The Corner

Evangelicals Against Economics

I just received this statement by e-mail:

Statement by Rev. Jim Ball

Spokesman, Evangelical Climate Initiative

Washington, D.C., May 12, 2008–We are greatly encouraged by the principles and proposals included in Senator McCain’s speech today…We agree that a cap-and-trade policy will spur innovation and will create new markets. 

One can say all kinds of nice things about cap-and-trade — that it will make the air cleaner, that it will result in more trees being planted, etc., etc. Perhaps some of them are even true. But the one thing you cannot say is that it will create new markets or new jobs. It is akin to saying that a heavy downpour helps the economy by stimulating the market for hairdressers and ambulance drivers.

As with the “gains” from the rainstorm, every economic “gain” from a government intervention comes at someone else’s expense, and the inevitable result is a net loss. Cap-and-trade is a question of trading off between a social benefit and an economic dead loss. Don’t try to dress it up as some kind of win-win. Ratepayers and motorists (or perhaps taxpayers) are going to get killed if this happens, so you might as well be straight with them. 

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