Obama’s Cap on Carbon Pollution Is A Huge Tax Increase, Republican Lawmaker Says
February 25, 2009 - 9:21 AMIn his speech to Congress Tuesday night, President Barack Obama "committed himself to the largest annual tax increase in the history of America," warns a Republican congressman.
The implementation of a cap-and-trade system, something Obama favors, would raise $300- to $330-billion a year, said Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.).
“As bad as the stimulus spending bill was, this would be much worse because instead of being one-time spending, the cap-and-trade tax increase would keep occurring year after year,” Inhofe said.
In his speech to Congress, Obama mentioned cap-and-trade indirectly, asking Congress “to send me legislation that places a market-based cap on carbon pollution and drives the production of more renewable energy in America.”
During his presidential campaign, however, Obama was more specific. He called for an economy-wide cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.
A cap-and-trade program essentially creates a tax where none exists. Industries would be forced to pay for every ton of emissions they release – and those who pollute more could purchase “carbon credits” from businesses that pollute less.
Obama says such a program will give Americans incentives “to use their ingenuity to develop economically effective solutions to climate change.” But businesses warn the higher costs would be passed on to consumers.
Inhofe also views such schemes as a drag on the economy: “During times of economic turmoil it is folly to impose more pain on families by intentionally raising their energy costs through cap and trade,” he said. “The American people will be outraged when they realize that any so-called global warming ‘solutions’ will not have a detectable impact on temperatures but will have very painful and real impacts on their budgets.
“Climate proposals should not be concealed under the guise of a deficit reduction tool,” Inhofe concluded. He expressed the hope that Congress will defeat Obama’s “misguided climate efforts.”
Inhofe said he also opposes Obama’s call to close the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay.
“Obama will risk the release of terrorists in the continental United States by following through with this action,” said Inhofe, who recently visited Gitmo and has introduced a bill to prevent prisoner transfers to the United States.
And finally, Inhofe also objected to Obama’s insistence that he will halve the budget deficit by the end of his first term – at a time when Democrats are spending so much money on bailouts and stimulus plans.
“Americans must understand that even if Obama were to halve the deficit by the end of his term, it would still be more than double the average deficit from the last eight years,” Inhofe said.
He noted that the average deficit for the eight years of the Bush administration was $245 billion.
“Currently, Obama has a $1.2 trillion deficit, not including his $800 billion stimulus bill, more funding from the $700 billion Wall Street bailout, a $400 billion-plus spending bill Congressional Democrats are now pushing through, on top of this country’s mushrooming budget problems. This all threatens to push the deficit to at least $1.8 trillion. So even halved, the deficit will still remain nearly three times as much as the average deficit during the last eight years,” Inhofe said.
Inhofe concluded that the solutions Obama proposed Tuesday night “will only succeed in furthering the problem.”