💢 The pushback against 'supply-side progressivism' is finally happening
Where I defend Ezra Klein against Paul Krugman
Call it “supply-side progressivism” or the “abundance agenda,” but I’ve been waiting for left-wing pushback against the center-left pundits (finally) pushing the idea that well-intended environmental legislation from the 1970s makes it awfully hard to things done here in the 2020s. The former was coined by New York Times columnist Ezra Klein, and he’s been expanding on the notion over the past 18 months or so:
Progressives are often uninterested in the creation of the goods and services they want everyone to have … because regulators make it hard to increase supply (zoning laws make it difficult to build housing) … - “The Economic Mistake the Left Is Finally Confronting” (Sept. 19, 2021)
There are laws like this in many states, and there’s a federal version, too: the National Environmental Policy Act. They’re part of a broader set of checks on development that have done a lot of good over the years but are doing a lot of harm now. When they were designed, these bills were radical reforms to an intolerable status quo. Now they are, too often, powerful allies of an intolerable status quo, rendering government plodding and ineffectual and making it almost impossible to build green infrastructure at the speed we need. - “Government Is Flailing, in Part Because Liberals Hobbled It” (March 13, 2022)
The environmental movement cheers when Biden says he wants to decarbonize and fast. But if he said that in order to achieve that goal, he wanted to reform or waive large sections of the National Environmental Policy Act to speed the construction of clean energy infrastructure, he’d find himself at war. - “What America Needs Is a Liberalism That Builds” (May 29, 2022)
Congestion pricing taxes cars to fund trains. It cuts pollution and frees up roadways. It’s not a hard call, environmentally. Yet everyone involved in the process fears the lawsuits that will be brought under the auspices of legislation like the California law or the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA, that was passed to protect the environment. - “Your Kids Are Not Doomed” (June 5, 2022)
The fusion demonstration is a reminder not of what is inevitable but of what is possible. And it is not just fusion. The advance of wind and solar and battery technology remains a near miracle. The possibilities of advanced geothermal and hydrogen are thrilling. Smaller, modular nuclear reactors could make new miracles possible, like cars and planes that don’t need to be refueled or recharged. This is a world progressives, in particular, should want to hasten into existence. Clean, abundant energy is the foundation on which a more equal, just and humane world can be built. - “The Dystopia We Fear Is Keeping Us From the Utopia We Deserve” (Jan. 8, 2023)
Well, the pushback has finally arrived. Klein’s most recent column on the subject that seems to have crossed a line.
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