For starters Steve Margolis (former prof of mine – and friend) has a piece at Newmark’s Door on the cap and trade bill.
Ironically, an outright tax would have been better than the cap and trade plan. What the current bill does is assign a privilege to pollute, and then allow this privilege to be bought and sold. Bought and sold privileges… hmmm… sounds like aristocracy.
The increase in living expenses passed on to the consumer is passed on whether or not you pollute. The greenest muffin hugger will pay along with the dude in the diesel dulley Dodge. But that’s not the end of it. Privileges like these also reduce economic activity. That reduction in activity may or may not be in the areas which pollute. We can’t know.
Finally, the law will cause interference in communication of prices. It will make some technologies which use less (measureable) carbon more feasible, even though they might be less efficient. We started using cars because they are more efficient than horses. Wherever the government extends a stick to induce behaviors, prices get messed up and efficiency falters.
Is efficiency all that matters? Isn’t better fuel efficiency what this bill intends to create? People will demand better efficiency when it really matters.
As to whether socialism is oppressive or not: sometimes socialism is predicated on purely benevolent intentions. Usually it sees a need, and goes about looking for a good way to satisfy that need. Often the quickest way to get what we want is to take it from someone else. So, since the poor need better health coverage we should take some money from the well off and give it to the poor.
But this encourages everyone to use more health services. If you have Medicaid and the baby sneezes you go to the ER. If you have to pay out of pocket you wait until the morning and go to the clinic. People respond to prices. Take away the prices and they over-use. The intentions are sweet, the consequences are bitter.
People who care about the poor should give them of their own money. I do. But taking money from the unwilling destroys any virtue in the act.