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The cost of cap-and-trade
Congressional Budget Office numbers give a boost to climate-change legislation, but not everyone’s convinced
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here are many sets of numbers on the economic impact of proposed cap-and-trade climate legislation, said Jeff Tollefson in Nature, but the “score that really counts” is from the Congressional Budget Office. And the CBO just came out with a price tag for the Waxman-Markey bill advancing in the House: the “remarkably low” cost of $22 billion a year, or $175 per average household—and low-income households will actually save $40 a year.

That's not how the Heritage Foundation sees it, said Nancy Thorner in American Thinker. According to its numbers, the Waxman-Markey “tax” will cost the average household $1,241 a year and destroy 1.15 million U.S. jobs. Even worse, the cap-and-trade “Ponzi scam” is unnecessary. Global warming is not the crisis its proponents claim, using “doctored data,” misrepresented research, and flawed simulations.

I’d have thought the CBO numbers would put that sort of “pseudoscientific scaremongering” to rest, said Felix Salmon in Reuters. If anything, the CBO overlooks some cost savings from, among other things, “massively reducing” our dependence on foreign oil. Waxman-Markey is far from the ideal cap-and-trade bill, but it’s “vastly better than what we’ve got right now, which is nothing.”

“I take climate change seriously,” said Megan McArdle in The Atlantic, but I don’t think Waxman-Markey will do much to affect it. The per-household cost is small—but only “real financial pain” will get Americans to change behavior. The only way Waxman-Markey will work is if it “serendipitously leads to the development of some clean technology that makes carbon obsolete.” I won’t hold my breath.

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