Cap-and-Trade or Run-and-Hide?

Much of the attention on domestic policy is focused on either the White House panic over defending its useless stimulus or healthcare plan. But cap-and-trade should not go unnoticed. The Congressional Budget Office has put out an analysis that makes clear how numbing in complexity this legislation is — and how breathtaking the burdens it imposes on the economy. Try reading it and your eyes will glaze over. But here’s a clue to the extent of the power grab:

A cap-and-trade program is a regulatory policy aimed at controlling pollution emissions from specific sources. The legislation would set a limit on total emissions for each year and would require regulated entities to hold rights, or allowances, to the emissions permitted under that cap. Each allowance would entitle companies to emit the equivalent of one metric ton of carbon dioxide equivalent (mtCO2e).1 After the allowances for a given period were distributed, entities would be free to buy and sell allowances.

Each of the affected entities will be required to submit their request for “allowances” from the government. It sounds like a lot of bureaucracy and control. And a whole lot of government decision-making. (Career guidance: go be a cap-and-trade lobbyist — there’ll be a million of them.) Oh, and don’t forget with cap-and-trade comes $846B in taxes (“increased federal revenue”), not to mention the compliance costs:

The compliance costs for covered facilities would be the expenditures made in acquiring allowances, the cost of purchasing offset credits, and the cost of directly reducing their emissions of GHGs[greenhouse gasses]. Based on estimates of those costs and accounting for the initial allocation of free allowances, CBO estimates that the cost of this requirement would amount to tens of billions of dollars annually for private-sector entities and about $1 billion annually for public entities.

If they wanted to destroy the economy, could they come up with a better scheme? There are little hints like this: “The bill would create a program to compensate workers who lose their jobs as a result of the bill’s provisions.” No, it doesn’t say how many thousands — or tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands — will lose their jobs when American industries throw up their hands in disgust and relocate to India or China.

And keep in mind this is only a 40-page summary of the bill. Then imagine you are a business starting up or can relocate in a number of countries. Would this be incentive for you to go elsewhere? You bet.