During the last election, voters made it very clear that fighting climate change was near the bottom of the Country’s priorities, and immigration was near the top.
This week, Nancy Pelosi appeared on “This Week” to discuss politics, President Trump’s first 100 days and the future prospects of the Democrats. Why I’m writing about it is because of how she addressed the funding for “the wall.” Even though immigration is near the top of America’s priorities, and arguably the issue that got President Trump elected, she opposes building the wall, and she did so by arguing “opportunity costs.” Nancy Pelosi’s reasoning for defying the will of the American voter is that the money is better spent elsewhere. She didn’t argue the facts of the wall, she did argue the science of the wall, she did argue the existence of the wall, she didn’t “deny” the need for the wall, she didn’t argue the dimensions of the wall, no, Nancy Pelosi pivoted, and argued the economics of the wall. Economics is and almost always is the #1 priority of the American voter.
In the video (around 5:00) Nancy simply argued that:
“did you ever hear him say he was going to charge the American people tens of billions of dollars? The opportunity cost to educating our children, of infrastructure throughout our country, investments in biomedical research that he is cutting so we can have an immoral, ineffective, expensive, unwise wall?”
Nancy’s approach is the exact approach people should use to argue climate change. Argue it in terms of opportunity cost, not so much science. The voters understand building schools, hospitals, roads, and funding biomedical research. They will never understand that CO2’s logarithmic relationship between concentration and LWIR absorption is highly unlikely to ever cause significant atmospheric warming.
This approach is even more relevant to climate change than the wall. To demonstrate how absurd Nancy’s position is, she is upset about “wasting” “tens of billions” of dollars on the wall, yet doesn’t bat an eye regarding the TRILLIONS of dollars wasted on fighting climate change. We could repave all of America for what we are wasting on fighting climate change.
Arguing opportunity cost is also the approach used by now NYT’s writer Bret Stephens when he appeared on “Real Time with Bill Maher.” He also argued that scientists aren’t experts in public policy.
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