Clever politicians like Margaret Thatcher and Vaclav Klaus sensed it early on, comparing the mitigation schemes to halt global warming with state socialism of old. The unfolding US Senate debate on 'cap and trade' legislation proves them right, for it reveals what’s really all about: the largest income redistribution since the introduction of the income tax.
The two bills for carbon regulation currently under discussion will generate windfall revenue of $6.7 trillion by 2050, which is half the present US economy's output. Half of that, $3.32 trillion, will come from auctioning carbon allowances to polluters. The other half will be handed out free to favoured supplicants such as Indian tribes or 'green' states such as California, which coincidently is represented by Senator Barbara Boxer who also happens to be a sponsor of the more radical bill. As an editorial in the Wall Street Journal put it:
In the Boxer plan, revenues are allocated down to the last dime over the next half-century. Thus $802 billion would go for ‘relief’ for low-income taxpayers, to offset the higher cost of lighting homes or driving cars. Ms. Boxer will judge if you earn too much to qualify.
Another $190 billion is earmarked for 'green collar-jobs', and on it goes with pork barrelling all over the place. What one now gathers is this: the failure of 'cap and trade' to achieve its stated objectives appears to be well anticipated, with 'social justice' as the fall back position. By the time the greenhouse gas bubble bursts, the gigantic redistribution of wealth will be irreversible – or so the stratagem goes – and government will be permanently bigger.
Perhaps that explains the hurry politicians are in to 'do something' about climate change.