Conventional wisdom says that cap and trade is dead, since America’s crippled economy simply can’t absorb another blow. Yet, while proposals to limit emissions of so-called greenhouse gases through a trading program may be on life support, it’s not quite time to administer last rites. Recent signs suggest that the administration and Democrats are getting ready to make one more big push in an effort to force something through.
The reason that Obama is so enamored with the program is obvious. Given the president’s inability to cut spending in any meaningful way, his only hope of restoring some sanity to the federal budget is a massive tax. Of all the available options, two have the potential to raise enough revenue to stem (not eliminate) the river of red ink pouring through the streets of Washington. The first, a value added tax (VAT), will almost surely be on the table when the president’s fiscal commission issues its recommendations after the elections. Cap and trade is the other option, although it wouldn’t be surprising to find that the administration angles for both in the long run. Just think of all the wonderful things they could do with all that cash.
The challenge Obama and Democrats face is framing a message that will resonate with the American people. So far, we have been variously told that cap and trade is necessary to save to planet, to free the United States from the tyranny of foreign oil, and to reassert out technological dominance in the energy sector. None of these attempts to spin an idea that most people recognize as having a debilitating effect on the economy have been very effective. Despite the best efforts of liberals and their allies in the mainstream media, far fewer Americans believe that human activities have or can affect the earth’s climate today than when our ocean-reversing President took the oath of office. The idea that we’d all be better off driving hugely expensive, inherently inefficient electric cars is ludicrous on its face. China’s supposedly “green economy” is in fact built upon coal-fired power plants and huge hydroelectric projects, though they are more than happy to churn out solar-panels for gullible Americans to buy.
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