Megan McArdle is unimpressed by the “Green New Deal” proposal to say the least. From her Washington Post column:
Progressives frequently argue that getting to “as much as possible” requires setting goals that are out of reach. They call it “shifting the Overton window,” or widening the spectrum of plausible policy options, an idea broached in the 1990s by policy analyst Joseph P. Overton. The folk version: Ask for the stars, you’ll get the moon.
Fair enough. Sometimes people and causes do lose out by being too timid. What the progressive window-shoppers forget is that they can also lose out by being over-aggressive.
A pedestrian example: Many people could do better, salary-wise, if they simply negotiated harder with potential employers. But few of them could do better by opening with a pugnacious demand for $1 million a year. Wild demands, unmoored from reality, don’t increase what you ultimately take away from a negotiation; they are much more likely to end the negotiation abruptly when the other party concludes that you’re crazy.
Here’s a little received wisdom from negotiation theory. There is more than one price. There’s the asking price (the price the seller is asking) and there’s the selling price (the price the buy pays). There are any number of others but there’s also something called “the insult price”. Here’s how it works.
Seller: “I’m asking $5,000 for this rug.”
Buyer: “I’ll give $2,000.”
Seller: “How about $3,500.”
Buyer: “How about $2.”
In this case $2 is the insult price. It’s an offer so extreme that it ends negotiation.
I only have two other remarks. The first is that subsidizing those unwilling to work, a recommendation from the GND proposal, is foolishness. I’m with Paul of Tarsus (also favorably quoted by Lenin). “He who does not work neither shall he eat.” I respect the decision not to work. People should be free not to do so. We should also respect their decision enough to allow them to die as a consequence of that decision.
The other remark is that we should be very, very cautious of electing people who’ve never held any responsibilities to higher office. It’s hard for me to trust the judgment of anyone who’s never had responsibility for a child or a parent, or bought a home (with their own money), or paid off a loan, or knows how anything anything works.