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Cut out the carbon middleman

The opposition by the Republicans to the idea of carbon trading is a bit baffling, given that it is a classic Wall Street-driven solution for dealing with a serious problem.

Sure, carbon trading, which is the centerpiece of the Obama administration-backed American Clean Energy and Security Act, would carry a cost for consumers and companies that emit too much in greenhouse gases. But the economic impact of the bill’s so-called cap-and-trade scheme would be modest — costing the average household $175 a year in added expenses, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

What’s actually more baffling is President Obama’s infatuation with this trading scheme, which will benefit the global environment, but will also fatten the wallets of Wall Street traders. A simple tax on polluters and carbon producers would get the job done without the kind of wealth transfer to the gilded class that Republicans generally support.

It’s easy to see why Wall Street, which has been waiting for carbon trading to ignite in the United States, favors the measure.

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