Sunday, March 07, 2010

Cap and Trade By Any Other Name...

"If Cap and Trade is dead", the Washington Post asks today, "how can we create a climate bill that's as close to it as possible?"

Well, the panel is virtually unanimous on that one - tax carbon, and let the consumers pay. But what about the fact that the poor and middle-class (a class now defined, apparently, as someone making between $30-$45K; once you get close to $50K, you're just another selfish bastard who doesn't want to pay his/her fair share) will be "hardest hit" by the reality that everything produced in this nation will become exponentially more expensive?

Richard L. Revesz, dean of NYU's School of Law,gives us the preferred solution:

We will all see small increases in our energy bills, at the gas pump, and many day-to-day goods because manufacturers and retailers will be paying more for their energy bills too. To buffer Americans from those cost increases, a new climate bill should include a refund that takes any revenue raised from a carbon pricing measure, like a cap or a tax, and refunds it back to individuals. If done well, the refund would keep consumers whole and in some cases come out a little ahead.

The biggest concern is shielding those in the lower and middle economic classes...But beyond a question of fairness, it makes political sense to ensure that voters are not paying the price of a century of burning dirty fuels. Compensating working families for price increases has the potential to appease many voters who are not convinced climate change is a priority.

Kudos to Ravesz for admitting two truths - costs will rise ("to some extent" can be fairly translated to "astronomical") and that such a rise will be politically unpopular. His solution is music to the ears of the Obama administration and the Democratic party:

But, of course, to be able to provide Americans with a financial buffer for increased energy prices, the government must raise the funds from polluters -- otherwise there will be no revenue to refund. That means any measure Congress adopts must include payments from emitters. It can come in the form of a tax or the auction of pollution permits, but there must be a funding pool with which to compensate lower and middle income Americans... It is much more likely that a policy will remain popular if voters can know they are being compensated.

Tax big energy companies, and redistribute the monies to the lower classes, who will not use it to produce anything, but, since they are getting something for nothing, will continue to vote for you. The productive class -those who make, say $60K or better and account for most discretionary spending - will bear the brunt of these costs, but with this plan in place, will not have enough votes to stop this looting of their (minimal, and ever-shrinking) wealth.

Such is "fairness" under the rule of the left. Such is the morality of the Deans of our esteemed Universities- sure, the economy will be disrupted in ways we cannot foresee (transferring wealth from the productive to the unproductive is usually called socialism, perfesser) especially in the middle of an unprecedented financial crisis , but that's the price of "fairness", and it's nothing that can't be fixed by taxing the rich and big business. Gee, way to think out of the box, Ravesz...

And incidentally, just because the government collects these taxes from "polluters" (and when do SUV owners fall into this catagory?), there is no guarantee they will not just, you know, keep the money for themselves. Just like a number of states are doing right now, as they refuse to pay tax refunds to citizens who had too much money withheld from their paychecks. Why? Because the government needs it more than you do:

This year, more Americans and businesses may be asking: Where's my tax refund?

That's because cash-strapped states such as North Carolina, Alabama and Hawaii have been forced to slow down issuing income tax refunds to individuals and businesses because of a lack of funds in their budget.

Kansas has hinted that a delay might be possible...Another state, New York, is still considering whether they'll follow the likes of Hawaii and delay refund payments.

"States typically do this when they are tight and they don't have a budget in place," said Karla Dennis, CEO of Cohesive, a nationwide tax preparation firm...Delaying the refund, Dennis says, "gives the state funds to work with in the interim to fill a gap in their revenues."

So good luck getting anywhere near full value on your "carbon refund", suckers...

Scary thing about this proposal? It hits every emotional button in today's leadership - taxing, redistributing, economic command and control, and most importantly - staying in power. Why do I expect to see this plan coming soon in a "climate bill" produced by a Congress near you?

No comments: