Politics & Policy

‘Right-Wing Think Tank’ Responds to Blumenthal

Attorney General Dick Blumenthal dismisses Linda McMahon’s warnings against cap-and-trade as “based on phony numbers from a right-wing think tank designed to scare voters and defend special interests who I have fought.” He also insists — contrary to McMahon’s claim that he favors a national energy tax — “[McMahon’s] ad on Cap and Trade is false in so far as it claims that I’ve supported an energy tax of any kind.”

But that “right-wing think tank” — the Heritage Foundation — begs to differ.

“You can call it what you want but it is a national energy tax,” Nick Loris, a research associate at Heritage, tells Battle ‘10. “Eighty-five percent of our energy comes from fossil fuels and fossil fuels emit carbon dioxide. When you cap and put a price on carbon dioxide, you’re essentially taxing the use of fossil fuels.”

If Heritage is too old-fashioned for you, Loris suggests the Brookings Institute’s estimate of a cap-and-trade system’s economic effects. Loris sums up the institute’s estimate:

The Brookings analysis of the Waxman-Markey bill finds loss in personal consumption of $1-2 trillion in present value. The more stringent carbon targets in subsequent years produce even higher costs. Brookings projects that an additional 8 percent cut in carbon dioxide emissions increases costs 45 percent. GDP in the United States would be lower by 2.5 percent in 2050, and unemployment would be 0.5 percent higher (1.7 million fewer jobs) in the first decade below the baseline or without cap and trade. The total allowance revenue (tax revenue) generated by 2050 would be $9 trillion.

“The Brookings Institute is our ideological counterpart,” says Loris, referring to the institute’s leftward tilt. “We’re not the only ones who came up with these ideas.”

So does Blumenthal dismiss Brookings too?

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