There's much debate about the efficacy of controlling pollutants with economic incentives, also known as cap-and-trade. Its advocates dress it up with a lot of moral indignation. Cap-and-trade would not achieve its goals—and it would put America on a ruinous course. Here's why:
The price tag would be huge. Cap-and-trade would raise prices for the energy we get from natural gas, coal, and oil. Putting a tax on carbon means that every American who flips a light switch, turns a car key, or buys anything made or shipped in this country will pay more. The Treasury Department estimates that the president's cap-and-trade approach would "generate federal receipts on the order of $100 [billion] to $200 billion annually"; the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reports that a 15 percent CO2 reduction would cost an average household $1,600 a year. Other experts say the price tag could be much higher. That would mean utility bills will rise everywhere, exploding in some parts of the country. Ratepayers in manufacturing states (with higher per capita energy use) and in states that depend more heavily on coal for electricity would see their utility bills soar, slowing economic growth and job creation.
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