The United States is now Balkanized into five distinct voting blocs, says Joel Kotkin. Other political analysts see the nation bifurcating along “makers” and “takers” lines, while still others say 50.6% of the popular vote is hardly a mandate. In any event, when American voters reelected President Obama, they also returned his EPA, Interior, Energy and Justice Departments, and their wide-ranging agenda for “fundamentally transforming” our nation.
This won’t mean just Obamacare, higher taxes on businesses and families, rampant spending, and tens of thousands of pages of new regulations. It will also bring more disputes over energy and environmental policies, the vanguard of Mr. Obama’s determined campaign to eliminate hydrocarbons that power our economy and embrace more “green” energy. The conflict will be fought primarily on six battlegrounds.
Carbon taxes. Hurricane Sandy presented another pretext for regulating and taxing hydrocarbons. No respectable climatologist or meteorologist believes atmospheric carbon dioxide conjured up the destructive storm, but climate alarmism has always been about political science, not real science.
Rep. Jim McDermott’s Managed Carbon Price Act imputes a cost for CO2 emissions and compels energy producers and users to buy carbon permits. The President is considering a direct carbon tax that he says will raise billions of dollars annually and reduce deficits. Both ought to be DOA in the House, if only because taxing energy use will impose tens of billions of dollars in new expenses on businesses that are already struggling to pay for the Unaffordable Care Act and countless other new government programs.
Another round of probably pointless UN-sponsored discussions on climate treaties, emission reductions and carbon taxes will kick off later this month in Doha, Qatar. The real threat is Environmental Protection Agency regulations limiting CO2 from power plants and other sources by executive fiat, and regardless of popular or congressional opposition.
With China, India and other developing countries massively increasing their greenhouse gas emissions, EPA’s actions would do nothing to reduce atmospheric CO2 levels. In fact, by 2013, China will emit twice as much carbon dioxide as the United States. The EPA regs would, however, put government in charge of our entire economy, sharply increase energy prices for every business and household, kill millions of jobs, ensure that net tax revenues never materialize, and hurt poor families most.
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