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Krugman: Crazy climate economics

  • (DAVID HORSEY / Los Angeles Times)

Everywhere you look these days, you see Marxism on the rise. Well, OK, maybe you don’t — but conservatives do. If you so much as mention income inequality, you’ll be denounced as the second coming of Joseph Stalin; Rick Santorum has declared that any use of the word “class” is “Marxism talk.” In the right’s eyes, sinister motives lurk everywhere — for example, George F. Will says the only reason progressives favor trains is their goal of “diminishing Americans’ individualism in order to make them more amenable to collectivism.”

So it goes without saying that Obamacare, based on ideas originally developed at the Heritage Foundation, is a Marxist scheme — why, requiring that people purchase insurance is practically the same as sending them to gulags.

And just wait until the Environmental Protection Agency announces rules intended to slow the pace of climate change.

Until now, the right’s climate craziness has mainly been focused on attacking the science. And it has been quite a spectacle: At this point almost all card-carrying conservatives endorse the view that climate change is a gigantic hoax, that thousands of research papers showing a warming planet — 97 percent of the literature — are the product of a vast international conspiracy. But as the Obama administration moves toward actually doing something based on that science, crazy climate economics will come into its own.

You can already get a taste of what’s coming in the dissenting opinions from a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling on power-plant pollution. A majority of the justices agreed that the EPA has the right to regulate smog from coal-fired power plants, which drifts across state lines. But Justice Antonin Scalia didn’t just dissent; he suggested that the EPA’s proposed rule — which would tie the size of required smog reductions to cost — reflected the Marxist concept of “from each according to his ability.” Taking cost into consideration is Marxist? Who knew?

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