Column: Cap and trade is the new tax and spend

There's talk in Washington about extending jobless benefits for 13 additional weeks because "we all know Americans are hurting and hurting badly," Arizona senator and your Republican candidate for president John McCain said.

Or, as Rep. Phil English, a Pennsylvania Republican put it, extending the benefits is a "no brainer because this is an election year."

Oops. Actually, he said it's a no brainer because "it provides extended benefits at a time when people are feeling deep insecurity." English must be the real Dr. Phil.

It's the season of giving, with tax rebates first to end a recession that hasn't started and now to provide benefits when the unemployment rate is a distressing 5.5 percent. You know, 94.5 percent employment. If the jobless rate drops a whole 1.5 percent, some economists will tell you that's the same thing as full employment.

Considering everyone is falling all over themselves to solve problems that we don't have, and offering soothing words that aren't exactly reflective of the truth, let's move on to newer buzzwords - cap and trade - and explain that three-word phrase is politician talk for "tax and spend."

From this point forward, I'll blatantly borrow from the weekly column sent to this newspaper by Sen. John Kyl but seldom published.

This Kyl fellow is pretty smart because he believes that rising energy prices can best be addressed "by increasing our oil supply, by lifting the restrictions on domestic energy exploration, and promoting economic growth, which would strengthen the dollar.

"Instead, Senate Democrats have brought to the Senate floor a so-called 'cap-and-trade' bill that would significantly raise gasoline prices. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), this legislation would immediately increase gas prices, which would rise by 53 cents per gallon in 2030. Twenty years after that, the increase would jump by $1.40. That's on top of whatever the price would otherwise be. With gas prices hovering around $4 a gallon today, this is not good news."

Good Lord, Kyl favors raping Mother Earth! Cool.

"The Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act (S. 3036) is intended to address global warming by regulating carbon emissions into the atmosphere. It would mandate an arbitrary limit on how much carbon-based energy could be produced in the United States. That's the 'cap.' But if any industry produced less than the capped amount, it would sell the difference to another company that didn't meet its cap. That's the 'trade.'

"Cap-and-trade is actually a tax on American consumers. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, businesses would pass on to consumers most of the $900 billion in costs imposed by a cap-and-trade system. This would be a regressive stealth tax that would hit low- and middle-income working families the hardest."

Senator Kyl is making these politicians he works with sound like a pretty deceptive bunch. And so he continues:

"In a recent Washington Post article, Robert Samuelson correctly points out: 'The chief political virtue of cap-and-trade ... is its complexity. This allows its environmental supporters to shape public perceptions in essentially deceptive ways. Cap-and-trade would act as a tax, but it's not described as a tax. It would regulate economic activity, but it's promoted as a free market mechanism. Finally, it would trigger a tidal wave of influence-peddling, as lobbyists scrambled to exploit the system for different industries and localities.'"

You may recall McCain referred to "cap and trade" as a "free market mechanism." Whose side is he on? Kyl also points out "cap and trade" would do essentially nothing to reduce carbon emissions. Read on:

"In a recent editorial, the Wall Street Journal explains: 'Trillions in assets and millions of jobs would be at the mercy of Congress and the bureaucracy, all for greenhouse gas reductions that would have a meaningless impact on global carbon emissions if China and India don't participate. And only somewhat less meaningless if they do.'

"In fact, a report released by the EPA indicates that even with a cap-and-trade system in place in the U.S., there would still be a net increase in carbon emissions over the next several decades."

I think the wrong senator from Arizona is running for president.