Mike Palicz

Video: “Forget it.” Joe Manchin Rules Out a Carbon Tax

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Posted by Mike Palicz, Ed Tarnowski on Friday, February 5th, 2021, 12:49 PM PERMALINK

Senator Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.) went on record Thursday firmly stating his opposition to “any kind of” carbon tax legislation.

"Forget it," there's no viable path for a carbon tax in Congress, Manchin declared yesterday during a webinar event with the Bipartisan Policy Center when asked if there are 50 votes in the US Senate for “any kind of aggressive carbon pricing in the next couple of years.”

"They want to talk about this as a penalty? Forget it. As long as I'm here and there's 50 votes and it takes 51 to pass it,” Manchin continued. 

During the webinar, Jason Grumet, President of the Bipartisan Policy Center, recounted a prior conversation with Sen. Manchin from “7 or 8 years ago” in which he pushed Manchin to support carbon pricing. 

According to Grumet, Manchin pointed his finger in Grumet’s chest and told him “let me get this straight, you want me to go back to West Virginia and tell voters that I’m going to raise prices on a bunch of stuff, I’m going to knock a bunch of you out of jobs but trust me, the global economy is going to invent technologies? That’s not going to happen.” Sen. Manchin laughed along as Grumet retold the story.

Grumet then asked Sen. Manchin if his position has changed since their prior conversation.

“When you say the word tax, that’s a penalty. Don’t penalize me, don’t shoot me in the foot and make me tell you that you’ll like it,” Manchin replied. 

These public comments from Sen. Manchin are a strong rebuke of carbon tax legislation, coming at a time when the Biden administration is considering a proposal to push for a federal carbon tax. 

The full video of the webinar event can be found here

 

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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Pete Buttigieg Puts Gas Tax Hike “On the Table” During Confirmation Hearing

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Posted by Mike Palicz on Thursday, January 21st, 2021, 3:32 PM PERMALINK

Only two days in office and the Biden administration is already considering breaking President Biden’s campaign promise that “anyone making less than $400,000 a year won’t pay a penny more” in taxes.

During his Senate confirmation hearing for Transportation Secretary, Former Mayor Pete Buttigieg told members of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee that a gas tax increase is “on the table” as a means to pay for infrastructure spending.

When asked directly by Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) if he supported increasing the gas tax and by what amount, Buttigieg replied, "I think all options need to be on the table, as you know, the gas tax hasn't been increased since 1993 and it's never been pegged to inflation."

“There are several different models, in the short to medium term that could include revisiting the gas tax, adjusting it, and or connecting it to inflation," Buttigieg continued when pressed by Sen. Scott to provide more detail.

WATCH:

Support for a federal gas tax increase would be a clear violation of President Biden’s pledge to not raise any taxes on any American making less than $400,000 per year. According to the Congressional Budget Office, raising the tax rate on gasoline would “impose a proportionally larger burden, as a share of income, on middle- and lower-income households,” while also imposing “a disproportionate burden on rural households.” Biden must immediately disavow a gas tax hike if he wants to stay in compliance with his pledge to the American people. 

Buttigieg’s consideration of a gas tax increase also directly contradicts other statements issued by President Biden on the campaign trail. 

“I’ve tried this before, we’re not going to be able to raise the gas tax,” President Biden said at an infrastructure forum in Las Vegas in February. “I don’t think we’re going to be able to raise the gas tax from what it is now to what it would be had it been raised for inflation,” Biden continued.

During today’s hearing, Buttigieg also raised the possibility of creating a new “vehicle miles traveled” (VMT) tax that would charge drivers based on a per-mile tax but cautioned that the technology might not be ready to support implementing this policy while also raising privacy concerns.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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ATR Applauds EPA’s Final Rule Strengthening Scientific Transparency

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Posted by Mike Palicz on Tuesday, January 5th, 2021, 4:42 PM PERMALINK

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler announced the agency’s final rule to strengthen the transparency of its scientific information this morning during a policy forum hosted by the Competitive Enterprise Institute. 

The final rule calls on the EPA to provide greater consideration to studies determined to be pivotal science where the underlying data is available for public review and scrutiny. 

“Too often Congress shirks its responsibility and defers important decisions to regulatory agencies. These regulators then invoke science to justify their actions, often without letting the public study the underlying data,” wrote Administrator Wheeler in a Wall Street Journal op-ed accompanying the roll-out of the rule. “If the American people are to be regulated by interpretation of these scientific studies, they deserve to scrutinize the data as part of the scientific process and American self-government,” he continued. 

The rule was first proposed in April of 2018 and supported by a coalition of conservative organizations urging the Trump administration to provide full transparency of all scientific data and studies used to justify all pending or new regulations.

