By Rob Roper
Bill Schubart perfectly encapsulated the elitist, totally-out-of-touch mindset of Vermont’s carbon taxers in his latest VTDigger column in which he congratulates himself for heroically purchasing an electric car and supporting Vermont’s participation in the Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI), the left’s latest carbon tax scheme.
Much of Schubart’s piece focuses on why electric vehicles in their present state of development don’t make a lot of sense in Vermont. They perform poorly in cold weather, which we have an abundance of, and they don’t have sufficient range to be practical in a rural state, especially for work. But, no fear, Schubart is morally up to the task of living with and around these shortcomings, writing what to my mind is the money-line of the piece: “If it’s freezing cold and I have a round trip to Montpelier [from Hinesburg], a stop at Red Hen Bakery in Middlesex for a quick charge, a latte and a croissant isn’t much of a price to pay for doing my part.”
What part? Apart from virtue signaling, Schubart’s EV purchase and support for TCI accomplish precisely nothing in regard to climate change while inflicting unnecessary pain on a lot of people. This is immoral. According to TCI’s own analysis, if the region did not adopt TCI, carbon emissions would drop by 19% over 10 years anyway. If we adopt the mildest recommendation (a 5 cent tax), that number will go to 20%. That’s almost imperceptible. If we go whole hog (a 17 cent tax), the number goes to 25%. That’s a 6% very minor regional change with no perceptible climate impact on a global scale whatsoever, but at a cost of over $50 billion in regressive, highly disruptive taxes on working people. Some of that money will be used to subsidize electric vehicle purchases, leaving owners like Schubart with more disposable income to spend on French pastry and fancy coffee. Not a particularly equitable arrangement.
Schubart opines, I imagine wiping buttery crumbs from his lips with a silk handkerchief, “It’s disheartening to hear special interests and climate deniers [he earlier made specific reference to EAI] froth on about their temporal material interests.” Yeah, temporal material interests like driving to and from work, getting our kids to school, going to the grocery store, etc., all of which you want to make more difficult and more expensive just so you can feel good about yourself without actually having to accomplish anything.
I’m happy Bill Schubart can afford the time and money to nibble croissants, sip lattes, and indulge in fantasies that he’s heroically saving generations from future fire, floods and famine during the time it takes his $40,000 car to charge, but these are not luxuries most working Vermonters can afford. Forcing this burden upon them — especially when doing so will have no impact whatsoever on the problem you claim to want to solve — is nothing more than self-indulgent cruelty. It’s certainly not something to break your arm patting yourself on the back over. This is what folks like Bill Schubart don’t understand or care to contemplate.