Cap and Trade makes for Bewildering Political Bedfellows


Matt Taibbi. He’s basically every young liberal firebrand’s journalistic idol at the moment, burning down everything in opus level pieces published in Rolling Stone and online at True/Slant.


Sarah Palin. The number one reason that McCain’s campaign acted like the economy cratered, that is, aside from age, the legacy of George W. Bush whom McCain awkwardly hugged on stage once, and Barack Obama, the junior senator from Illinois and for the Democrats,


the Luke Skywalker of the 21st century.

Cap and Trade. Wait, what? You might not know what Cap and Trade is, and ISo to demonstrate the awkward crossroad we find ourselves at now, here’s how each of the above persons, person because human is too generous to Palin, define Cap and Trade:


Here’s how it works: If the bill passes, there will be limits for coal plants, utilities, natural-gas distributors and numerous other industries on the amount of carbon emissions (a.k.a. greenhouse gases) they can produce per year. If the companies go over their allotment, they will be able to buy “allocations” or credits from other companies that have managed to produce fewer emissions. President Obama conservatively estimates that about $646 billion worth of carbon credits will be auctioned in the first seven years; one of his top economic aides speculates that the real number might be twice or even three times that amount.

from “The Great American Bubble,” in Rolling Stone #1082-1083, which hit news stands a little under three weeks ago.

And now, for Sarah Palin’s defintion of Cap and Trade, from her op-ed in the Washington Post:

Well, she doesn’t actually define it. She just decries what in fact she doesn’t like about it:

Job losses are so certain under this new cap-and-tax plan that it includes a provision accommodating newly unemployed workers from the resulting dried-up energy sector, to the tune of $4.2 billion over eight years. So much for creating jobs.

In addition to immediately increasing unemployment in the energy sector, even more American jobs will be threatened by the rising cost of doing business under the cap-and-tax plan. For example, the cost of farming will certainly increase, driving down farm incomes while driving up grocery prices. The costs of manufacturing, warehousing and transportation will also increase.

Which she doesn’t prove with anything whatsoever, and Tim Fernholz over at The American Prospect does a good job taking those brainless sentences behind the woodshed. That’s what you get, though, when you try and read an article about a bill that has, despite horrible chicanery in the fine print, a goal of putting a stop to greenhouse gasses, written by Miss Drill Baby, Drill 2008.

Taibbi’s rightfully angry because of Cap and Trade’s potential to be the economic bubble that blew up what’s left of America after the housing crisis:

Well, you might say, who cares? If cap-and-trade succeeds, won’t we all be saved from the catastrophe of global warming? Maybe — but capandtrade, as envisioned by Goldman, is really just a carbon tax structured so that private interests collect the revenues. Instead of simply imposing a fixed government levy on carbon pollution and forcing unclean energy producers to pay for the mess they make, cap-and-trade will allow a small tribe of greedy-as-hell Wall Street swine to turn yet another commodities market into a private taxcollection scheme. This is worse than the bailout: It allows the bank to seize taxpayer money before it’s even collected.

I’d like to commend Taibbi for not just writing a brilliant incredibly well informed piece, but giving bloggers like me the above graf to quote. But it’s amazing how Palin finds the exact wrong reason to hate on Cap and Trade:

In Alaska, we are progressing on the largest private-sector energy project in history. Our 3,000-mile natural gas pipeline will transport hundreds of trillions of cubic feet of our clean natural gas to hungry markets across America. We can safely drill for U.S. oil offshore and in a tiny, 2,000-acre corner of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge if ever given the go-ahead by Washington bureaucrats.

Yep, of course I hinted at her lack-of-mindset above when I brought up “Drill Baby, Drill!” the catchphrase that scared able-minded Americans almost as much as Palin herself did during that bizarre first week when she was brought out and everyone, myself included, just went ape. Her answer is to fuck with ANWR. Sarah Palin is so stubbon about Oil you kinda understand the blockheadishness in her family. She doesn’t think we need to protect the environment and Bristol doesn’t think she needs protection. Yep, I saved the layups for the end.

But why pile on and continue the almost year old liberal tradition of shitting on the soon to be former governor of Alaska?

A) I’ve got a full time job and don’t have the time to investigate the hard stuff or learn the trickier stuff, and

B) it’s funny. This was her first topic in months not named Sarah Palin or David Letterman to try and opine on, and she continues to sputter around like McCain’s fighter plane.