Cap & Trade & Tax: The poor can't eat carbon

When is a tax not a tax? When Democrats say so, of course.

Paying more for energy as a result of federal policies is not considered a "tax" because after all, it's not going to be called that. It will be named "Cap and Trade" - but the effect will be exactly the same.

And not only will the poor suffer more from this new tax but, since it is a very regressive idea, the rich will pay much less as a percentage of income.

The Wall Street Journal:

Hit hardest would be the "95% of working families" Mr. Obama keeps mentioning, usually omitting that his no-new-taxes pledge comes with the caveat "unless you use energy." Putting a price on carbon is regressive by definition because poor and middle-income households spend more of their paychecks on things like gas to drive to work, groceries or home heating.

The Congressional Budget Office -- Mr. Orszag's former roost -- estimates that the price hikes from a 15% cut in emissions would cost the average household in the bottom-income quintile about 3.3% of its after-tax income every year. That's about $680, not including the costs of reduced employment and output. The three middle quintiles would see their paychecks cut between $880 and $1,500, or 2.9% to 2.7% of income. The rich would pay 1.7%. Cap and trade is the ideal policy for every Beltway analyst who thinks the tax code is too progressive (all five of them).

But the greatest inequities are geographic and would be imposed on the parts of the U.S. that rely most on manufacturing or fossil fuels -- particularly coal, which generates most power in the Midwest, Southern and Plains states. It's no coincidence that the liberals most invested in cap and trade -- Barbara Boxer, Henry Waxman, Ed Markey -- come from California or the Northeast.

Coal provides more than half of U.S. electricity, and 25 states get more than 50% of their electricity from conventional coal-fired generation. In Ohio, it totals 86%, according to the Energy Information Administration. Ratepayers in Indiana (94%), Missouri (85%), New Mexico (80%), Pennsylvania (56%), West Virginia (98%) and Wyoming (95%) are going to get soaked.

Being dishonest about the costs to ordinary consumers of energy is one thing. We expect that from climate fanatics who wish to push their "solutions" by not telling the truth because they know if they  did, they wouldn't pass in a million years. But the real problem is the chilling effect on the production of energy this will have - another goal of the fanatics who see no problem with reducing economic activity in the midst of a deep recession. They are bound and determined to radically alter western industrialized civilization.

And if they have to lie through their teeth to do it, they will.

Hat Tip: Ed Lasky