Robert J. Samuelson of the Washington Post has a problem with the idea of a cap-and-trade system for reducing carbon emissions: since it increases the cost of energy, it’s a tax, not a “trade,” and so should be called a “cap-and-tax” system instead.
I have a problem with his characterization, but not because he’s wrong about how energy costs will go up with the implementation of a a cap-and-trade system, or the straightforward carbon tax he prefers. Suddenly pricing what was previously free will absolutely increase the price of energy, no matter whether the price is determined by supposed market mechanisms or by government fiat. No, what I have a problem with is that he appears to be implying that anything that increases the price of energy is a tax. Continue reading