Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Another downside for Cap & Trade: lack of transparency

The opposition says action on climate is all about raising taxes, meaning higher costs for the common man. Proponents say the bill is all about preventing the human race from a nasty, brutish, and short future, and the creation of jobs that will come with a new economy that meets the needs of the future.

As many of you know, I’ve been pretty opposed to Cap & Trade for a whole host of reasons, but I’ve been willing to bow to political pragmatism. What I really want is for the government to create a strategy that will reduce CO2 emissions in the timeframe required, and enable a new economy to flourish. I’ll take that outcome any which way it needs to happen.

But I have a new Cap & Trade fear as I watch the current debate, and remember past ones similarly built on misinformation and speedy adoption by Americans in a hurry.

If a cap & trade bill is passed (which it might), and the price of oil goes up significantly (which it will), it feels like we are guaranteed to have a Republican argument that attributes high gas prices to cap & trade. And it will be totally “provable” to people who believe what they are told. The whole point of C&T is to hide the carbon tax from consumers. Therefore, they won’t know that 80% of the rise in oil prices as nothing to do with C&T.

I think we are setting ourselves up for future political losses by offering an easy target that will require a lot of explaining to untangle. A carbon tax would be so simple, and obvious, and not be able to get mucked up with other issues. Am I wrong?

The day after I posted the above, we find this is already being done! At a fake grassroots rally against the climate bill in Texas, the American Petroleum Institute was passing out T-shirts that read "I'll pass on $4 gas."

Read more!