The Champs Elysees Republicans

The Financial Times joined the EUnuchs in celebrating current U.S. financial markets’ instability. The EUrocrats are, as usual, rejoicing in our problems, saying that we’d be so much better off if only we adopted their socialist economic theories. But Europe — and it’s projected 1.5-1.8% growth — is in worse shape than we, not better. Nevertheless, FT pompously passed along the call to “wake up, America!”

It is worth noting that this chortling occurred amid a meltdown of Europe’s own stock markets. They’ve got their priorities, though.

OK, so let’s pay attention to Europe.

Just the day before the FT article appeared, the European Confederation of Iron and Steel Industries pleaded with the European Commission to stop the hemorrhaging from their global warming carbon cap-and-trade rationing scheme. The reason is that this put their industry at a big competitive disadvantage compared to Chinese, Russian, Indian, U.S. and other producers.

This scheme that has sent European steelmaking jobs to Kentucky and Alabama, is also what Sens. John McCain, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and Gov. Mike Huckabee are all advocating. It’s good to know the Europeans might be nice to them.

Just the day before that cry for help from lagging European industry, the European Roundtable of Industrialists similarly begged the Commission, saying this program could destroy the competitive position of European industry. The letter was signed by the CEO of Royal Dutch Shell, a company which had all along pushed for the scheme, as far back as when Enron pioneered the (very Enron-esque) moneymaking deal here, before the, ah, unpleasantness.

This reminds me of the arrogance dogging U.S. industry lobbyists advocating imposition of this economic millstone here. Experience notwithstanding, they convince themselves that they can ride the back of the tiger of energy rationing policies and not end up in the tiger’s belly. Europe has proven that these schemes will not work as promised, and will get out of the control of the big businesses who push them as useful idiots of the environmentalist industry.

One reason we haven’t seen such legislation pass here — yet — is because thieves tend to fall out when it comes time to split up the loot, and industry and their political pals haven’t agreed on who gets to pick your pocket.

But Europe plans to treat us with more hectoring, Given the pain from just three years of a regulatory experiment to hide their inefficient energy tax they now promise a trade war.

The President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barosso, vowed to impose trade sanctions on countries that haven’t adopted Europe’s rationing scheme. (Never mind that I’ve documented that they’re cheating under it). This is a direct admission we that the scheme is doing precisely as we warned, and killing their economy.

Remember this when you hear ”cap and trade” sold domestically as creating “green collar jobs.” That’s nonsense. Though some brokerages have done well and utilities, some oil companies and others have been given windfall profits in the trillions, the real cost is the number of jobs high energy costs are chasing away. They have even driven steel jobs here, at the expense of EU economic growth.

Also this week Greenwire (password required) reported that former Republican National Committee chief Ken Mehlman is being paid by rent-seeking industry to convince the administration to adopt this scheme, as are the spinner Tucker Eskew and other former Bushies.

A Bloomberg story yesterday cited Mehlman’s firm, Akin Gump, as an example of lawyers getting $700 an hour to advocate just such policies.

Finally, this week, we are also told by our few friends in the White House that a new urgency and some new traction is seen by the long running campaign to get the President to do this. The campaign is still driven by the Goldman Sachs contingent, which is still driven by Chief of Staff Josh Bolten with a little help from Treasury Secretary Paulson. (Goldman is heavily invested in the project and has been in on the game since the early days of teaming up with Enron).

That crowd got the promise included in President Bush’s first State of the Union speech in 2001, only to have it removed at a late hour after grassroots opposition loudly reared its head (administration aides only acknowledge this privately).

Indications are that, indeed, the administration is not paying heed to Europe. That is, we are told of a pending recommendation to announce this in the upcoming, swansong State of the Union address. We shall see if the “Wall Street” — make that the Champs Elysee — Republicans get their way.

Of course, the plan wouldn’t impact the climate but this is legacy time. As Cyrano said about a fiscally reckless move he characterized as stupid: “But what a gesture!”


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