Obama's Energy Policy Needs a Tuneup

To garner support, simplify plan and focus message: Friedman
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 8, 2009 9:43 AM CDT
Smoke drifts away from a Shell Oil refinery April 1, 2004 in Martinez, California.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Proponents of cap-and-trade, the climate policy Democrats are currently championing, argue that it “'hides the ball'—it doesn’t use the word 'tax'—even though it amounts to one," writes Thomas Friedman in the New York Times. There’s just one problem: “Opponents are not playing hide the ball anymore.” They’re calling cap-and-trade a tax and, worse, a Wall Street scheme. “So why not go for the real thing—a simple, transparent, economy-wide carbon tax?”

“Simplicity matters,” Friedman argues. Americans will be OK with a tax they understand. “They are much less likely to support a firm in London trading offsets from an electric bill in Boston to help fund an aluminum smelter in Beijing.” Make Americans understand that this is about the economy and national security, and they’ll get behind a carbon tax. “Let’s stop hiding the ball,” he says, “and tell it like it is.”