Paging Palin, Petroleum Pundit (Cap’n Trade Dissection)

To catch you up *real* quick, I’ve been away and Sarah Palin quit as Governor of Alaska.

A number of other big things have happened since I last wrote, and we’ll be addressing a number of those in short order, but as I like to talk a bit about policy and big things from time to time, let’s focus on Cap’n Trade and the newly minted petroleum pundit, Sarah Palin.

There was, to be sure, a good bit of discussion on the future of the former Miss Alaska, and it seems she has put those questions to action in the form of this op-ed piece in the Washington Post.   As I’ll be using that for the dissection and discussion, a quick read would be useful.

Her op-ed piece is about this piece of legislation (H.R. 2494) which would be the first legislation to seriously address the issue of global climate change, and set the U.S. on a road to a 21st century energy infrastructure.  As the bill itself bills itself…

To create clean energy jobs, achieve energy independence, reduce global warming pollution and transition to a clean energy economy.

The bill has passed the House, in a major victory for Obama, and is now on the way to a filibuster-proof Senate (Hahaha!, Al Franken is a Senator).   I, for one, am happy about this, as I see global warming and energy issues in the 21st century (including things like peak oil) as one of the central issues facing our nation and the world.

Global industrialization also poses its own risks, particularly in the environmental arena, as 2,000,000,000 plus people are brought into the present within a couple generations of real time.

Now, just to be clear, this legislation is mainly addressing the issue of climate change.  It is addressing the idea that we can’t continue to pump carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere as if it has no effect.  We know it has an effect, we have been measuring it, and it is something that simply must be addressed.  That’s what this legislation represents, a solution to that problem.

Since talking directly about legislation and the specifics therein is boring and mostly left to legislators, I’m going to go along with Palin’s lead and go for the more emotional aspects of the argument.

Which brings us directly to Palin’s petroleum punditry.   She kicks it off with a bang, which is a great way to start…. (and BTW, I use Palin because she makes a great foil to illustrate the idiocy of certain ideas, and she’s cute, which helps)

There is no shortage of threats to our economy. America’s unemployment rate recently hit its highest mark in more than 25 years and is expected to continue climbing.

Indeed, and we have some particularly bad leadership to thank for that.

Our nation’s debt is unsustainable, and the federal government’s reach into the private sector is unprecedented.

Indeed, the Patriot Act, borrowing money to go to war, and the warrant-less wiretaps championed by the previous administration were assaults on our liberty and future that should not be tolerated.  I, too, am calling on the Obama Administration to begin full investigations and prosecutions, if necessary.

But first things first, let’s settle some personal scores….

Unfortunately, many in the national media would rather focus on the personality-driven political gossip of the day than on the gravity of these challenges.


So, at risk of disappointing the chattering class, let me make clear what is foremost on my mind and where my focus will be:

I am deeply concerned about President Obama’s cap-and-trade energy plan, and I believe it is an enormous threat to our economy.

And this is where we lose her.   See, you’ll note in the rest of the essay, she spends nary a sentence on the reason the legislation exists in the first place, (“reduce global warming pol.   This is fairly similar to writing an essay on why you support the death penalty, when you’ve been given evidence that a particular inmate is innocent and scheduled to be executed at midnight…and you’re the governor.

Ummm, governor?  You have the evidence in front of you, yea, I know you love the death penalty, but this guy is innocent.

Which is to say, we have ample evidence that a real and abundant threat to our economy already exists in the form of global climate change, and this legislation is meant to begin to deal with it.

American prosperity has always been driven by the steady supply of abundant, affordable energy. Particularly in Alaska, we understand the inherent link between energy and prosperity, energy and opportunity, and energy and security. Consequently, many of us in this huge, energy-rich state recognize that the president’s cap-and-trade energy tax would adversely affect every aspect of the U.S. economy.

This is where, for those not knowing the context of discussion, one might be inclined to agree with the former Mayor of Wasilla (meth capital of Alaska).  After all, who doesn’t like prosperity.   What does this have to do with global warming?  Nothing.  Well, outside the fact that abundant, cheap energy has contributed greatly to the problem.

The entire concept of a cap AND TRADE system is to allow the market to apportion costs more efficiently.  The fact is that by spewing huge amounts of pollutants into the air, the energy-rich are dumping a standard waste product into the air we all breathe (and the one that moderates and regulates our planet).  This cost is the one being addressed through the cap and trade system.

Palin’s argument is that there is no cost here, and the solution is to burn more, faster.

We must move in a new direction. We are ripe for economic growth and energy independence if we responsibly tap the resources that God created right underfoot on American soil. Just as important, we have more desire and ability to protect the environment than any foreign nation from which we purchase energy today.

Of course, Alaska is not the sole source of American energy. Many states have abundant coal, whose technology is continuously making it into a cleaner energy source. Westerners literally sit on mountains of oil and gas, and every state can consider the possibility of nuclear energy.

This is what really gets me about this part of the essay.  She mentions “more desire and ability to protect the environment” but doesn’t mention THAT’S THE WHOLE POINT OF THE LEGISLATION.

She then does it again a moment later.

We have an important choice to make. Do we want to control our energy supply and its environmental impact?

YES, DANGIT!  That’s the whole point of leading the world on this issue.   That’s the whole point of coming up with a compromise, where we set both limits and allow market forces to provide incentives to create innovative solutions.  That’s the “Trade” part of the cap and trade system.

And with what can only be called a rhetorical flourish, Palin finishes with some plagiarism and a bit of find and replace argumentation.

Yes, we can. Just not with Barack Obama’s energy cap-and-tax plan.

Ha!  See, that’s why she doesn’t get it.  She doesn’t understand what “trade” means.  Nor, does she offer any particular insight into the actual problem the legislation is addressing.

Can someone please put that on her tutoring schedule?

Original and real name here

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