Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

What Obama Electricity Tax?

By Juliet Eilperin
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The few campaign watchers who aren't transfixed by the images of Britney Spears and Paris Hilton in Sen. John McCain's (R-Ariz.) new attack ad aimed at Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), might be asking themselves right now, "What's this about an Obama electricity tax?"

Short answer: there isn't one.

Long answer: both McCain and Obama would make electricity derived from fossil fuels more expensive, since they're both committed to setting mandatory limits on greenhouse gas emissions through a cap and trade system. In fact, they would raise energy costs by the same amount over the next 12 years, since they have identical short-term emissions goals.

McCain's campaign based their "electricity tax" charge -- which senior adviser Steve Schmidt repeated today during a conference call with reporters -- on an interview Obama gave the San Antonio Express-News in mid-February. During that Q and A, which focused largely on education, the reporter asked Obama whether he would consider taxing energy to help fund education:

Q. Have you considered other funding sources, say taxing emerging energy forms, for example, say a penny per kilowatt hour on wind energy?

A: Well, that's clean energy, and we want to drive down the cost of that, not raise it. We need to give them subsidies so they can start developing that. What we ought to tax is dirty energy, like coal and, to a lesser extent, natural gas.



According to Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor, the presumptive Democratic nominee was "talking about cap and trade, which McCain supports." Obama has consistently rejected the idea of a carbon tax, an approach backed by many economists, but has spoken at length about how capping carbon will lead to higher energy costs in the short term until the market produces cleaner technology.

Joseph E. Aldy, a fellow at Resources for the Future, wrote in an e-mail that McCain's allegations don't hold up in light of the fact that both candidates "call for the same near-term target of returning U.S. greenhouse gas emissions to their 1990 level by 2020. I would expect very similar impacts on energy prices with the same near-term goal."

While Obama has a more ambitious long-term reduction goal -- he calls for reducing emissions 80 percent by 2050, compared to McCain's 60 percent cut by mid-century -- Aldy said those sort of distinctions are unlikely to translate into different energy costs, even in the long term.

"Both are ambitious goals that will signal the need for more innovation and deployment of low-carbon technologies," Aldy wrote. "I find the two proposals to be nearly indistinguishable in terms of their ambition and economic impacts in light of the broad spectrum of positions on climate policy in Washington."

Staff researcher Julie Tate contributed to this report.

By Web Politics Editor  |  July 30, 2008; 6:32 PM ET
Categories:  B_Blog , Barack Obama , John McCain , On the Issues  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Obama: They're Trying to 'Make You Scared of Me'
Next: Rapper Ludacris Adds to Obama's Tough Day

Comments

The answer given by Obama in reply to the reporter's question on further taxing to fund education was, like so many other answers, not well thought out. The answer should be that we have enough taxes already, not well spent for what they were originally intended for, and do not return enough for the "investments." Better management would get us further than any increased "investment".
The unintended consequences of the answer would indeed result in an increased taxes, cost, investment, or whatever you may us for the increase euphemism you use on natural gas and coal which heats the homes of a large portion of the United States population. The problem with this answer and many other political answers is that the consequences of the answer are not fully considered in too many cases. That is why the current economic situation has come to where it is now.
Most thinking people are resigned to fact that the political parties are going to take statements made by both candidates and make as much political hay as they can between now and election day. Any candidate who says he will increase taxes before he says he will reallot what we already are paying will probably not get the vote of the thinking electorate.

Government is too big and overbearing at fifty one percent of the jobs available, or maybe it is larger than that by now,
check it for yourself if you actually care. I will not cast my vote for any candidate that does not give answers that are thought out or, if they are wrong, make a correction in due time.

Don't accept partisan answers. Think for yourself when it comes time to vote and we will get the government we want, i.e. serving the public, not themselves. The altenate is to get the government we deserve by our inaction.

Posted by: Rio Prieto | August 4, 2008 7:52 PM | Report abuse

This article does not point out the danger to the multilateral trading system that both McCain and Obama's plans pose. While it is rare for economists to agree, there does appear to be consensus on one thing: in a globalized economy, any country that tries to meet emissions targets as strict as McCain/Obama propose, will need to have other large economies coming along, or risk serious carbon leakage, whereby, dirty industries simply relocate to the countries that don't put a charge on carbon, which will spark a feedback series of protectionist tariffs. A convoluted cap and trade system would make it almost impossible for large developing countries such as China to comply, or to have confidence that any action they took would necessarily be interpreted as compliance by the many protectionist industries with deep ranks of lobbyists on K street. Ralph Nader is the only presidential candidate with a carbon tax plan that incorporates carrots and sticks to compel other large economies to participate. http://www.votenader.org/issues/carbon-tax/
Given that Nader proposes the most radical restructuring of trade agreements, it is ironic that in reality, because of his harmonized carbon tax policy, Nader would likely cause less disruption to the multilateral trade system than McCain/Obama would because of their cap and trade proposals, which would push the global economy toward the cliff of trade anarchy.

