Today’s lead WSJ editorial highlights the political tricks that increase concentration of government power: politicians buy off skeptics with corporate welfare.
The editors point out that Senators John Kerry and Joe Lieberman deny that their Cap and Trade bill will raise your taxes. This is a new climate bill, says Senator Kerry, one that includes “no gas tax.” But in fact,
“ This is still cap and tax—except with new and larger subsidies, outright corporate bribes, and the rest of the political palm-greasing that Democrats hope can still lead to a Rose Garden ceremony this year."
… Senator Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) "helped Messrs. Kerry and Lieberman write the bill before bailing out last month. Their main innovation was to create separate regulations for transportation, utilities and manufacturing. The goal is to buy industry support by offering special short-term favors to each one…
Messrs. Kerry and Lieberman hope to peel off a few Republicans with sweeteners like more offshore drilling and royalty-sharing for coastal states…The bill would also subsidize loan guarantees to expand nuclear power…”
The latter bribe may win over some Republicans. Some rave about nuclear power like Nancy Pelosi raves about solar. I happen to think that nuclear may be a practical alternative. But if it is, the market should decide that. Government should not tilt the scale with loan guarantees. But such bribes, I mean subsidies, is the way the game is played:
“Big business is on board for the subsidies, and even the Chamber of Commerce had kind words for this "work in progress." The bill landed with endorsements from such luminaries as John Doerr, a Kleiner Perkins venture capitalist and Al Gore's business partner; John Rowe, the CEO of the nuclear utility Exelon; and Jeff Immelt, CEO of General Electric. Every business or interest that could afford a half-competent lobbyist stands to benefit, at least until cap and tax is in place and environmentalists crack down over time.”