Monday, July 5, 2010


I've explained why I think Cap and Trade is a bad idea. When EO was young(er) the Great Carnac, a clairvoyant, often made an appearance on the Tonight show. His ability to predict the future never failed to astonish.

Carnac the Magnificent.

EO does not pretend to have the same ability as Carnac, but does have a carnival huckster's flair for embellishing the obvious with the faintly absurd. EO has a dozen predictions, probably because he likes eggs. as well as most numbers evenly divisible by 3. Plus, there were 12 apostles and 12 tribes in Israel. And 12 days of Christmas. The 12 predictions below are neatly divided into four groups of three. Because Threeness is important.

12 Apostles.



1. Crooks (think Joe Kennedy, President Kennedy's bootlegging father) will become Cap and Trade billionaires by cheating the system.

Joe Kennedy: Nazi sympathizer, Democrat, philanderer, bootlegger.
2. Consumer prices will go up dramatically; so will unemployment. Wages will stay put or go down. Bill Gates and friends will not notice at all. The rest of us will suffer.

Bill and Warren rocking the recession.

3. Al Gore will become an even wealthier man than he is now.

Carbon Bigfoot print: Al Gore's Nashville mansion.
Photo credit.

Think Halliburton, only with an earnest Al Gore smile. (The link takes you to a sympathetic NYT article on Gore making tons of money from businesses that stand to profit from his Green lobbying). I don't actually mind Al Gore making money, if taxpayers also made out as well on their investment. Unlikely, in this case.


4. The massive transfer of wealth forced by Cap and Trade will be poorly managed and have bizarre, unintended consequences. The Road To Economic Hell will be paved with Cap and Trade's good intentions. Along with the Reid-Pelosi health care reform legislation.

The Good Intenders
Coming Summer, 2010

Photo credit.

5. The program's intended results will be largely unquantifiable and highly debatable, much like TARP and the economic stimulus.

6. Cap and Trade's benefits - affordable cleaner energy and a cleaner environment - are decades away and by no means certain, while the trillions in costs are both certain and immediate.


7. The government will have to hire 100,000 new federal agents - a new IRS - to police the very complicated Cap and Trade laws. IRS has its hands full already.

8. The system will be as smoothly administered and well received as Prohibition and the War on Drugs. Ouch.

9. Cap and Trade will wind up looking eeriely like tobacco allotment, a federal program still hanging around from the 1930s. The purpose of tobacco allotment was to limit tobacco production in order to prop up the rural South by keeping tobacco prices high. Bottom line: the Government pays farmers billions not to grow tobacco. Tobacco allotment serves no legitimate economic purpose. It is just a zombie program that redistributes billions of dollars annually to satisfy a very narrow political clientele. But politicians - left and right - love it: they can play sugar daddy with other people's money.

Imagine if we could expand tobacco allotment to cover everyone!!


10. The next Crisis du Jour will be a longer term problem and more expensive to fix than the last one. That has been the pattern so far:

Sub-prime (immediate problem) to
Stimulus (1-2 year horizon) to
Health Care (decade) to
"Cap and Trade" (century).

Each one less urgent and more expensive than the last.

11. When the government tries to punish people for using oil and coal, the resistance, both political and economic, will be more ferocious than it was for Prohibition. Fuel tax evasion is already a billion dollar industry. Wait until every industry in the economy has a stake in the game.

12. If we keep spending money we don't have, we will become Big Greece and China will become our Big Germany. But unlike the (current) Germans, the Chinese have a vicious totalitarian government, nukes, a booming economy and visions of dominating the Far East. They have a population of more than 1 billion and a land mass bigger than the U.S.

China & U.S. - Big Boys.
Photo credit.

Comparison of gross domestic product of various
countries portrayed as a portion of the map of the U.S.

Photo credit.

Germany actually wound up bailing the Greeks out, after much grumbling. I'm not so sure about China coming around when we drive off the cliff.

So we got that going for us.

Next Post: EO's simple, "can-do" suggestions for improving simply EVERYTHING.

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