By Chris Horner, American Spectator
President Obama’s budget outline released today includes substantial assumed revenues from a new “global warming” tax, the largest revenue-raising measure in U.S. history – at $300 billion per year from mandating then selling “cap-n-trade” carbon dioxide ration coupons, vastly bigger than the tax to fight WWII even in present dollars ($107 billion per year). It’s spectacularly larger than the last energy tax hike tried by the same crowd, the proposed (and failed) 1993 BTU tax that Al Gore now says cost the Democrats control of Congress ($47 billion as proposed). So much for Obama studying the mistakes of the Clinton-Gore administration’s first year.
He plans on raising from the energy tax imposed in order to avert the end of the world to pay for his social engineering agenda.
This adds a special twist to the old conundrum of “sin taxes” – the demonized vice immediately becomes a virtuous, or at least indispensible, contributor to the public purse. Now, the (faltering) theory of catastrophic Man-made global warming is a necessary catastrophe to claim he’s averting: the Obama administration needs the threat in order to offset, at the bookkeeping level, much of his agenda.
But how, precisely, does he continue the revenue stream when he succeeds at his express goal of this scheme, as told during the campaign to the San Francisco Chronicle, to “bankrupt” coal and those who try to burn it (to produce more than half of our electricity) by ensuring that electricity prices “skyrocket” for those who dare? That’s a problem, but one the tax-raisers will surely find a way around, in the form of raising other taxes…a lot.
Another twist is found in various media reports today of the Obama administration’s line, that some portion (up to 20%) of the annual $300 billion raised by the global warming tax “would go to tax credits for lower- and middle-income working families.”
Don’t forget what this largess represents. It is not aid to improve their lot from current conditions but instead, as I have previously written, in the words of legislation recently floated to implement such a scheme, “compensation, through the issuance of a monthly rebate, for the loss in purchasing power resulting from” imposing the global warming tax. It is an attempt to make some of those hardest hit by this price-hiking and job-killing measure closer to whole before imposition of the tax.
The transfer is a new entitlement and the global warming tax, the largest hike in U.S. history, is in perpetuity, requiring that government always proclaim that they are protecting you from climate catastrophe, as without that premise the revenue source for their social engineering is no more.
If opponents can’t win this giant misstep, I am at a loss at to what they can win in the fight to retain our system, more successful than any of those we seek to emulate with the new rush to a social democratic state.