William O'Keefe: Will the Carbon Tax Make a Comeback?
The centerpiece of Mr. Clinton's first budget was a tax on energy use, as measured in British thermal units, or BTUs. At that time, McGraw-Hill's MHP -0.87% Data Resources Incorporated estimated that the so-called BTU tax would raise more than $30 billion in federal revenue annually ($50 billion in today's dollars). That translated into $500 in additional taxes per family, or $800 today. No segment of the economy would have been exempt from the tax, which the Competitive Enterprise Institute estimated would cost 700,000 American jobs over three years.