The Dangers of Cap and Tax

O.K.  We’ve heard it a thousand times.  So, let’s say it all together now: “The U.S. uses 25% of the earth’s energy, but represents only six percent of its’ population.”  And now, a moment of silence for our horrid selfishness and greed….that’s enough.  A couple of things come to mind almost immediately.  The U.S. also produces 25% of the world’s goods and services.  Not to mention the fact that we provide military and political stability for much of the earth’s population.  How much is that worth, reckon?


In truth, the O man’s cap and trade proposal, taxes on anything which uses petroleum products, is an extremely dangerous idea on many levels.  Far from selfless, it’s implementation will redound to untold misery, poverty and more, not less, pollution.  Such a policy will show that a little self-interest (greed?) was a much better choice than a whole lot of self-righteousness.


First let’s ask, “Do we deserve it?’  Let me quote Phyllis Schlafly from her May 12, ‘09 column: “Americans have built a free-enterprise, private property, rule-of-law, respect-for-contracts, innovation-receptive society that has enabled us to enjoy the highest standard of living in the world.  We designed it by adoption of our unique and long-lasting U.S. Constitution, we worked for it and paid for it, so why can’t we enjoy the fruits of our labor?”  Why indeed?


Well, the “reasoning,” so it goes, is that by keeping homes above 72 degrees in summer and below it in winter, using mercury filled flourescent light bulbs and driving around in sardine cans, we will collectively reduce our consumption of oil.  Unfortunately, energy conservation results in more, rather than less energy use.  (See my diary on the Law of Unintended Consequences.)  And, in any event, no scientific facts are in evidence that the activities of man have caused, are causing or will cause a catastrophic rise in the earth’s temperature.


Indeed, all the greenhouse alarm now is based on a .74 degree rise in average temperature over the past 100 years – well within computer models of average global temperature fluctuations.  Neither is there any consensus among scientists that such a phenomena exists, but I hate to mention even that, since “consensus” is what politicians do, not scientists.  Consensus has no connection to scientific inquiry, which involves replicating studies in an effort to either support or reject the original hypothesis.  For more, see globalwarminghoax.com.


And just what will we use to satisfy energy needs in this country if cap and trade becomes law?  Solar and wind?  They now provide less than one percent of our power.  To meet current needs, we would have to cover the fruited plains with windmills and solar panels from sea to shining sea.  Nuclear?  Sorry, your betters at the environmental police have rendered nuclear unacceptable.  Clean coal?  Even the most technologically advanced clean coal would require prohibitive cap and trade payments and likely just kill the coal industry.


But, all the above is simply the official song and dance.  What’s the real ideology or “thinking” with regards to American energy use?  What is the basic conceit behind all this nonesense?  What do liberals knowingly tell each other at their oh-so-smug cocktail parties?  It is nothing less than the time-worn hubris that people in Kenya, Sudan, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Indonesia, India and elsewhere are poor because we are rich.  It is just another incarnation of the zero sum game fantasy at play in the minds of the liberal elite. 


We’ve heard it all before and are even now experiencing its’ “correction” by Obama’s socialist domestic policies.  Punish the rich and empower the poor, or so goes the theory, and thereby level the economic playing field.  Unfortunately, what has been proven time and again is that everyone becomes poor rather than equal.  Such tired “thinking” does not raise those in poverty, it simply lowers everybody else (except the elites, of course, who have insulated themselves from the impoverishing effects of their own mischief.)


And so it is with global zero sum policies, which will create contrary and environmentally disastrous results.  Rich countries are far more energy efficient and environmentally clean than poor ones.  Any effort to lower our standard of living will make us a greater polluter than otherwise and will lessen our ability to lead the world in truly beneficial environmental directions.  The best use of our influence would be a concentrated attempt to spread capitalism throughout the world and thus increase its’ overall wealth.


Now, a more sinister interpretation could be rendered from the O man’s policies.  It could be that he is simply attempting another transfer of wealth scheme, but on a global scale this time.  That is, global elitists would receive wealth in the form of monetary “penalties” levied on the U.S. for its’ supposed “overuse” of “the world’s energy.”  (Never mind the fact that most of “the world’s energy” was originally developed and harnessed by the West in general and the U.S. in particular, e.g. without Philips, Standard, Shell, etc. all the oil in the Middle East would likely still be underground.)  However, not being much of a conspiracy theorist, I’ll leave that to others more in tune with the goings on of the Kyoto Protocol and whatnot.



In conclusion, cap and trade will amount to a huge new regressive tax.  The poor and minorities will be hit hardest (Attention: Will the NY Times headline writer please call his or her office.  Thank you.)  Give it one second of thought and you will easily discover just how such a policy will send our cost of living sky high.  Effects on the price of gas are obvious.  But what about pickles?  Toilet paper?  Baseball bats?  Cars?  Bread?  Hamburger?  Milk?  Sugar?  Liquor?  Garbage collection?  Glass?  Wood?  Plastic?  Aluminum foil?  Power tools?  If you can imagine it and it takes energy to produce, transport, sell, provide or use it, it will cost more.  Much more.