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Cap-and-Trade = Massive Tax on Energy

A news release today from the Competitive Enterprise Institute says:

“Internal Treasury Department documents released this week confirm the Obama administration’s expectations for a nationwide global warming “cap and trade” plan.  The documents were obtained by CEI Senior Fellow Christopher Horner through a Freedom of Information Act request.

“Internally, Treasury indicates it expects that the sort of plan that the president is calling for – a plan that either immediately auctions off carbon dioxide emission permits or sells nearly all after a few years of giving industry most of its permits for free – would bring from $100-200 billion per year in revenue for the government.

“That is money taken either directly from household and business energy consumers, according to the Congressional Budget Office when it was headed by Obama's budget director, Peter Orszag. (See Orszag statement). Those billions translate into between one and two thousand dollars per year for the average household.”

The Washington Post buried their story about the “cap-and-trade memos” on page A9 today, perhaps expecting them to “fire up the skeptics,” They also reported comments by a spokesman from the Environmental Defense Council and a Treasury Department official who said, “the furor was much ado about a little.” Not so quick, we think. As the final paragraph of the CEI press release reads:

”CBO, under Obama's now-budget director, makes clear that the outcome for the American taxpayer remains the same,” said Horner. ”It doesn't matter who gets the money in the first few years or ever- -- whether 85 percent are at first given away to special interests, or 100 percent immediately goes to the government – it still comes out (of) the taxpayer’s pocket.”

Horner has some interesting comments about the "Big Green Fury & Bile" in a post at CEI’s OpenMarket blog, including:

“The greens have responded with, so far as my experience has it, unprecedented fury and bile to my FOIA request exposing the Department of the Treasury’s internal discussion of how the administration, like the rest of us, expect cap-and-trade to chase away manufacturing jobs particularly in key industries like steel, chemical and cement, and lard the full equivalent of the entirety of environmental regulation on what’s left of the economy (while shaving a full 1% off of GDP).

“What has (them) most riled them, indicating that it is what most frightens them, is the internal assessment that the administration expects to raise between $100-200 billion per year from the taxpayer in revenues from selling CO2 ration coupons. Oddly, that’s up to three times how much the administration asserted to the public in February it expected to raise from 100% auctioning, which they said they still expect it to raise,  as of three weeks ago (p. 33), well after the March memo citing the $100-200 billion was written. So much for having abandoned their position of auctioning, which it turns out is still the administration position.”

By the way, if you’re wondering what $200 billion is on a per capita basis, the Post article cites Declan McCullough saying, "At the upper end of the administration's estimate, the cost per American household would be an extra $1,761 a year." Take a few minutes to read the documents obtained from the Department of Treasury (requires Adobe) under CEI’s FOIA request.

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