Thursday, October 15, 2009

CBO Sending Out Mixed Signals On Cap & Trade Legislation

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) is all over the map on proposed climate change legislation. Is this some sort of politically correct fence sitting to please Democrats and Republicans? CBO is nonpartisan, but these conflicting reports appear to be some sort of bipartisan research findings.

Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas W. Elmendorf, left, testified before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee yesterday and stated that the cap-and-trade provisions of the House bill -- in which emitters of greenhouse gases would be able to buy and sell pollution credits -- would cut the nation's gross domestic product by 0.25 to 0.75 percent in 2020 compared with "what it would otherwise have been," and by 1 to 3.5 percent in 2050.

Yet, in June, the CBO reported that: "the net annual countrywide cost of the cap-and-trade program in 2020 would be $22 billion - or about $175 per household." There is no way that could have the sort of effect Mr. Elmendorf described yesterday. So which is it? Ultimately, we believe the effects of a cap and trade program would create jobs and stimulate the economy. We also believe cap and trade would lead to unknown benefits the same way that the blogosphere developed with the internet.

CBO and the Congressional Research Service basically conclude that there are many uncertainties about the impacts of a national cap and trade program. (Wash Post, 10/14/09)

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