The cap and trade bill that is being rushed through the House this week can be boiled down to three essential elements: 1) a massive increase in Federal Bureaucracy, as illustrated in this chart (HT: Club for Growth), 2) a forced increase in the cost of hydrocarbon fuels, via scarcity and rationing created by bureaucratic fiat, and 3) an assumption, adopted by these same bureacrats, that reduced consumption of hydrocarbon fuels will save the planet.
What the bureacrats and politicians ignore, however, are the unintended consequences of this bill, which are many: 1) the potential for corruption, as those who depend on hydrocarbon fuels lobby politicians in order to be exempt from rationing or to increase their permit allocations, 2) the potential for inefficiency, as politicians and bureaucrats make faulty assumptions about who should be granted exemptions or more permits, 3) the likelihood that reduced hyrdocarbon fuel use in the U.S. might result in even greater carbon emissions in countries that don't artificially raise the price of hydrocarbon fuels (because their energy costs would be lower and their use of fuel is not as efficient as ours), 4) the likelihood that the U.S. would lose jobs as energy-intensive industries relocated to countries that have cheaper fuel costs, 5) the likelihood that whatever reductions in carbon emissions might eventually result from this monstrous apparatus might make no difference whatsoever to the global climate, and 6) the likelihood that voters (especially those in colder climates who consume more energy than those in temperate climates) might be very upset when their fuel bills escalate. (I'm sure that readers will be able to supply many more unintended consequences.)
All of this cost, and all of this effort, for something that has an extremely small probability of bringing benefits to anyone except those who will be running the program. Are our Congresscritters nuts, or what?
UPDATE: Don't miss reading Kimberley Strassel's excellent WSJ article "The Climate Change Climate Change" that describes the rising tide of global warming skepticism.