What sane politician would willingly choose an economic policy guaranteed to lose jobs, handicap economic growth, and lower the American standard of living?  In my American Issues Project column today, I outline the projections for the economy under a cap-and-trade system, based on numbers from a surprising source:

People choose economic policies to bolster their standard of living and to create opportunity.  While people disagree on the most effective economic paths, they agree that higher productivity, more employment, and stronger buying power across all economic strata are the final goals of sensible economic planning.

With that in mind, who in their right mind would choose an economic policy that promises a 2.5 percent reduction in gross domestic product over the next 40 years?  Add to that the likelihood of at least a half-percent loss in employment, and a strategy that would increase the costs of a staple up to 45 percent in the near- and mid-term, a cost that will erode buying power most among the lowest income earners.  Does that sound like an economic policy that any rational politician would propose, let alone an entire nation adopt?

Unfortunately, it does – and our own Congress has already proposed it.  The cap-and-trade system for controlling the output of carbon dioxide has made it out of committee, sponsored by Henry Waxman and Edward Markey.  President Barack Obama campaigned on this revamping of the American energy industry and is widely expected to support it in its current form.

Wait a minute, some of our readers will say.  You’re just quoting talking points from the right-wing corporate fascists sputter sputter Halliburton Cheney! Actually, while other think tanks have done notable work analyzing the impact of cap-and-trade systems on the American economy, the figures above come from the Brookings Institution, a center-left think tank in Washington, D.C.

Read the whole thing to find out the answer to my question.  While you’re there, be sure to check out the blog, which has a number of contributors, and the other great columnists at AIP.  Today, my friend Danny Glover writes about the era of gizmo government:

A time-intensive search of keywords in several editions of the annual “Pig Book” produced by Citizens Against Government Waste confirmed my suspicions. There were only a handful of tech-related earmarks in the mid-1990s, but the numbers started climbing in fiscal 1999 and soared in subsequent years.

That initial investigative research ultimately led to a series of stories in 2004 about Congress’ newfound obsession with tech pork — everything from “business incubators” and data-sharing systems to technologies for law enforcement and schools. Oh, and don’t forget the $16,000 that Uncle Sam spent for interactive displays at the National Distance Running Hall of Fame, which is sponsored by an entity now partially owned by the taxpayers, General Motors.

Five years later, lawmakers haven’t whetted their appetite for tech-related pork. The proof is in the 76-page list of proposed earmarks for fiscal 2010 recently released by the House Appropriations Committee, which The Club For Growth highlighted on their blog.

Be sure to read it all.

Tags: Barack Obama