Washington is obsessed with optics and messaging. Indeed, U.S. proponents of limiting carbon emissions hope rebranding their “cap-and-trade” proposal as “pollution reduction” will boost the flagging proposal on Capitol Hill. But the real problem is the product, not the packaging. There are far more politically feasible and economically effective ways of dealing with climate change.
Call it the Uncertainty Tax. I mean, it is not enough that the American private sector has to deal with the mercurial state of healthcare, financial and tax reform, now it has to calculate the likelihood and impact of the Obama administration unilaterally imposing draconian carbon rules? Even the EPA calls such efforts inefficient and economically disruptive. A few other thoughts:
Working for the International Energy Agency must be hoot. Where else can you recommend a $10 trillion investment and kinda-sorta be taken seriously? From the WSJ:
The great Dan Clifton of Strategas Research hears the same thing I am hearing:
We continue to believe the Senate does not have 60 votes for a meaningful cap and trade bill and today’s events are largely designed to keep the process moving. With healthcare taking up so much of the calendar and financial regulation to follow, cap and trade is now squarely put into the election calendar. Should something pass next year, we expect the legislation to a be a stripped down energy bill (as opposed to cap and trade) and that will feature a Renewable Portfolio Standard and possibly easing of approval for transmission lines.
From the non-partisan Tax Foundation:
A new Tax Foundation calculator now shows how much a U.S. cap-and-trade system would cost individual households annually. The Tax Household Cap-and-Trade Burden Calculator is based upon a study released in March, Tax Foundation Working Paper No. 6, “Who Pays for Climate Policy? New Estimates of the Household Burden and Economic Impact of a U.S. Cap-and-Trade System.” The study shows that a cap-and-trade system designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent would place an annual burden of $144.8 billion on American households. The average annual household burden would be $1,218, which would be approximately 2% of the average household income.
This American Thinker post explores the political fallout of rising gas prices on the Obamacrats. (Gas was a $1.80 when Obama took office.) When gas prices soared in 2008, the Dems hammered Bush and the GOP. But super-high prices ended up being a plus for the McCain campaign since he was arguing for an “all of the above” energy policy (more driling and nukes, not just alternative energy) which strikes most people as a pretty reasonable approach. If we head back to $3.50/4.00, the Obamacrats could get hit by a double whammy — public unhappiness at high gas prices and at the administration’s refusal to move beyond a green approach.