The Cap-and-Trade Tax

March 7th, 2009

Democrats continue to dither over secondary issues while the economy goes from bad to worse and Americans suffer.  Peggy Noonan, in a column about an honest, forthright Marine Corps investigation of an aircraft accident, contrasts that with the behavior of politicians in Washington:

The White House this week was consumed by extreme interest in a celebrated radio critic, reportedly coordinating an attack line with antic Clinton-era political operatives who don’t know what time it is. For them it’s always the bouncy ’90s and anything goes, it’s all just a game. President Obama himself contributes to an atmosphere of fear grown to panic as he takes a historic crisis and turns it into what he imagines is a grand opportunity for sweeping change. What we need is stabilization—an undergirding, a restrengthening so things can settle and then rise. What we’re given is multiple schemes, and the beginning of a reordering of financial realities between the individual and the state.

Democrats, of course, are ideological worshippers at the altar of Global Warming.  Amid growing dissent in the scientific community and an absence of warming in the last decade or so, they’re pursuing a cockamamie cap-and-trade system.  Under this scheme, companies will buy and sell permits to emit greenhouse gasses.  These damnable vapors cause, or maybe don’t cause, Global Warming, to some degree at least, perhaps.  This is really a tax that will be collected by companies from consumers, contributing nothing to economic recovery but giving more money to the government to spend on other wackadoo schemes.  Kimberley Strassel:

Truth is, any cap-and-trade system is a tax, even if Mr. Obama’s plan has only started to force business proponents to admit it. The government sets a cap on how much greenhouse gas can be emitted annually. Companies buy and sell permits that allow them to emit. Customers bear the price of those permits. …

It didn’t take long for the pols to figure out they could auctionoff permits and spend the loot. President Obama’s auction bonanza would earn the feds $650 billion in 10 years, according to the administration’s budget estimate — and that’s a low, low, low estimate. …

Mr. Obama is promising to return auction money to Americans, via a tax cut he proposed on the campaign trail. [Senator Bob Corker, R-Tenn] calls this a “sleight of hand,” since people were counting on a tax cut in any event. Nobody told them they’d have to fund it with higher energy costs. It’s also a wealth transfer — electricity users in coal-heavy Ohio, for instance, will be funding tax cuts for green Californians. Not that congressional spenders have any intention of using this money for tax cuts in the first place.

Even Paul Krugman, as reliable a Democratic loyalist as ever lived, is critical of the Democrats’ dithering:

…among people I talk to there’s a growing sense of frustration, even panic, over Mr. Obama’s failure to match his words with deeds. The reality is that when it comes to dealing with the banks, the Obama administration is dithering. Policy is stuck in a holding pattern.

Here’s how the pattern works: first, administration officials, usually speaking off the record, float a plan for rescuing the banks in the press. This trial balloon is quickly shot down by informed commentators.

Then, a few weeks later, the administration floats a new plan. This plan is, however, just a thinly disguised version of the previous plan, a fact quickly realized by all concerned. And the cycle starts again.

Of course, the solutions Krugman proposes are way off to the left in the direction of nationalization and government ownership of key elements of the economy.  But what the heck; the way things are today, he may be right…sorry, correct.  (Don’t want to offend a Nobel Prize winner.)

But hey, I have a great idea!  Since the Democrats are looking more and more clueless and desperately need to distract all those pesky citizens, why not just attack Rush Limbaugh?

UPDATE: Take a look at Who Pays for Cap and Trade? in the Wall Street Journal. This is a must read. A couple of quotes:

Cap and trade is the tax that dare not speak its name, and Democrats are hoping in particular that no one notices who would pay for their climate ambitions. …

Cap and trade, in other words, is a scheme to redistribute income and wealth — but in a very curious way. It takes from the working class and gives to the affluent; takes from Miami, Ohio, and gives to Miami, Florida; and takes from an industrial America that is already struggling and gives to rich Silicon Valley and Wall Street “green tech” investors who know how to leverage the political class.

(HT to No Oil for Pacifists for the WSJ link.)

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2 Responses to “The Cap-and-Trade Tax”

  1. duggy |

    Liberals/Obama versus Limbaugh is a diversion. Not a new tactic by any means.

  2. Brian |

    Tom, I see it as just another power grab by statists. I don’t think that anyone would disagree that eras like the Jurassic, Cretaceous, Cretaceous, Pleistocene, et al were considerably warmer than things are now. Otherwise, I’m not sure how the Pacific Ocean might have extended as far east as what is now Montana. Maybe all of that warm weather back then was due to methane emissions from cattle…errr…ummm…dinosaurs. Maybe it was all of the SUVs that the veloceraptors cavorted around in, and all of those tons of coal that the brontosaurs burned to stay warm.

    Governments always need a boogeyman with which to scare people into giving up more and more autonomy. Today, those boogeymen take the form of businessmen and women, and most especially the environment.

    I know exactly what it takes to write the kind of software these “scientists” are using to generate their climate modeling, and I do not trust it as far as I could throw my Suburban. There are simply far too many unknown variables, when even one unknown variable can and likely will render useless any computed “results.” You’d probably have better luck talking to a Hopi shaman down in Arizona than you would listening to most of these clowns.

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