Cap and Trade to Limp Across Finish Line?

It looks that way, in the House, anyway. With a vote scheduled to take place tomorrow, Nancy Pelosi thinks she has barely enough votes to pass one of the great follies in legislative history, the carbon tax. It will be close, though: Pelosi actually told Al Gore to stay in Tennessee rather than participate in a last-minutes lobbying blitz. Most likely Pelosi didn’t want to remind Congressmen needlessly that the whole point of this exercise is supposed to be fighting global warming, a theory that has fallen into scientific disrepute and on which Americans divide evenly, at best.

What seems to have tipped the balance is a deal Pelosi struck with Minnesota’s Collin Peterson, Chairman of the Agriculture Committee, providing for special treatment for ethanol under the act. That was enough, apparently, to get Peterson and a number of other farm-state Democrats on board. The extent to which farm-state politics have been driven by ethanol in recent years is a story–a scandal, really–that has not yet been properly told.

Republicans point out that the Waxman-Markey bill would create a convoluted federal bureaucracy that would control key sectors of the economy and of our lives. Minority Leader John Boehner created this graphic, showing how the bill is intended to work; click to enlarge:

bureaucraticnightmare.jpg

The Democrats, not having read the bill, were unable to comment.

I’m sure there must be a historical precedent for the folly that Waxman-Markey represents–ordering the weather to change!–but I can’t think of one offhand.

Of course, tomorrow’s vote in the House won’t actually decide anything. The Senate is likely to pass a bill (if it passes one at all) that is even more loaded with special interest favors than the House version. If a “climate change” bill eventually does become law, it will probably consist of little but a gift bag for favored Democratic Party constituencies, funded by what may be the biggest tax increase in American history. Still, that’s better than the alternative–the all-out attack on American industry that was originally envisioned by environmentalists. Waxman-Markey is a reminder that what is now happening in Washington isn’t politics as usual. It’s worse.

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