Posted by: Toby Heaps | August 4, 2008 1:24 PM | Report abuse

John McCain was against off-shore drilling. george bush says he's fir, now so is McCain. McCain was against bush' permanent tax cuts for the rich, now he's all for them. McCain, a tortured Nam vet, said he was against using torture, now he's for it. George bush snaps his fingers and McCain hollers, "Yes, Sir!" Says Obama would rather lose a war to win an election. McCain would rather see American troops in harm's way than admit he voted for a mistake. Straight Talk? BS talk more like it. Maverick? Butt-kissing toady is more like it. Running a clean, positive campaign? More of the same rovian crap. We can't afford four more years of John "Revolving Door: McCain's sucking up to bush-cheney.

Posted by: mike l | August 2, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

EEEEEEEE - !

E!

E?

Is nobody paying attention to me anymore?


Posted by: Sherry Kay | August 1, 2008 10:30 AM | Report abuse

I got an email today from the Obama camp in which he takes umbrage at this latest McCain ad.

Yes, he'd tax electricity produced today in order to subsidize future green energy. That's a fact. Admit to that, Barack. It's a noble goal.

As far as inexperience, that's undisputed. Obama's a man who doesn't even know what senate committees he's on, doesn't know how many states there are, stutters for almost 25% of a recent interview. If he can't remember and focus now, how about when he has REAL responsibilities in the Oval Office? He can't remember if he's in Cedar Rapids or Cedar Falls. He's only 47 and already his mind can't handle those simple facts.

Obama takes umbrage at being compared to Paris Hilton in this latest ad yet it was Obama (in 2005) who compared himself to Paris Hilton.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A48523-2005Feb23.html

Posted by: Inexperienced Obama | July 31, 2008 8:13 PM | Report abuse

I got an email today from the Obama camp in which he takes umbrage at this latest McCain ad.

Yes, he'd tax electricity produced today in order to subsidize future green energy. That's a fact. Admit to that, Obama. It's a noble goal.

As far as inexperience, that's undisputed. Obama's a man who doesn't even know what senate committees he's on, doesn't know how many states there are, stutters for almost 25% of a recent interview. If he can't remember and focus now, how about when he has REAL responsibilities in the Oval Office? He can't remember if he's in Cedar Rapids or Cedar Falls. He's only 47 and already his mind can't handle those simple facts.

Obama takes umbrage at being compared to Paris Hilton in this latest ad yet it was Obama (in 2005) who compared himself to Paris Hilton.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A48523-2005Feb23.html

Posted by: Inexperienced Obama | July 31, 2008 8:08 PM | Report abuse

Obama can't even remember what senate committees he's on, stuttered for 9 minutes during a recent interview and thinks there are 57 states.

Now we see that yes, he'd tax electricity. He'd tax the electricity we'd produce today in order to subsidize future green energy. As much as he'd try and deny it, that's part and parcel of it. Barack, own up to it. It's a noble goal.

I got a letter from the Obama campaign today in which he takes umbrage at being compared to Paris Hilton in this latest McCain ad yet it was Obama, in 2005, who compared himself to Paris Hilton.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A48523-2005Feb23.html

Obamaniacs engage in a whispering campaign that McCain's an old, doddering fool yet it's Obama who can't remember the simplest things. See my first paragraph for the examples. Inexperience and scatterbrained, Obama's not ready. If his mind can't remember the simplest things now, if he can't focus during an interview, if he stutters and stammers unless he's had weeks to practice a speech, how will he ever handle the stress of the Oval Office when lives and the country are at stake?

Posted by: Inexperienced Obama | July 31, 2008 7:59 PM | Report abuse

Interesting that the short answer and long answer entirely contradict each other.

But I have not yet touched the cloak of our Saviour and Messiah Barack Hussein Obama. Maybe then I will understand.

