BTU Redux! Who Knew?

By Chris Horner, American Spectator

In a November 2006, interview with the Financial Times, Al Gore acknowledged “‘I worked as vice president to enact a carbon [sic] tax. Clinton indulged me against the advice of his economic team. . . . One House of Congress passed it, the other defeated it by one vote then watered it down… Even that turned out too much for some. That contributed to our losing Congress two years later to Newt Gingrich.”

And now we know that the energy tax (according to CBO and OMB) known as cap-n-trade did turn out to be BTU, redux. The House passed it upon assurance from the Senate that they would not leave their counterparts hanging out there alone on a tough vote — this time expressly assuring the House Democrats they would not ‘BTU them’. Only to later remind us of the line in Animal House when Otter tells Flounder “You [messed] up. You trusted us.”

This went down just as some of us here (and elsewhere) noted would be the case, a few times, including back before the House even dared to vote. It was inescapably obvious. If not to certain lawmakers soon looking for work in these tough times they helped bring about, and then extend.

And now that opposition gives way to leadership, Republicans, please remember why you don’t just sigh and agree to ‘something’. If last night was not reminder enough.

Unfortunately, however, the progression among wise men in DC goes something like this:

Well, you can’t just say ‘no’

It’s inevitable

You have to “do ‘something'”.

Besides, we need ‘certainty.’

It should go without saying by now that it is not inevitable. The people, who were not at the table as their wealth was redistributed, saw to that. The only certainty Members of Congress and naive industry reps will ensure if they fall for that tired line — whispered in their ear by lobbyists for Screwtape Associates (‘here’s how you sound smart in Washington, Mr. Freshman Member/new leadership’) — is that the noose gets tightened fairly regularly once your opponent has talked you into agreeing ‘something’ must be done.

Ask the oil guys about ethanol standards — how’s that certainty workin’ out for ya? — or the auto fellas about CAFE. No, not the current demand. Not the one before that. The one before that, when you agreed to sit down and accept ‘something’ because it would bring you ‘certainty’.

Exactly.

Agreeing to capntrade — when you should instead promptly pass one-liners cleaning up the courts’ mess in the Clean Air Act, NEPA and ESA by asserting that the act is not intended to serve as a greenhouse gas regulation regime — simply unleashes further assaults. Roll their agenda-creep back. You don’t enable it out of fear some lobbyist will pout because he didn’t get his goodies or a reporter will be mean and insist you ‘just say no’. “No” on capntrade won you the election, I submit. (“No” on the massive debt that is ‘green jobs’ schemes will be similarly benefiical both economically and politically, so long as Members properly point out that it only worsens “the spending, stupid!” problem, further delaying recovery and creating new entitlements, and their constituencies demanding to be fed.)

Listening to industry lobbyists’ siren songs — and/or deciding you can’t just say ‘no’ to a bad idea because, after all, something was proposed so we have to agree to some portion of that — would prove an exceedingly bad and politically costly idea.

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