Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sarah Palin is trying to confuse me.

Sarah Palin is the author of an essay in today’s Wash Post. I am skeptical of the authorship. Nothing in the past 11 months points to her being able to sustain a theme for the length of this essay. But it does have here “style” if you read it out loud.

Governor Palin may be correct that cap and trade is not the optimal solution to an energy policy. She writes that it will “inflict permanent damage” on the US economy. Unfortunately she does not prescribe a better solution beyond what is essentially her unsustainable trope “drill baby drill”.

It is a safe assumption that this essay was someone else’s idea. But instead of focusing on the topic it does address the Governor’s narcissism:

“Unfortunately, many in the national media would rather focus on the personality-driven political gossip of the day than on the gravity of these challenges. So, at risk of disappointing the chattering class, let me make clear what is foremost on my mind”.

Her initial evidence in support of her claim against cap and trade is wrong. “American prosperity has always been driven by the steady supply of abundant, affordable energy.” Innovation and creativity are the factors that propel the US economy. Innovation comes from education, thoughtfulness and the persistence. Cheap energy is valuable to controlling cost but it is not the primary factor to American prosperity. If that were true we would be in real trouble.

Warren Buffet (spelled incorrectly in the essay) did say that, "poor people are going to pay a lot more for electricity." Governor Palin should not imply that Mr. Buffet rejects cap and trade for this reason. You can read the transcript of the interview by CNBC with Mr. Buffet here.

The Governor may be correct that that cap and trade is wrong but she needs to be serious and give real alternatives. Why is drilling a better option than straight carbon tax. A carbon tax will still pass cost to consumers but it has less cost due to less regulatory structure. We need to address our energy externalities. We can’t just ignore the impact of our prosperity.

Governor Palin also avoids the need for investment in alternative sustainable energy goals.

I like that the Governor made this step but leaders need to have thoughtful robust ideas if we are to take them serious.

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