Posted by: WTFBHO | July 31, 2008 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Surprise surprise, another day and another lie by distortion from the McCain campaign. Guess it's an improvement on his gaffe-a-day campaign last week.

According to USA Today, Time, fackcheck.org, the New York Times, and the Washington Post, John McCain lied to the American people, politicizing the troops. I can't think of a more rock-solid disqualifier for the presidency.

Posted by: John M. | July 31, 2008 1:45 AM | Report abuse

Hey "Obama the puppet", How can you even have a name like that,when McCain cant even speak for his campagin. When he was talking on a Sunday talk show with George S, the next day I believe it was Tucker Bounds came out and said that McCain doesnt speak for the Campagin. Well who does he speak for? Explain that to me!!

Posted by: Donna | July 31, 2008 1:05 AM | Report abuse

ENOUGH!

Put McSleezy to bed and let him sleep it off.

Posted by: Big Daddy | July 30, 2008 10:41 PM | Report abuse

McCain's bringing to the fore of Schmidt from the Rovian and Bush camps is showing. They are now in the typical lie about everything mode. After a while even if it is not true, some will believe. God Help America from these idiots.

Posted by: Paul Stewart | July 30, 2008 10:36 PM | Report abuse

McCain is only the mouthpiece, the Bush's and several other Republicans actually run him and tell him what to think and say just like they have done with "w" the last 8 years.
McCain will never tax the oil(natural gas) companies, his bosses are making too much money off them.

Posted by: Norman | July 30, 2008 10:01 PM | Report abuse

Low Road McCain, no lie too big, anything to win. Sad, there was a time when he seemed to have scruples, but no more. Now he's just a desperate, cranky old man/

Posted by: Bill | July 30, 2008 8:54 PM | Report abuse

"Who does that young punk think he is? Why him and his new fangled ideas. I think things are just fine the way they are. We don't need no change. Now where's my leaches and MyCane?"

Posted by: Dean | July 30, 2008 8:46 PM | Report abuse

He said it, why is it a story? The real story should be Obama's recent comments on reparations.

"'I personally would want to see our tragic history, or the tragic elements of our history, acknowledged,' Obama said.'I consistently believe that when it comes to whether it's Native Americans or African-American issues or reparations, the most important thing for the U.S. government to do is not just offer words, but offer deeds.'"

Posted by: Nonsense | July 30, 2008 8:34 PM | Report abuse

If McCain can't even understand the basic position of his sole opponent on this major issue, I don't see how he will be able to survive the complexity when faced with entire phalanxes of senators, congressmen, and foreign governments. One thing about Obama: he at least takes the effort to understand his adversaries.

Posted by: John from Tokyo | July 30, 2008 8:22 PM | Report abuse

Look at the other stories the Washington Post has on the campaign section. At the time of this post they have a story on how McCain doesn't support equal pay, McCain's misleading ad the Obama electricity tax, McCain's spot removal, and a story on Obama taking a vacation in Hawaii.

Simply amazing. Let the lovefest continue.

If you're going to bring up Obama and Hawaii at least mention that during his years in Hawaii that his mentor was a modern Communist leader, as described in his first book. Or that he just this week talked about how Americans somehow owe Hawaii for robbing them of their freedom.

I have friends from Hawaii and let me tell you if America didn't absorb Hawaii some other country would've and it wouldn't be the paradise that it is today.


Please end the media love fest.

Posted by: Cheaper Arugula | July 30, 2008 8:20 PM | Report abuse

You know that the child reporterette who wrote this has a severe bias when she inserts this line into a statement regarding the carbon tax: 'an approach backed by many economists.' O RLY?

Posted by: Matt Braynard | July 30, 2008 8:17 PM | Report abuse

But Obama said we should "tax dirty energy like coal and to a lesser extend natural gas." Last time I checked those two domestic resources make up the vast majority of our electricity. That certainly sounds like a man who would tax electricity. It's a 30-second ad, get a clue. The point is that it drives dialouge around real issues and has folks like us and the Washington Post conducting more research. We're all adults and we can see for ourselves that he would tax electricity.

What I'm more upset over is that the Washington Post didn't dig deeper into that remark from Obama. It's yet another example of a typical liberal who thinks he can somehow control market prices.

