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Home / Articles / News / Letters /  Jason, It's Not a Tax

Jason, It's Not a Tax

By City Weekly Readers
Posted // April 29,2009 -

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, sent out a letter recently warning us of an impending “cap-and-trade tax” to be implemented by the Obama administration.

He repeated the word “tax” 12 times in this letter referring to “cap and trade” policies, an “energy-consumption tax,” “new taxes” and a “massive new tax increase.”

This all sounds scary, especially in our conservative district. However, I’d like to point out that there is no such thing as a “cap-and-trade tax” or “energy consumption tax.” In fact, the word tax is nowhere to be found in any of the president’s statements or proposals regarding his energy policies.

What Chaffetz is referring to—and deceptively calling a “tax”—is a theoretical increase in energy costs if the president’s proposal for cap and trade (aka emissions trading) is implemented in an effort to curb carbon emissions believed to contribute to climate change. Chaffetz cites a number of statistics and cost projections (prepared by staffers of Republicans on the House Ways & Means Committee—go figure) as evidence that “taxes” (energy costs) would skyrocket under cap and trade.

Now, I’m not defending cap and trade, but the Republicans in the House have already been called to task for exaggerating these numbers. And, as if that weren’t bad enough.

For Chaffetz to blatantly lie to his own constituents by calling a theoretical rise in energy costs a “tax” is just plain insulting.

Joseph L. Puente

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Posted // April 29,2009 at 19:12

Chaffetz comments aside, taken from the EPA website:

"Q: How is a cap and trade program different from a tax-based program?

A: Cap and trade programs and tax-based programs are similar in that they are market-based and create a price for emissions. It is this price that creates a financial incentive to reduce emissions. The fundamental difference between the two programs is the way in which they establish a price and reduce emissions. A cap and trade program determines a certain known limit on emissions, causing the price of allowances to be established by supply and demand. A carbon tax imposes a direct fee but does not set a limit on emissions. As a result, the emission reductions resulting from tax is unknown." [emphasis added]

Even the EPA acknowledges the fact that cap and trade and taxes are similar, simply the end result is different. Want to re-think that argument that it's not a tax? The simple question to ask yourself is this: Is the government increasing the rate of money its collecting? If the answer is yet then it's a tax.