The cowardly cap and trade tax

John Broder:

In proposing mandatory caps on the greenhouse gases linked to global warming and a system for auctioning permits to companies that emit them, President Obama is taking on a huge political and economic challenge.

Business lobbies and many Republicans raised loud objections to the cap-and-trade program Mr. Obama proposed as part of his budget this week, saying the plan amounted to a gigantic and permanent tax on oil, electricity and manufactured goods, a shock they said the country could not handle during economic distress.

Green groups and supportive members of Congress applauded, saying the proposal was long overdue after eight years of inaction on climate change under President George W. Bush. The costs, they said, would not begin to bite until at least 2012.

But the full costs and benefits of controlling greenhouse gas emissions remain unknown, and perhaps unknowable. While there is rough consensus on the science of global warming — with some notable and vocal objectors — there is less agreement on the economics of the problem and very little on the policy prescriptions to address it. And while a cap-and-trade approach bears substantial cost, it also brings a benefit whose value is incalculable — a steady decrease in emissions that scientists say will over time reduce the risk of climate catastrophe.

Mr. Obama’s budget estimates $645 billion in cap-and-trade revenue over the next 10 years that will largely be paid by oil, electric power and heavy industries that produce the majority of carbon dioxide and other gases blamed for the warming of the planet. Many of these costs are expected to be passed on to consumers.


“Let’s just be honest and call it a carbon tax that will increase taxes on all Americans who drive a car, who have a job, who turn on a light switch, pure and simple,” said John A. Boehner of Ohio, the House Republican leader. “And if you look at this whole budget plan, they use this carbon tax as a way to fund all of their big government ideas.”

One utility executive, Thomas Williams of Duke Energy, predicted that electricity rates would jump as much as 40 percent in states that are reliant on coal for much of their power, like Indiana and Kentucky.

“It’s a coal state stickup,” he said. He based his figures on a first-year price of $20 per ton of carbon dioxide emissions, a higher price than used by others who have studied the Obama proposal.

Some economists support Mr. Obama’s approach to curbing emissions because they say the other main alternative, a tax on polluting fuels, is politically unpopular.

One of the central tenants of the Democrat politics of fraud is that taxes on businesses are paid by businesses. The truth is the taxes are collected by businesses from their customers who buy their goods and services. The last quoted paragraph show the motivation for the fraud.

Democrats know they cannot be honest with voters on the taxes they want to impose on the use of energy that will drive down our standard of living for a dubious proposition. Where else is the public asked to spend a fortune with no clear return.

The carbon phobes can give no assurance that reducing emissions of CO2 will effect temperatures by more than one or two degrees 50 years from now. I am very skeptical that a two degree difference in temperature would have the catastrophic effect the doomsayers are predicting. I know that I can easily adapt to that kind of climate change and probably be even more comfortable. I am also confident that the climate control freaks can reak much more damage to the world by implementing their attacks on energy.


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