How Obama failed on cap-and-trade and consequences for health care

Early coverage of the Cap and Trade bill has focused on the successes of Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi, although I noted that it was also a success for conservative movement groups.

However, focus is beginning to shift. Maybe they didn't get what they wanted? The New York Times' John Broder notes that various groups lobbied the hell out of it. He focuses on the utilities:

The biggest concessions went to utilities, which wanted assurances that they could continue to operate and build coal-burning power plants without shouldering new costs. The utilities received not only tens of billions of dollars worth of free pollution permits, but also billions for work on technology to capture carbon-dioxide emissions from coal combustion to help meet future pollution targets.

By not auctioning these permits, Obama lost a huge amount of money for his earlier proposals. Donald Marron notes that this totals about $600b in revenue that this bill didn't create.

Now think about what Joe Lieberman said yesterday about the health care bill...

Lieberman cited the cost of a public plan as his primary beef with the plan.

"Part of my concern is that, and this goes to the…growing national debt, that inevitably if we create a public option, the public is going to end up pay for it and that's a cost we can't take on," he said.

If Obama had come out of this cap and trade debate with an extra $600b, the healthcare debate would look a lot -- A LOT -- different.

As the scope of the deficit becomes clearer and the political salience of it rises, the cap and trade bill may look like an increasingly poor deal for America, but also the rest of the Obama agenda.

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We had to destroy this cap-n-tax in order to save it

I am shocked at how bad a bill Waxman ended up creating.

I am further shocked at how LITTLE it will actually do (ie NOTHING) to actually reduce CO2 in the next 10 years.  It's not a right-talking-point to call this a scam. Multiple economists, oped writers and even die-hard environmentalists are noticing it now, that we are paying for bogus 'carbon offsets' in brazil, that there are no mechanisms to track and audit this. This is an ENRON style regulatory scheme. A trillion dollars is flowing through the Government, but the cap-and-trade will just let it flow back out - from consumers to the politically connected.

To parahprase the infamous Vietnam era statement: "We had to destroy this cap-n-tax in order to save it."

The other BIG thing is that objective-speaking, cap-and-trade is an ANTI-JOBS bill. They may talk 'green jobs' till they are green-blue in the face, but a bill to increase energy costs is INHERENTLY a bill to send industrial jobs overseas. Refinery companies know it, coal industry workers know it, and Obama and Pelosi can only afford 1 or 2 "ANTI-JOBS" chits before they throw away the 2010 elections. Jobs lost in this recession will not be coming back under these policies.

I think as JOBS and DEFICIT take front-and-center, you are right, the scope for what could and should be done on healthcare narrows significantly.

Obama's overreaching rush to make everything a  SuperSizeMeGovt Program is a huge gift to the Right and Republicans for 2010. The agenda is creaking and may collapse (or they pass a bunch of bad bills and pay the piper in 2010).



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BHO's Plan - cramdown cr*p in the House, compromise in Senate


The cap and trade game plan seems to have been: Get something - ANYTHING - that was as far left as possible out of the House, then challenge the Senate to get something.

They may try the same on ObamaCare. The Senators are NOT walking the plank for $1 trillion payment for govt-run healthcare, so we are back to Dems trying to match lofty goals with the reality that their proposals DONT REALLY DELIVER on their promises.

Like 'universal health care' - ObamaCare analysis said it would still leave tens of millions uninsured and FORCE millions off the private health insurance into this system. Less choices, higher costs, taxpayers and next generation left holding the bag.

It would be far more prudent to recognize that at this time we need to move incrementally, or NOT AT ALL UNTIL OUR ECONOMY STABILIZES.

The Left will not abide it. So the usual partisan leadership gameplan is to get the House to act more partisan and the Senate to followup, then they make the sausage in conference committee and RUSH RUSH RUSH to vote before RUSH and his 20 million followers melt the Congress phone lines telling Congress to stop throwing away USA's future.

Since the left is wanting the USSR-style-govt-run plan, what they euphemize as "public option", IMHO they will do the cram-down in the House on this AS WELL, just like Cap and Trade. Hence the GOP ostracizing on cap-and-traitors is a HELPFUL MARKER to warn off Republicans: Don't give in when the House runs left!

That will make the Dems walk the plank in the House, give us another narrow margin vote, keep the Senate skittish and off-balance, and - most importantly - IN THE END MODERATE THE SENATE RESULT.

Selling our future

Healthcare costs what it does because we are already paying for those who do not have insurance. Is anyone ever refused healthcare at any hospital? No. The healthcare system actually works just fine as it is. With the present economic conditions it is absolutely stupid to borrow a trillion dollars against our future generation to fix something that doesn’t need fixing. Furthermore, Government Health Care would be counter productive to economic recovery. It has always been a motivation to get a fulltime job that provides benefits. Social Health Care System takes that motivation away. We can not afford to sell our children’s future. A couple of relevant quotes, “Avoiding likewise the accumulation of debt, not only by shunning occasions of expense, but by vigorous exertions in time of peace to discharge the debts which unavoidable wars have occasioned, not ungenerously throwing upon posterity the burthen whic”, George Washington quotes (American commander in chief of the colonial armies in the American Revolution (1775-83) and subsequently 1st US President (1789-97), 1732-1799). “Debt is the slavery of the free”,Publilius Syrus quotes (Roman author, 1st century B.C.). We are heading down a dangerous path if Obama’s agenda are voted in. God Bless America. Sincerely, Art