OBAMA CLIMATE PLAN COULD COST $2 TRILLION
March 19, 2009
President Obama's climate plan could cost industry close to $2 trillion, nearly three times the White House's initial estimate of the so-called "cap-and-trade" legislation, according to Senate staffers who were briefed by the White House, says the Washington Times.
A top economic aide to Obama told a group of Senate staffers last month that the president's climate-change plan would surely raise more than the $646 billion over eight years the White House had estimated publicly.
The plan seeks to reduce pollution by setting a limit on carbon emissions and allowing businesses and groups to buy allowances, although exact details have not been released:
- Jason Furman, a top Obama staffer, estimated that the president's cap-and-trade program could cost up to three times as much as the administration's early estimate of $646 billion over eight years.
- A study of an earlier cap-and-trade bill co-sponsored by Obama when he was a senator estimated the cost could top $366 billion a year by 2015.
- A White House official did not confirm the large estimate, saying only that Obama aides previously had noted that the $646 billion estimate was "conservative."
Obama and congressional Democratic leaders have made passing a climate-change bill a top priority. But Republican leaders and moderate to conservative Democrats have cautioned against levying increased fees on businesses while the economy is still faltering.
"The last thing we need is a massive tax increase in a recession, but reportedly that's what the White House is offering: up to $1.9 trillion in tax hikes on every single American who drives a car, turns on a light switch or buys a product made in the United States," said Michael Steel, a spokesman for House Minority Leader John A. Boehner. "And since this energy tax won't affect manufacturers in Mexico, India and China, it will do nothing but drive American jobs overseas."
Source: Tom LoBianco, "Obama climate plan could cost $2 trillion," Washington Times, March 18, 2009.
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