Cheat-Seeking Missles

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Lieberman Shows His True Colors

The other day, I heard a caller on a talk radio show suggest Joe Lieberman as John McCain's running mate. I almost ran off the road.

Lieberman gets a lot of conservative love because of his position on the war, but only an ignoramus would want him anywhere within a thousand miles of a GOP ticket since he's very liberal on everything but the war -- an indisputable fact made even less disputable by Lieberman-Warner.

The bill, co-authored by John Warner, would impose on the US a cap and trade system to save the world from industrialization and all the evils (health, prosperity, efficiency, sufficiency) it brings. Stated more honestly, it is the largest statist wealth and power grab to come down the pike (via a Prius) in decades.

The bill seeks to place caps on industrial greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and create a market that would allow clean companies to sell their excess GHG capacity to the highest bidder, with the stated goal of returning to 2005 GHG emission levels by 2012, and to reduce that by 30% by 2030.

Even free-market people have come to accept these cap and trade approaches as acceptable, but they are anything but. Here's how the WSJ breaks it down:
And for the most part, the politicians favor cap and trade because it is an indirect tax. A direct tax – say, on gasoline – would be far more transparent, but it would also be unpopular. Cap and trade is a tax imposed on business, disguising the true costs and thus making it more politically palatable. In reality, firms will merely pass on these costs to customers, and ultimately down the energy chain to all Americans. Higher prices are what are supposed to motivate the investments and behavioral changes required to use less carbon.

The other reason politicians like cap and trade is because it gives them a cut of the action and the ability to pick winners and losers. Some of the allowances would be given away, at least at the start, while the rest would be auctioned off, with the share of auctions increasing over time. This is a giant revenue grab. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that these auctions would net $304 billion by 2013 and $1.19 trillion over the next decade. Since the government controls the number and distribution of allowances, it is also handing itself the political right to influence the price of every good and service in the economy.

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that this meddling would cause a cumulative reduction in the growth of GDP by between 0.9% and 3.8% by 2030. Add 20 years, and the reduction is between 2.4% and 6.9% – that is, from $1 trillion to $2.8 trillion.
Where is global warming amidst all this swirling money and power? Nowhere. If India and China don't get cleaner, everything we do will be utterly inconsequential. If they do get their act together, everything we do will be almost completely inconsequential.

As long as Bush is in office, this bill will go nowhere. But with all three prez wannabees professing to be deeply engaged in Warmie mysticism (a.k.a. Hystericology), a bill like this will pass in a year or two ... unless, miracle of miracles, the elected masses discover that it's getting cooler, not warmer, both climatically and economically.

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