Crazy “Climate Control” Ideas: With Obama as Prez, Never Say Never
The White House nominee for Treasury secretary, Jack Lew, says that President Obama is not planning to propose a carbon tax. Similarly, White House press secretary Jay Carney said that Obama’s administration would “never propose a carbon tax, and have no intention of doing so.”
No doubt Lew’s comments are spurned by fear of negative political ramifications before the 2014 congressional elections, rather than a sincere opposition to a carbon tax as a means of — excuse the irksome phrase — “climate control.”
As the Washington Post’s Steve Mufson and others have argued, without at least tricking one prominent Republican to jump on the carbon tax-bandwagon, the political consequences would be too great for Democrats since they would get all the blame for negative economic impacts of a carbon tax. Mufson said:
As a matter of negotiating strategy, now might be a bad time for the Obama Administration to advertise interest in a carbon tax.
Remember, this is the same administration that delayed job-crushing regulations until after the 2012 elections.
Perhaps politically it is more convenient for the President to propose burdensome cap-and-trade regulations that sound less ridiculous than “carbon tax,” but that are no less ridiculous. In 2009, President Obama encouraged Congress to produce cap-and-trade legislation that “drives the production of more renewable energy in America.” He’s still singing the same old tune today.
But Heritage has explained that “a cap-and-trade program is nothing more than a regressive tax that will raise prices and cost Americans jobs – all for little, if any, environmental gain.”
If you put a pretty title on lousy legislation, it’s still lousy legislation. Heritage explains:
Since an overwhelming majority of America’s energy needs are met by carbon-emitting fossil fuels, regulations of these fuels directly raise the cost of electricity, gasoline, diesel fuel, and home heating oil. Since low-income families spend a larger proportion of their income on energy, a tax that increases energy prices would disproportionately affect the budgets of the poorest American families.
A carbon tax would increase the cost of carbon-emitting fossil fuels, but so would cap-and-trade, for which Obama has appointed himself head-cheerleader.
Whether the American economy is booming or heading off a fiscal cliff, the right time for a carbon tax is never.
So if the likes of Lew and Carney think they’ve defended the President’s bad position on energy regulations, they’ve still got lots of explaining to do. And, by the way, their friends on the left have been busy pushing a carbon tax, so suggesting that the President would not do the same if and when the political winds are blowing in a favorable direction is wishful thinking at best and downright lies at worst.