Speaking of Democratic bubbles bursting, it's amazing what a little debate will do to shut up a bad idea. As Rich Lowrey of the New York Post writes today,
RARELY has so much hectoring produced so little.
After all the magazine covers, celebrity sermonizing and UN-certified-expert hand-wringing, the fight against global warming got a real-world test in the US Senate a few weeks ago in the debate over a proposal to limit carbon emissions through a cap-and-trade system.
After a small dose of the argument, the proposal's backers couldn't wait to drop it. It was leading opponent Mitch McConnell, the Republican Senate minority leader, who declared he'd be happy to talk about cap-and-trade for a month.
As an indirect tax on carbon, cap-and-trade would increase energy prices when people are straining under $4-a-gallon gas. Even a political naif - which McConnell assuredly isn't - would realize the benefit of hanging the proposal around its supporters' necks. Lately, we've seen the tech and housing bubbles burst, and now - at least as an urgent political issue - the global-warming bubble is getting pricked.
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No matter what the price of gas is, the most sensible US policy is to avoid costly schemes to fight global warming. If our economy keeps growing, we'll be better positioned - richer and more technologically proficient - to help others mitigate its effects decades from now.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid huffs that global warming is "the most critical issue of our time." Really? More critical than energy prices? Than health care? Than wages? Than terrorism? Than nuclear proliferation?
Keep huffing, Sen. Reid - that deflating bubble needs all the air it can get.