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On June 26, 2009, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill by a vote of 219-212. However, strong grassroots opposition to cap-and-trade contributed to Democratic Party losses in 2010 and, in a stunning turnaround, the Senate rejected a cap-and-trade bill last year. But keep a hand on your wallet. As Barack Obama said the day after Election Day 2010, “Cap-and-trade was just one way of skinning the cat; it was not the only way. It was a means, not an end. And I’m going to be looking for other means to address this problem.”
What was Obama’s “end”? In a moment of candor, presidential candidate Obama said in Jan. 2008 that his cap-and-trade plan would cause electricity prices to “necessarily skyrocket” and “bankrupt” coal. What are those other means? Although many in number, other ways of skinning the cat fall into three basic categories: market-rigging mandates, new regulatory burdens on power plants and other industrial facilities, and bureaucratic restrictions on access to natural resources.