Americans for Tax Reform applauds Administrator Wheeler for finalizing the EPA’s rule strengthening scientific transparency. Too often, the underlying data used by regulators to justify the growth of government is withheld from the public. The finalization of this rule furthers the public’s ability to review critical data for themselves and reflects the strong public support for greater transparency in government.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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ATR Applauds Sen. Cruz’s Call to Submit Paris Climate Agreement to Senate as a Formal Treaty

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Posted by Mike Palicz on Tuesday, December 22nd, 2020, 3:16 PM PERMALINK

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) called on the Trump administration yesterday to submit the Paris Climate Agreement to the Senate to be treated as a formal treaty.

In a letter addressed to President Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Sen. Cruz rightly criticized the Obama-Biden administration for bypassing the Senate's constitutional role in both the Paris Climate Agreement and the Iran Nuclear Deal, writing:

"Multiple previous administrations [...] have undermined the Senate's constitutional role by negotiating significant international agreements and then refusing to submit them to the Senate for its advice and consent. Most recently-and most egregiously-President Obama refused to submit either the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the ‘Iran Deal'), or the United Nations Paris Climate Agreement (the ‘Paris Agreement') to the Senate as a treaty."

Sen. Cruz continued:

"The Obama administration attempted to justify its decision to sideline the Senate by structuring the agreements in a way that allowed it to publicly assert that the agreements were not legally binding and therefore not treaties subject to the Senate’s advice and consent—even though an Obama-era State Department legal memorandum determined the Paris Agreement “does contain legally binding obligations that would apply to the United States,”

Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform, praised Sen. Cruz for calling on the Trump Administration to submit the Paris Agreement as a Treaty.

"Nearly every other country that joined the Paris disaster classified the agreement as a treaty under their own nation's laws. The United Nations’ own website on climate change describes the Paris Agreement as 'a legally binding international treaty,' yet the Obama administration steamrolled the Constitution to avoid a failing vote in the Senate,” said Norquist.

The Trump administration deserves praise for withdrawing us from the job-killing Paris Agreement,” continued Norquist.  “President Trump can further his administration’s cause by submitting the deal as a treaty to the U.S. Senate where it will rightly go to die.” 

Americans for Tax Reform urges the Trump administration to submit the Paris Climate Agreement to the U.S. Senate for a vote as a formal treaty and applauds Sen. Cruz’s leadership on the issue.

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ATR Applauds Sen. Cramer's Call to End Wind Subsidies

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Posted by Mike Palicz on Thursday, December 17th, 2020, 1:26 PM PERMALINK

Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) continues leading the charge on Capitol Hill to relieve taxpayers from the costly burden of subsidizing the wind industry. 

When asked in a recent interview if the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind energy (set to expire at the end of the year under current law) would be further extended by Congress, Sen. Cramer replied, “not if I can help it.”

“The production tax credit, the wind tax credit as you call it, back in the 90s when they invented this atrocity, they assured us that they would never need an extension, that they just need a startup, just a little boost to get going, to be competitive in the marketplace,” said Sen. Cramer. 

“And now of course, here we are decades later and they still are whining about it. It’s been a gross distortion to the market, to price, to innovation, frankly, in clean coal technologies, natural gas. All of those things. No, I’m strongly opposed to it,” he continued. 

The statement from Sen. Cramer comes as Congress is reportedly considering a deal to extend the wind and solar tax credits as part of a broader Covid aid package.

In July, Sen. Cramer led a letter signed by 9 Republican Senators to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA), urging him to oppose another wind production tax credit (PTC) extension. 

Sen. Cramer’s opposition to extending the wind PTC is backed by a coalition of two dozen conservative and free-market organizations. As the conservative organizations highlighted, tax expenditures for the PTC were $5.1 billion in 2019 alone.

Prior to the previous one-year extension of the PTC, the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) estimated that tax expenditures for the PTC would be $19.3 billion between 2019 and 2023. It was later estimated that the one-year extension of the PTC already granted by Congress last year will reduce tax revenue by an additional $2.1 billion between 2020 and 2029. This is a significant burden to place upon taxpayers to subsidize an industry capable of standing on its own.

Americans for Tax Reform applauds Sen. Cramer for his leadership to end this taxpayer-funded competitive advantage for wind generators that distorts energy markets and harms consumers.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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Green New Deal Provision Snuck into “Must Pass” Spending Bill

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Posted by Mike Palicz on Tuesday, December 15th, 2020, 2:28 PM PERMALINK

Congressional Democrats are attempting to sneak a provision pulled directly from the Green New Deal into a sprawling energy package expected to be attached to the Omnibus spending deal.

According to a draft version of the energy package, Section 11003 calls for meeting 100 percent of the U.S.’s power demand through “clean, renewable, or zero-emission energy sources,” seemingly leaving no room for traditional and affordable forms of energy. 

