Politics is filled with “You’ve Got to Be Kidding Me” moments…those moments that make your head spin – like hearing Bill Clinton define the word “is,” or watching President Bush try to author a lexicon.
Recently, Utah was host to one of these moments at the annual meeting of the Economic Development Corporation of Utah where the buzz word was “Cap and Trade.”
But, I’m getting ahead of myself.
We’ve all heard about Al Gore receiving a Nobel Peace Prize for inventing global warming – not inventing something that actually saves lives, but inventing something that would actually destroy the entire Earth. He made a movie about it. He got the United Nations to buy into it. And now he’s convinced corporate America that there is money to be made – lots and lots of money.
Global warming is so popular now that even our very popular governor feels safe to embrace it – mind you, this is a man whose family’s fortune, lifestyle, and success has been driven by a carbon footprint just one carbon molecule shy from matching Albania.
But think of it from his perspective. In a world of scarce resources only so many of us can live that sort of life without repercussions. And, so, our good governor is asking the rest of us to cut back – he certainly is not going to change his lifestyle, so the rest of us must stop hoping to live in the manner he’s accustomed to, and forego a lifestyle that he’s not willing to give up.
To help us avoid the same Earth-destroying prosperity he has come to enjoy in life, he’s magnanimously offered to block any future pathways for our personal economic progress.
By the way, he calls this magnanimous act “economic development.” As if he were still running the business he never ran, he has economic development advisors, an Economic Development Commission, and an Economic Development Corporation of Utah. He could have just called them all Johnnie Mae or Johnnie Mac.
His eco-friendly, market-oblivious brain-trust recently brought a big-time consultant to town to teach everyone how to take advantage of the New Green Economy. Utahns better get familiar with the term “cap and trade” because this policy is at the heart of the New Green Economy. Here’s how it works: the federal government sets a limit on carbon emissions…state and local emitters buy permits to emit…if an emitter emits too much, it can buy more emission permits from another emitter who didn’t use all of its emissions.
The key to all of this ingenuity is that the emission cap will be set so low, and permit prices set so high, that emitters will have to reduce emissions dramatically or go out of business. Global warming problem solved. Well, at least any global warming that sits over Utah. We don’t really have any say about the bustling economies of China or India or any of our enemy countries who don’t give one emission about global warming. But at least we’ll be doing our part.
Okay, so this is where we all say, “You’ve got to be kidding me!!” This is the sum total of the New Green Economy? Cap and Trade? This is our economic future – buying and selling carbon credits. You know, that was a bad idea the first time we saw it on Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.
It’s time for Utahns to tell the environmental movement to take a flying leap. Obviously, we are perfectly capable of inventing our own farces – such as when we call more intrusive and bigger government a happy name…like “economic development.” For the Sutherland Institute, I’m Paul Mero.