Massive energy tax

As President Obama's health care proposal survives on life support, his huge energy tax plan known as "cap and trade" passes each day in the next hospital room, breathing with the help of a respirator.

Finally, some Democrats in Congress are stepping back to question whether we need to rush through a bill that would completely disrupt the U.S. economy under the dubious premise that we must stop global warming or risk worldwide catastrophe.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rammed through a "cap and trade" bill in June, barely getting a majority. But the bill has met a cooler response in the Senate, which has yet to act.

Then, earlier this week, nine Democrat senators announced they'll seek to impose carbon tariffs on certain imported goods in return for supporting cap and trade. That's a tacit admission that the bill would put the United States at a competitive disadvantage with countries such as India and China -- and that it would lead to huge increases in energy costs for American consumers.

And on Wednesday, a group of four more Democratic senators said Congress should abandon cap-and-trade legislation this year and focus instead on handing out more subsidies to renewable energy companies.

Neither protectionism through tariffs nor artificially forcing consumers to use more expensive solar or wind power will help the economy in the long run. Both are bad ideas. But the fact remains Senate Democrats are jumping ship on cap and trade because it is becoming obvious that the White House's ambitious agenda is simply too costly to put in place.

"With national unemployment tipping the scale at nearly 10 percent, experts are now referring to our present economy as the 'Great Recession'," notes Andrew Moylan of the National Taxpayers Union in Roll Call. "At a time when our nation's leaders are desperately trying to find a way out of this quagmire, why would Congress consider a bill that would not only impose a national energy tax on every household and small business in the country, but also further restrict our domestic energy production?"

That even some Democrats are finally coming to realize that this massive expansion of the state envisioned by the president -- through health care reform, energy policy and the rest -- will overwhelm the average American is more reason for the Republicans to exhibit a united front against this breathtaking and dangerous agenda.