Here it is straight from the bill’s text:

It is the sense of Congress that in order to reduce emissions and meet 100 percent of the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable, or zero-emission energy sources while maintaining United States leadership in science and technology, the secretary of Energy must prioritize funding for critical fundamental research infrastructure and for basic research and development activities carried out through the Office of Science.

Now compare that to the text of Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal resolution which calls for “meeting 100 percent of the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources...

If the text of the energy deal and that of the Green New Deal appear identical, it's because they are. The only difference is that legislative drafters changed “and” to “or” for inclusion in the energy package.

While terms such as “clean energy” are deliberately left undefined and vague by legislative drafters, an overview of the Green New Deal released by the bill’s sponsors made clear that the resolution’s intent is the elimination of fossil fuels and nuclear power.

Radical policies calling for an end to the use of traditional forms of energy would have a disastrous impact on the American energy industry and dramatically raise energy costs for American consumers. This provision is terrible energy policy and has nothing to do with aiding the response to the Coronavirus pandemic or funding the government.

Americans for Tax Reform urges lawmakers to strike this section entirely from any spending deal.

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Biden’s Treasury Pick Supports $2 Trillion Carbon Tax, Says Capitalism is “Beginning to Run Amok”

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Posted by Mike Palicz on Monday, November 23rd, 2020, 5:38 PM PERMALINK

The Wall Street Journal reported today that Joe Biden plans to nominate former Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen to become the next Treasury Secretary.

Yellen is a founding member of the Climate Leadership Council (CLC), an “international policy institute” lobbying Congress to pass a carbon tax “starting at $40 a ton (2017$) and increasing every year at 5% above inflation.” Yellen is also the author of a recent study commissioned by CLC,  Exceeding Paristhat recommends a $43/ton carbon tax.

According to an internal report conducted by Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Presidential Campaign, a near-identical model of CLC's carbon tax plan “would generate $219 billion a year, on average, between 2020 and 2030.” The same internal report also concluded a $42/ton carbon tax “increases gasoline prices by roughly 40 cents per gallon” and found “average household energy costs would increase by roughly $480 per year.”

Yellen: “Capitalism is beginning to run amok”

“There really is a new kind of recognition that you’ve got a society where capitalism is beginning to run amok and needs to be readjusted in order to make sure that what we’re doing is sustainable and the benefits of growth are widely shared in ways they haven’t been,” Yellen told Reuters in an October interview promoting CLC’s carbon tax plan.

Support for Carbon Adjustment Fee and Carbon Customs Unions

In the same Reuters report, Yellen expanded upon Biden’s support for a “carbon adjustment fee” on imports from countries that fail to cut emissions under the 2015 Paris climate agreement. “Our thinking is that countries with carbon pricing would form essentially clubs, or carbon customs unions, within which there would be frictionless trade,” Yellen said.

Further Support for Carbon Taxes

In an October 19 interview on Bloomberg television, Biden's Treasury pick Janet Yellen said:

"What I would recommend for the United States -- that hopefully we will in the years ahead, go in this direction -- is simply to put in place a carbon tax."

WATCH:

Biden's Own Support for a Carbon Tax

Biden endorsed a carbon tax during on CNN town hall on September 24, 2019:

CNN's Anderson Cooper asked Biden: "Would you support a carbon tax?"

Biden replied: "Yeah, no, I would."

Photo Credit: IMF

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Biden Would Resurrect Monster-Sized Version of Cash for Clunkers Disaster

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Posted by Mike Palicz on Friday, October 30th, 2020, 4:45 PM PERMALINK

Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan calls for spending an eye-popping $454 billion of taxpayer funds to take 63 million gas-powered cars off the road over ten years.

The campaign’s plan states a Biden administration would back legislation authored by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and provide “consumers rebates to swap old, less-efficient vehicles for these newer American vehicles built from materials and parts sourced in the United States.”

According to a summary of the legislation, consumer rebates would account for $392 billion of the plan’s total spending. The rebates would start at $3,000 per individual and could only be used for a “plug-in electric, plug-in hybrid, or hydrogen fuel cell car.” Additionally, any gas-powered car traded in for a rebate “must be at least 8 years old and in driving condition” to qualify and each consumer would only be eligible to receive one voucher.

However, the impact of a $3,000 voucher would only have a limited impact on consumer behavior given the average cost of a new electric vehicle is currently $55,600. Under current law, consumers are eligible to receive a $7,500 federal tax credit for the purchase of EVs in addition to various state-level tax credits. Despite this, EVs are only projected to account for 3.75% of new vehicle sales and only 2% of the total vehicle fleet in 2020. 

