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Cap-and-Trade Really Is Cap-and-Tax


I was pleased to see the two colleagues either chosen to flank, or who elbowed their way up front to surround, Sens. John Kerry and Barbara Boxer when they introduced their “cap-and-trade” energy rationing scheme on Capitol Hill today. This Senate answer to the House’s California-Massachusetts Axis seeking to divine the nation’s future economic policy by means of environment policy — Beverly Hills’ Henry Waxman was the House bill’s co-author, along with Ed Markey — were boxed in by none other than one of the more intellectually and politically open members of that august body, self-styled Socialist Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Ben Cardin (D-MD).


Mr. Sanders’ high-profile support for the program moving individual energy use decisions from producers and consumers to the benevolent state requires no commentary. But it is Mr. Cardin who caught my eye, for reasons relating to his own candor.

Just last week, Sen. Kerry said that he actually does not know what “cap-and-trade” means, by way of explaining that he’s just going to avoid talking about his bill in those terms. This may have something to do with the public’s increasing understanding of what cap-and-trade means. Possibly Maryland’s junior Senator can help refresh the distinguished gentleman from Boston’s memory:

In Cardin’s pithy distillation captured by none other than the Washington Post (which, oddly, hasn’t made much of the illuminating admission since), it is “the most significant revenue-generating measure of our time.”

We don’t have tax increases any more, of course. But we’ve got plenty of “revenue-generating measures”. Cap-and-trade just happens to be the biggest in our lifetime. I hope this helps, Senator.

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