Is GOP Opposition to Cap-and-Trade Self-Contradictory?
Betsy Moler of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership and Phil Sharp of Resources for the Future would like Republicans to think so. After all, if GOP opposition to cap-and-trade is self-contradictory, then it is unstable, hence reversible.
Few Republicans will be gulled by this line of chatter, but just to make sure, I posted a column debunking the Moler-Sharp argument on MasterResource.Org, the free-market energy blog.
Republicans like markets (or say they do), and cap-and-trade is “market-based,” according to Moler and Sharp. In fact, cap-and-trade is politics-based. The demand for the traded commodity (the emission allowances) is entirely a creature of the cap, which is itself created not by the market but by politicians.
People posting comments on my column made astute observations, which suggest the following definition. Cap-and-trade: Government creation of a market in a commodity that everyone makes and nobody wants; from which a rent-seeking few gain windfall profits at consumers’ expense; and in which opportunities for corruption and creative accounting abound.