Environmental Capital reports that Obama’s approach to climate change legislation is foundering, because it’s tied to an ambitious social agenda. Which is weird, because Obama’s cap-and-trade proposal isn’t tied to an ambitious social agenda.
> Many Democrats are upset that President Obama’s budget earmarks most of the $646 billion in cap-and-trade revenue for generic tax cuts and to help fund other programs, rather than for specific help to cushion the blow of increased climate regulation.
This is a bit tricky to parse, but it helps if you understand that the word “earmark” here is used to mean “the opposite of an earmark.” Congresscritters want the money from cap-and-trade for projects in their own states (green infrastructure, vote-buying, what-have-you), and Obama wants to return it to taxpayers.
So where is this “ambitious health and social welfare agenda” stuff coming from? For that, we are referred to Bush-era EPA official and liar G. Tracy Mehan, III. Mehan has penned a fairly boring article in which he runs down the usual pros and cons of various flavors of carbon taxation, and then concludes:
> Basically, the most economically efficient response is similar to the revenue-neutral carbon tax: return as much money as possible to taxpayers or ratepayers to offset the elevated energy costs. This could be done through tax cuts, rebates or other kinds of payments.
> The Obama administration has decided not to pursue this more cost-effective response to carbon reduction. It intends to sell carbon allowances and pocket the proceeds to carry out its ambitious social agenda.
Were this not a family blog, I’d use some spicy language to characterize this passage. Suffice to say, Mehan is making stuff up. Obama’s budget explicitly returns _a minimum of 81%_ of projected carbon revenue to taxpayers.
So an Environmental Capital piece framed as criticism of administration overreach is actually something much more prosaic: a round-up of interest group jockeying in advance of a climate bill. Would it have been so hard to report it that way?