Will the Carbon Tax Make a Comeback?


‘I have listened to you, I have learned from you, and you’ve made me a better president.” So said President Barack Obama after winning re-election. But on the subject of energy it isn’t clear what he has learned. If news reports are accurate, the president’s second-term agenda may include pushing for a carbon tax ostensibly to reduce the deficit and address climate change.

Before getting too carried away with the wonders of a carbon tax, Mr. Obama might want to talk to former President Bill Clinton, who attempted a similar gambit almost 20 years ago.

The centerpiece of Mr. Clinton’s first budget was a tax on energy use, as measured in British thermal units, or BTUs. At that time, McGraw-Hill‘s MHP -0.33% Data Resources Incorporated estimated that the so-called BTU tax would raise more than $30 billion in federal revenue annually ($50 billion in today’s dollars). That translated into $500 in additional taxes per family, or $800 today. No segment of the economy would have been exempt from the tax, which the Competitive Enterprise Institute estimated would cost 700,000 American jobs over three years.

The proposal provoked a brutal backlash, to the surprise of no one but the Clinton White House, environmental advocates, and liberal members of Congress such as Henry Waxman (D., Calif.). The vocal anti-BTU coalition included small businesses, the agriculture sector, the building trades, the transportation industry, manufacturers and even social-service organizations that relied on gasoline and heating oil to care for the poor and homeless.

A few months after Mr. Clinton proposed the tax, the administration and Democrats in Congress abandoned the idea. As the great English writer Samuel Johnson observed, there is nothing like a hanging to concentrate the mind. “BTU” became a verb, and from then on no politician wanted to be “BTU-ed.” A year later, in November 1994, voters gave control of the House to Republicans for the first time in decades.

Read more at The Wall Street Journal. By William O’Keefe.

Photo credit: peace chicken (Creative Commons)



  2. The only way Obama could be made a better president would be for him to resign; better yet for congress to impeach him.

  3. According to the Energy Information Administration, the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere in the U.S.A. has fallen to it’s lowest level in twenty years. (See USA Today 8-17-12). Meanwhile, atmospheric temperatures have been reaching record highs in the U.S.

    This supports the claim that global warming is caused by solar cycles instead of man made carbon dioxide. (See “Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1500 Years” by Fred Singer, and Dennis Avery.)

    Meanwhile, President Obama, with his vendetta against fossil fuels, refuses to approve the Keystone pipeline, thereby preventing the creation of an estimated 179,000 jobs by 2035. (See “The Great destroyer” by David Limbaugh.)
    This decision also makes the U.S more dependent on unstable Middle East countries for oil.

    Also, Obama directed the EPA to enforce cap and trade restrictions on power plants and factories, causing many power plants to shut down. Factories will have to buy “emission credits” from the government to offset their carbon dioxide emissions. Factories that can not afford to buy these emission credits will either have to shut down or move to another country.

    These emission credits will be traded on the Chicago Climate Exchange, which Obama helped to establish when he was a board member of the Joyce Foundation from 1994 to 2001.
    Both Obama and Al Gore stand to profit handsomely from these emission credit exchanges. (See “Climategate” by Sussman.)

    The following is a quote from “Paula DiPerna, president of the Joyce Foundation “..some of America’s biggest money-makers are lining up to get in on this new Chicago-based cash cow by skimming a cut right off the top.”

    According to the Congressional budget office, by 2015, the federal government will be hauling in at least $104 billion a year from cap and trade.

    Meanwhile, gasoline prices and unemployment rates continue to rise as the middle class continues to disappear.

    The sad part is that the U.S. has enough oil and gas deposits to be totally energy independent, were it not for Obama’s anti-energy and anti-business policies.

    President Obama’s motto of “Hope and Change” has turned into no hope and despair.

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