“Look, do you want Lord of the Flies, or do you want a government?”

That’s Jason Grumet, energy policy advisor to Barack Obama, responding to the Wall Street Journal’s Alan Murray at a Presidential campaign panel discussion at the ECO:nomics conference. Here’s a slightly fuller version from Gristmill:

Inevitably, one of Alan Murray’s questions was, isn’t cap-and-trade just a tax? Grumet started to explain, but Murray interrupted to push the point. “It raises energy prices. That’s a tax, right?” Finally, Grumet said acidly, “Look, do you want Lord of the Flies, or do you want a government?” There was applause. Grumet went on to say that if this is in fact a species-threatening crisis, then yeah, we might have to ask people to pay 30 cents extra a gallon.

This might be a loser as a campaign strategy, but I hope Obama will start framing the issue more this way if he gets elected. Someone in power has to start being forthright about the real choices we face, instead of repeating the same safe, bland rhetoric about investing in alternative energy and “green jobs” and so on. Since Republicans will continue to use the two “T”s — terrorism and taxes — as scare tactics against Democratic candidates, some “Lord of the Flies” scare tactics in response seem more than fair (and obviously Grumet’s line answers many anti-government arguments, not just anti-cap-and-trade arguments).

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3 responses to ““Look, do you want Lord of the Flies, or do you want a government?”

  1. I doubt very much if we will see a real improvement from either of these two age old parties and as I have just written in another post no more difference than if Germany would have voted Hitler out and Himler in I cannot see were they would have gained much. And after all it was these two parties that have put this country in the poor shape it is in today, it is simply like watching a re-run of an old movie only this time they have new players.

  2. Any reference to books not made into movies within the last year is a loser of a campaign strategy…Didn’t John Kerry (who’s he) once propose a 50 cent per gallon gas tax?

  3. Just wait until we in the northeast need to decide whether to burn massive amnounts of coal or lose our electricity. This whole debate is in being rapidly reframed by rising energy prices and supply constraints, despite what the folks at the ECO-whatever-whatever conference would like us to think.

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