Cap and Trade is So Much More Than a Tax

With all due respect, it’s not news that Cap and Trade is a tax on energy. Its proponents have never advanced an argument that it proposes to do anything for the environment or global climate. Cap and Trade is insidious because it creates a new entitlement, so once it’s in place it will be next to impossible to kill.

If it were just a tax, it would not be a big deal. Damaging to the economy, and bad for the country perhaps, but we could undo it with legislation. Example: Jimmy Carter’s Windfall Profits Tax never raised much revenue for the general fund; it was counter-productive and hard to administer. Within a few years, Reagan’s decontrol of energy prices brought crude oil prices down, which obviated the justification for the WPT. It died with a whimper in the late 80s.

Cap and Trade has been compared to the Smoot-Hawley tariffs, which many blame for bringing about worldwide depression. Cap and Trade has the same disastrous potential, but it only took 10 years of Depression and a World War to snap the country back from the unintended consequences of this ill-conceived initiative.

No, the Waxman-Markey mess won’t be so easily undone. The legislation contains tax rebates – income redistribution – which will become, in effect, a new entitlement for the “poor”.

Entitlement programs are nearly impossible to unwind. History shows that people like money a lot, but the money they like best, and will fight to the death to maintain, is the money that government gives them & that they do not have to work to earn.

We survived the Windfall Profits Tax. We survived Smoot-Hawley. We may not survive Waxman-Markey.