Sunday, March 22, 2009

"Cap and Trade" on carbon emissions will bring rent seeking to a whole new level

The Detroit News in its editorial Editorial: Cap-and-trade idea needs full debate at least begins to illuminate the problems with the Democrat push of capping and trading carbon emissions.
Enacting a carbon cap-and-trade system is too transformational to allow it to be jammed through Congress without the full give-and-take of the legislative process and with the votes of just one party counting.

Credit Michigan Sen. Carl Levin for stepping in front of his own party's bulldozer to shout, "Slow down!"

Senate Democratic leaders know that cap-and-trade is an extremely divisive issue, pitting manufacturing states like Michigan against coastal states that have lost their minds to the global warming hysteria.

Levin correctly notes that a system of auctioning off carbon credits could drive up the cost of energy, meaning higher prices for nearly all goods, and put manufacturing industries at risk. He has joined seven of his Democratic colleagues in protesting the attempt to circumvent the normal legislative rules to get the bill passed without a full airing.

The cap-and-trade plan is well short of the 60 votes it needs to withstand a Senate filibuster. So Democrats are attempting to tuck the legislation into the budget bill, where it would need a simple majority of 51 votes.

Doing so would severely limit debate on a bill that would have a major impact on the national economy and the household budgets of every American. The pros and cons of the bill should be thoroughly argued, and the final version -- if there is one -- should be crafted in the philosophical middle.

But the tactic the Democrats want to employ would shut Republicans out of the discussion, as well as Democrats like Levin who are worried about how the bill will affect their states' key industries. . . .
We'll give Senator Levin credit for at least asking Congress to slow down on this one, and given this blog is rarely in agreement with the good Senator, thats's saying something. This seems to be standard Obama and hard left Democrat modus operandi - push your agenda-driven legislation through so quickly, before anyone has time for a sober second thought or to consider the implications, and then act like its a fait accompli.

Of course capping and the trading carbon emissions will increase cost. Our economy, indeed our very exhalations produce CO2. Capping such emissions, or worse rolling them back years will harm our economy in numerous untild ways. If you like the recession now, kjust wait for a carbon capped depression due to lack of energy available. Forget about plugging in your hybrid cars and feeling pious about saving carbon based fuels -- that electricity is either coming from coal (gasp! carbon!) or nuclear (double gasp! radiation! quick panic!) as wind and solar cannot provide enough, reliably enough.

In addition cap and trade is ripe for rent seeking and lobbying for allocation of the carbon credits. The amount of gaming of the system for getting the initial bank of credits issued to various industries and then trading them will be as transparent as the last stimulus bill, and much more lucrative. Just look at Michigan's current cap and trade plan for nitrous oxide emissions (based on EPA mandates for cap-and-trade) for an example of some massive multi=million dollar system gaming going on.

Most importantly, there's still no real proof that: A. Capping and trading carbon will actually reduce global warming; B. that there really is global warming going on in the first place; and finally C.That cap and trading carbon will do anything other than harm the American economy.

But then again, C. is probably the point of the whole exercise.

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