221. A Missed Opportunity on Climate Change – NYTimes.com
August 10, 2009 § Leave a comment
More accomodation that is actually a vital win for the corporations, and a transfer of ublic equity into private property.
When he was still a candidate, Mr. Obama did not exactly endorse a carbon tax. He wanted to be elected, and embracing any tax that hits millions of middle-class voters is not a recipe for electoral success. But he did come tantalizingly close.
What Mr. Obama proposed was a cap-and-trade system for carbon, with all the allowances sold at auction. In short, the system would put a ceiling on the amount of carbon released, and companies would bid on the right to emit carbon into the atmosphere.
Such a system is tantamount to a carbon tax. The auction price of an emission right is effectively a tax on carbon. The revenue raised by the auction gives the government the resources to cut other taxes that distort behavior, like income or payroll taxes.
So far, so good. The problem occurred as this sensible idea made the trip from the campaign trail through the legislative process. Rather than auctioning the carbon allowances, the bill that recently passed the House would give most of them away to powerful special interests.