A commentary piece by Jason Hayes appearing in the Wall Street Journal last month provides an example of progressives’ not really caring about the influence of “millionaires and billionaires,” provided it’s in their favor:
Michigan’s two largest electricity companies struck a “breakthrough agreement” last month with billionaire California environmentalist Tom Steyer to boost the Wolverine State’s clean-energy requirements. Earlier this year, Mr. Steyer had funded a ballot initiative slated for August to force Michigan’s electricity providers to source 30% of their overall sales from renewable options such as wind and solar by 2030. But under the new agreement, the utilities will aim to produce a minimum 25% of their energy from renewable sources and a further 25% from energy-efficiency measures by that same year. This 50% green-energy goal will effectively govern the state’s energy policy for at least the next decade.
News of the deal between Mr. Steyer and the utilities— DTE Energy and Consumers Energy—has left many in Michigan wondering what happened to the established process for setting energy policy. The deal hasn’t been approved by state officials or voters. How is it possible that two utilities and a single special-interest group can independently agree to raise the state’s renewable energy mandate and get away with it?
Had the Koch Brothers made some arrangement with a state’s electric utilities to take up some policy that would have increased the costs of energy, progressives would have made it the subject of weeks of national outrage. But here’s the key point: Most conservatives would have joined them.