According to E&E News, the Biden-Schumer plan “contains echoes of "Cash for Clunkers," a 2009 stimulus program unveiled by the Obama administration that many experts across the political spectrum view as a failure.”

The failure of Cash for Clunkers, which offered a vehicle rebate between $3,500-$4,500, is indeed widely viewed as a policy failure. A 2013 analysis conducted by the liberal Brookings Institute concluded that the “cost per ton of carbon dioxide reduced from the program suggests that the program was not a cost-effective way to reduce emissions.”

Brookings also found that the program only encouraged Americans to buy new vehicles that they would have bought anyway a few months later. This finding was backed up by an additional study from the National Bureau of Economic Research, which found “nearly 60 percent of the subsidies went to households who would have purchased during the two-month program anyway; the rest accelerated sales by no more than eight months. Moreover, the program’s fuel efficiency restrictions shifted purchases toward vehicles that cost on average $5,000 less. On net, Cash for Clunkers significantly reduced total new vehicle spending over the ten-month period.”

The Biden-Schumer plan is merely a massive expansion of the $3 billion failed Cash for Clunkers program. Now Biden is proposing a $400 billion version of the same disaster, offering a $3,000 taxpayer-funded bribe for consumers to trade in their current car that will actually decrease new vehicle spending. 

In reality, the Biden campaign is adopting this plan to virtue signal to its wealthy-liberal donors in deep-blue states. Over 58% of the U.S.’s total EV sales occur in California and roughly 80% of current subsidies for EVs are paid to individuals with incomes of $100,000 or more per year. 

Voters should learn from the past mistakes of Cash for Clunkers and reject Biden’s infrastructure plan.

Photo Credit: Tony Fischer

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PA Voter: "I have cheap gas bills because of fracking."

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Posted by Mike Palicz on Monday, October 26th, 2020, 11:00 AM PERMALINK

Another reason fracking is important to Pennsylvanians: Fracking lowers their utility bills. Biden's policy goal to "get rid of fossil fuels" will impose higher utility costs on households.

Note this from a voter named John in a Frank Luntz focus group:

"And again just on the fracking issue since I'm in Western Pennsylvania, fracking is a big thing. There's a lot of money involved in fracking. I have cheap gas bills because of fracking. And I remember what it used to be in the 70s and 80s when I was growing up with $300 and $400 gas bills in the winter. Now I have a $100 gas bill in the winter."

Watch the clip below:


Murkowski Puts Massive Carbon Tax “On The Table” During Event with Sheldon Whitehouse

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Posted by Mike Palicz on Thursday, October 22nd, 2020, 3:45 PM PERMALINK

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said a carbon tax "is worth putting on the table" during a panel discussion yesterday with Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) sponsored by the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research.

"I know that a price on carbon is one that makes Republicans more than a little bit nervous," continued Murkowski. "But I do think that can be and that should be one of the options that is on the table for discussion, in terms of how you can move policies forward," she said.

Sen. Murkowski is correct to note that carbon taxes, which raise the cost of gasoline and household energy bills, face significant political opposition as voters have a well-established track of rejecting carbon taxes on the ballot.

Last Congress, 229 House Republicans voted in favor of an anti-carbon tax resolution. In 2019, a coalition of 90 conservative and free-market organizations penned a letter to Congress opposing any form of a carbon tax. Sen. Murkowski’s support for a carbon tax would make her the only Republican in the Senate on record backing such a tax.

Even the panel moderator noted he was “struck” that Sen. Murkowski “in a state where oil and gas production is so critical, was willing to look closely at carbon pricing.”

Sen. Murkowski’s call for a carbon tax is indeed shocking given that roughly 85% of Alaska’s state budget is funded from oil revenues.

When pressed by the event’s moderator to explain how her plan would deal with low-income Americans facing higher energy costs, Murkowski suggested using the generated revenue for wealth redistribution. “As you know there have been proposals if there is a price, how you can rebate that to individuals, how you can help with transition assistance. These are the types of policies, and discussions, that must be had,” said Murkowski.

Translation: Murkowski suggests using the revenue generated from a carbon tax to send apology checks to poor Americans for raising their energy costs. 

Sen. Murkowski’s comments seem to reference carbon tax and rebate legislation pushed by progressive advocacy groups like Climate Leadership Council and Citizens’ Climate Lobby. According to a recent study from the Tax Foundation, a commonly proposed carbon tax and rebate plan (starting at $50 per metric ton) would raise taxes by $1.87 trillion over ten years, kill 421,000 jobs and reduce GDP by 0.4 percent.

Americans for Tax Reform urges Sen. Murkowski to take carbon taxes completely off the table and instead focus on policies that reduce energy costs for American consumers rather than add to their burden.

Photo Credit: Senator Lisa Murkowski - Energy and Natural Resources Committee

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