With little fanfare, President Obama is sneaking carbon emission trading in the back door: he’s planning to addict the US to revenues generated by selling carbon permits to fund his expanded healthcare, environmental, and educational agendas.
According to the New York Times:
His administration will attempt to close the large fiscal gap even while starting a major health-care initiative meant to substantially extend coverage; to do so, it foresees increasing taxes on the wealthiest Americans and using revenues from a new program: selling carbon credits to manufacturers as part of a cap-and-trade plan meant to slow climate change.
Now we have a time-line. Elsewhere in the Times, it is reported that:
… the 2012 projections include revenues from a source that does not yet exist: a carbon dioxide cap-and-trade system. For that to happen, one has to assume passage of a cap-and-trade bill no later than 2010, unless Obama and the Congress intend to let EPA twist the Clean Air Act into a pretzel, giving them the power to impose a cap-and-trade scheme by fiat, which, as I wrote here is a distinct possibility given EPA’s recent moves.
And we have an estimate of how much industry will shell out. Another Washington Post article cited testimony to Congress in September by Peter Orszag, currently Obama’s budget director, estimating that revenue from a cap-and-trade scheme could reach 112 billion dollars by 2012. According to Orszag, who at the time was director of the Congressional Budget Office, the program — which would force companies to buy permits if they exceed pollution emission limits — could generate between 50 and 300 billion dollars a year by 2020.
You can imagine the rhetoric now, if Republicans object, they’ll be the ones throwing future budgets into deficit, by denying those new carbon revenues!
It looks like we’re in for the world of Goretopia with the whole megilla: cap-and-trade combined with a draconian regulatory regime. Look for more gasoline taxes next. Remember Gore’s call for a “wrenching transformation” of society? This is what it is looks like.