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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Teixeira: In Defense of Christmas Trees

The following article by Ruy Teixeira, author of The Optimistic Leftist and other works of political analysis, is cross-posted from his Facebook page:

I liked this piece by Paul Krugman. It’s a commonplace among what you might call the hard environmental community that high carbon taxes are the way to go and that everything else is second best and beside the point. Eat your damn spinach!

Krugman says that one thing he likes about the Green New Deal is that it seems to understand that this sort of approach is doomed politically and that if a clean energy transition program is ever going to be passed, it’s going to have to be a Christmas tree bill with lots of goodies for lots of people. Suffer now to avoid the apocalypse later is just not going to work. The Green New Deal, as currently discussed, may not be the right Christmas tree but we still are going to need a Christmas tree.

A similar logic, Krugman notes, applies to the Medicare for All maximalist approach that would eliminate private insurance. You cannot succeed politically by taking something away from 180 million people and raising taxes to boot. The path to universal health care lies elsewhere and yes it will be a bit of a Christmas tree also.

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