In Washington, policy wonks, Hill staff, lobbyists, and consultants love to follow bright, shiny objects. It’s not just a past time in the nation’s capital – it’s a way of life. And these days, the topic of a carbon tax is the bright, shiny object that’s mesmerizing many energy and environment pundits across the political spectrum.
Washington’s obsession with the carbon tax took off when it became known in July that the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) had hosted the fifth meeting in a series of “secret” discussions with environmentalists and moderate Republicans. AEI and others claimed that the meetings were simply “brainstorming” discussions, but conservatives and libertarians didn’t buy that explanation — including The Heartland Institute. After all, this wasn’t just one meeting – it was clearly a process established by a left-right coalition to backdoor a climate agenda. And that outraged conservatives who had been fighting the Obama Administration’s climate change program.
Despite hefty criticism from conservative groups, the left-right coalition talks on the carbon tax have developed into a public dialogue with AEI hosting a forum on November 13. In a recent interview with Greenwire, AEI economist Aparna Mathur tried to downplay the event as only being “an academic meeting.” And she’s right – whether she was being sincere or not.
Of course, my conservative colleagues are likely to disagree with my “optimistic” assessment, but the prospects of this left-right coalition producing a politically-viable outcome are zero. Regardless of next week’s election results, this bright, shiny object doesn’t have anything real behind it at all.
And why is that?
Read more at Somewhat Reasonable. By Dave Banks.
Photo credit: peace chicken (Creative Commons)