Skip to main content

Ripping Up Sarah Palin's Op Ed

  • Author:
  • Updated:

By Ben Cohen

Sarah Palin is now an economic and energy expert. At least she is pretending to be in her latest piece for the Washington Post titled: 'A Cap and Tax Road to Economic Disaster'.

In a laughable attempt to be taken seriously, Palin has thrown herself into a a debate on Cap and Trade, apparently not caring that she doesn't know anything about it. I'm no expert myself, but it doesn't take long to figure out that her analysis is ridiculous. She writes:

There is no denying that as the world becomes more industrialized, we
need to reform our energy policy and become less dependent on foreign
energy sources. But the answer doesn't lie in making energy scarcer and
more expensive! Those who understand the issue know we can meet our
energy needs and environmental challenges without destroying America's

The basic premise then is that by making people pay for inflicting environmental damage, Obama will apparently destroy America's economy.The article continues to get sillier and sillier, as Palin suggests the way forward is to drill in Wild Life Refuges, use 'clean coal', and generally stop worrying about the environment. She writes: "We are ripe for economic growth and energy independence if we
responsibly tap the resources that God created right underfoot on
American soil".

And that's basically her energy policy.

While there are problems with the Cap and Trade policy Obama is favoring, Palin's critique is about as useful as Chevron's. She has a vested interest in supporting the oil industry given they will most likely fund any future political endeavor she decides to embark upon, and have bankrolled her state to the tune of billions of dollars over the years.

Palin then attempts to stick up for 'Joe Six Pack' claiming:

"The Americans hit hardest will be those already struggling to make ends meet."

Conor Clarke, filling in for Andrew Sullivan at the Daily Dish, quickly dispels this myth:

This is simply incorrect. Cap and trade creates revenue, which can be
used to mitigate the costs for consumers. When the Congressional Budget
Office did it's analysis of the distribution of the costs and benefits
of the House's cap and trade bill, it found that the poorest quintile would actually benefit.

Other than that, Palin doesn't really have anything else - other than the fact that certain sectors of the economy will suffer. This is a given in virtually any new major policy proposal, but the numbers Palin is talking about don't add up. She writes:

Job losses are so certain under this new cap-and-tax plan that it
includes a provision accommodating newly unemployed workers from the
resulting dried-up energy sector, to the tune of $4.2 billion over
eight years. So much for creating jobs.

Clarke's riposte to this is even better:

A quick note about the psychology of large numbers: $4.2 billion over
eight years is $525 million a year. (That yearly cost is just above the
total cost of, I dunno, building a road that connects Juneau with the rest of Alaska.)

In a world where increasing carbon emissions wasn't a problem, Palin's
solution may not be quite as stupid as they seem. But the fact is,
Climate Change may cost the U.S $1.9 trillion a year if nothing is done, far more expensive that curbing carbon emissions - and far fewer people will die.