spotted in early October in the North Star Natural, Kerry, who has been proposing crippling cap & tax legislation believes, as Calabrese wrote, “Awesome recession is helping the environment”:
Democrats’ environmental proposals are an attack on capitalism. That is a fact. But don’t take my word for it. Ask John Kerry.
As often happens when disingenuous people let slip the truth, Kerry admitted in no uncertain terms the other day that he sees economic prosperity as the enemy of the environment, and left no mystery as to which side he takes.
Kerry and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-California) have proposed a new draft for a cap-and-trade bill with exceedingly stringent restrictions on carbon emissions. During a hearing on the bill , Kerry made the astounding statement that the recession has been the environment’s best friend, and he couldn’t be happier about it:
Let me emphasize something very strongly as we begin this discussion. The United States has already this year alone achieved a 6 percent reduction in emissions simply because of the downturn in the economy, so we are effectively saying we need to go another 14 percent.
What did Kerry just unwittingly admit? He admitted that cap-and-trade advocates and like-minded global warming believers see economic prosperity as a huge source of the supposed problem. That’s why they’re proposing the perfect solution – from their perspective – in the form of a massive tax increase directly on industry.
Nothing discourages productive economic activity like confiscatory taxes on said activity. The same people who lament the loss of manufacturing jobs in the United States now seek to multiply these losses many times over by making it economically impossible for manufacturers to operate.
The taxes aren’t designed to encourage manufacturers to run cleaner shops. Taxes don’t do that. Technology does that. If the technology was sufficiently mature and affordable, they would have it now. All things being equal, no one wants to pump dirty emissions into the air if given a reasonable alternative.
So when Democrats propose to pressure them into cleaning up their emissions with crippling taxes, it makes about as much sense as when they suggested the Iraqi government was sitting around eating bon-bons while the U.S. did all the heavy lifting, but would surely get serious if the U.S. threatened to leave.
People want to do things that are in their own best interests. You don’t hammer them into doing these things with taxes. Quite the contrary, you try to remove economic barriers that may be preventing them from doing these things.
But that’s not the goal of cap-and-trade supporters. Kerry has given away the game. The goal is less productive economic activity, because the fact of the matter is that productive economic activity produces carbon, and no arrogant member of Congress or anyone else can change that fact.
But the recession, hey, that’s working like a dream. Carbon emissions are down 6 percent. Damn. How many more big industrial conglomerates do we have to put out of business to get to 20 percent?
If they didn’t know full well they were going to kill jobs, they wouldn’t be peddling this “green jobs” nonsense – a notion thoroughly dismantled on Sunday by Bloomberg’s Kevin Hassett.
Cap and trade means a less productive economy, and that’s by design, because a growing private sector economy is the enemy of the Democrats’ political agenda. Their hope, of course, is that all the taxes they can collect will allow them to bestow more largesse on their constituencies with jobs either in the public sector or publicly funded.
Kerry of course was a walking dilemma when running for the presidency — the first man to throw his medals (or someone’s medals) over a capitol fence in protest of the Vietnam war, now wanting to return as commander in chief to collect them. And at the end of last year, Mark Steyn summed up the dilemma the anti-free market left in general find themselves in general:
“Retail Sales Plummet,” read the Christmas headline in the Wall Street Journal. “Sales plunged across most categories on shrinking consumer spending.”
Hey, that’s great news, isn’t it? After all, everyone knows Americans consume too much. What was it that then Senator Obama said on the subject? “We can’t just keep driving our SUVs, eating whatever we want, keeping our homes at 72 degrees at all times regardless of whether we live in the tundra or the desert and keep consuming 25 percent of the world’s resources with just 4 percent of the world’s population, and expect the rest of the world to say you just go ahead, we’ll be fine.”
And boy, we took the great man’s words to heart. SUV sales have nosedived, and 72 is no longer your home’s thermostat setting but its current value expressed as a percentage of what you paid for it. If I understand then Senator Obama’s logic, in a just world Americans would be 4 percent of the population and consume a fair and reasonable 4 percent of the world’s resources. And in these last few months we’ve made an excellent start toward that blessed utopia: Americans are driving smaller cars, buying smaller homes, giving smaller Christmas presents.
And yet, strangely, President-Elect Obama doesn’t seem terribly happy about the Obamafication of the American economy. He’s proposing some 5.7 bazillion dollar “stimulus” package or whatever it is now to “stimulate” it back into its bad old ways.
And as Steven Hayward noted in the first volume of The Age of Reagan, since 1970, leftwing environmentalists have tended view bad environmental news as good for their cause, just as the left in general view bad economic news as good for theirs. But this time, it’s personal — and I’m sure this financial setback is causing particularly mixed emotions for the quintessential bobo presidential candidate.