Energy, Cap and Trade: Dem Leaders' Pretzel Logic on Display

An article in the Oil and Gas Journal reveals the thinking processes of some of our leaders on Capitol Hill. And it’s not a pretty sight.

Speaking at a forum on energy and climate policy co-sponsored by Newsweek magazine and the American Petroleum Institute, Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA), Chair of the Subcommittee on Energy and Environment, and co-author of the Waxman-Markey Cap and Trade Bill said:

“The measure is analogous to what we did in telecommunications,” Markey said, noting that Congress passed bills in 1992, 1993, and 1996 that launched, respectively, the modern cable, wireless, and broadband systems while creating 2 million new jobs. … Emerging energy technologies could lead to a $2 trillion domestic industry if the US decided to actively support them, Markey said.

Well, no, not really, Ed.

The important difference being that cable, wireless, and broadband were existing technologies that were economic without infusions of massive amounts of government cash. There was a market, and people were willing to pay for the service. Once these technologies became deregulated, we stepped back and let the free market sort out the winners and the losers.

On South Dakota Sen. Byron Dorgan (D):

The US Department of Energy has what effectively is the largest energy venture capital resource in history with federal economic stimulus funds it received to support new technology research and development, according to Dorgan. “I think there are unbelievably exciting things going on that we don’t fully understand yet, but that will help us a lot,” he said.

Oh, my gosh. Hold on to your wallets. “Unbelievably exciting things … that we don’t fully understand yet”? Like Econ 101?

Some common sense from Dorgan:

… Dorgan also questioned the heavy reliance on a carbon cap-and-trade program in the measures which have moved forward. “I’m not sure I’m comfortable with simply handing a new $1 trillion commodities market to Wall Street on Monday and hoping it will responsibly establish a price by Thursday,” he said.

But, wait, said Billy Mays, there’s more:

“There are more direct ways for government to reduce emissions such as a carbon tax and command-and-control measures.

OK, I see. I thought it was sounding too good to be true.

Surely Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) has a little sense:

[Bingaman] said that he has supported a cap-and-trade approach for some time, but added that carbon taxes, direct regulation, sector-specific approaches, and technological innovations may achieve the same results.

“It’s important to note that these policies are not mutually exclusive,” he continued. “In fact, it will more than likely be necessary to rely on a suite of these policies to ensure that we are effective in addressing global warming.”

So what you’re saying, Senator, is that we may need taxes and more regulation on top of Cap and Trade to stop ManBearPig?

Congressional Democrats are pretty upfront about it. They don’t trust what they don’t understand; unfortunately, what they don’t understand is free market economics. What they do understand is expanded government control and higher taxes.