Monday, May 12, 2008

McCain, the Cap-and-Trader

As good as John McCain’s pro-growth, supply-side tax plan is, his cap-and-trade strategy unveiled this morning is very hard for conservatives to swallow. The whole cap-and-trade experience in Europe and elsewhere reveals that this is a huge government command-and-control operation that taxes, spends, and regulates on a grand scale. The “cap” part rolls back production to an extent that undermines economic growth. The European cap-and-trade plans are prohibitively expensive, and are themselves hostile to economic growth.

I guess we all knew this was coming from Senator McCain. Perhaps we have been in denial about the issues connected to it. But here the McCain plan is, unveiled in Oregon, with emission caps by 2020 — only twelve years from now — that will somehow move carbon levels back to where they were in 1990.

I don’t claim to understand everything about the cap-and-trade mechanism. But scanning the McCain announcement, I look at bullets like banking and borrowing permits; unlimited initial offsets; integrating with international markets; strategic carbon reserves; early allocation of permits; U.N. negotiations; climate-change adaptation plans; implementation at the local level; comprehensive plans for infrastructure ecosystems; resource planning . . . O my gosh!

I’ve got to bone up and really learn the details about all this. But I truly have to ask: Is this candle worth the game?

O my gosh!