Magazine April 20, 2009, Issue

Robbing Bismarck to Pay Boston

Former President Barack Obama speaks to the media, Washington, D.C., January 6, 2009. (Jason Reed/Reuters )
Cap-and-trade is an interstate wealth-transfer program

On June 6, 2008, the U.S. Senate rejected a motion to end debate on the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act, which would have established a “cap and trade” (CAT) system to regulate greenhouse-gas emissions and set ambitious targets for emissions cuts. That same day, ten Democratic senators who opposed the bill — nine of whom had nonetheless voted in favor of cloture “to help their party save face,” as Time reported — sent a letter to Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, and Barbara Boxer, chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, expressing their concerns.

In their letter, the

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