Nobama in 08'

Posted by: Nobama Jomama | July 30, 2008 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Poor John McCain, Too slow and feeble minded to know the truth. When asked why his camaign has resorted to the sleazy attack ads he said he opposed by Larry King, McCains only response was a smarmy "we're just highlighting policy differences"

We've just had eight years of this kind of two faced lying as political strategy. We don't need another president who will say anything to get elected then tow the republican forelocks while screwing the American middle class.

Posted by: An American Hero | July 30, 2008 8:09 PM | Report abuse

MCCAIN SHOULD JUST CHANGE HIS NAME TO MR. McSILLY.....NO DOUBT HE MUST HAVE WOKE UP GRUMPY FROM HIS NAP AGAIN TODAY!

Posted by: benighse | July 30, 2008 8:08 PM | Report abuse

New Rule:
If you voted for Bush twice, you must relinquish your right to vote in this coming election. Recognizing that your abilities in this regard are not up to the task, and having conclusively proven yourselves incompetent, you must just sit back, watch, and pray we do better. You know we can't do worse.

Posted by: Stan G | July 30, 2008 8:06 PM | Report abuse

Okay so maybe it's not Obama's fault that the price of oil is so high but Britney and Paris aren't helping driving around in Hummer stretch limo's!! So this ad is half correct and that's good enough for me!

Posted by: Anonymous | July 30, 2008 8:01 PM | Report abuse

barry is white

Posted by: Obama the puppet | July 30, 2008 7:57 PM | Report abuse

So what if there's no Obama electricity tax TODAY? There will be one tomorrow... Obama's reversed himself on every other thing that really mattered to his supporters... why not this?

So now let's fault the McCain campain FOR PREDICTING THE FUTURE.

Nobama '08. Nobama EVER!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Do you live on a grassy knoll?

Posted by: Humty Dumpty | July 30, 2008 7:57 PM | Report abuse

I applaud the Washington Post for calling McCain campaign on the electricity tax nonsense.

Their distorting the truth (aka lies) need to be covered more widely.

Posted by: Tim | July 30, 2008 7:56 PM | Report abuse

Is the corporate controlled media determined to destroy this country with right winged smears ?

Posted by: timebanded@cox.net | July 30, 2008 7:55 PM | Report abuse

Do any reporters EVER question, any of the numerous lies the McCain Campaign spew?
It's really amazing that to the Media, there's no difference between the truth, and a lie. As long as the McCain Campaign says it, to them it must be true, and never worthy of scrutiny.
At this point, their whole Campaign strategy is to lie, since the Media refuses to challenge them.

Posted by: jon | July 30, 2008 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Grumpy is now following the George W. Bush successful smear till they hold you dear campaign style. yes there are other dwarf minded people in America who do not check sources for you know the truth about any given subject. Here is the truth about Mc War that insures I will never vote for him. I honor his service to our country in vietnam where I also served though I was not captured; my son fought for us in Iraq as part of the 82nd Airborne and our nephew unfortunately did not survive an IED attack in Tikrit. McWar voted to put our kids in harms way in the war for no good reason and then did not support Senator Jim Webbs GI Bill so that my son could get a college education now that he thank god came home safe. Shame on you Mc Cain and then you want us to think you are better for our nations troops. Obama passed legislation to help the injured kids in Walter Reed and I beseech you to stop using the troops for political fodder and instead help pick up the pace in Afghanistan where we should have been all along just like Obama says. Mc Cain aka Grumpy will never get this veteran families support period.

YES WE CAN and plenty of veterans are for the Democrat this time.

Posted by: COL JOE BENTO US ARMY RET | July 30, 2008 7:48 PM | Report abuse

I can remember when I used to think McCain was an honorable man. I don't know whether to be embarrassed or disgusted by how low he is sinking, and it's still early in the campaign. How many more lies can his campaign invent between now and November? How many more times will John whine because Barack is simply more popular than he is? Good grief, suck it up, man, and remember your principles while you still have some. Oh, never mind.

Posted by: windrider | July 30, 2008 7:45 PM | Report abuse

People just love to pick on Barack Obama. Is it because he is black, educated, positive, a good family man, young, etc.? So many people are jealous of him that they shoot him down. McCain fabricates lies faster than the U.S. manufacturing sector produces products. My goodness...wake up America! Why would you want 4 more years of the same, Bush. I want change; I need change. I will vote and support Barack Obama.

Posted by: RadianChalant | July 30, 2008 7:44 PM | Report abuse

Thank you, Juliet Elperin and Julie Tate for your fact-based reporting. I look forward to reading more from you!!

Posted by: OK4Obama | July 30, 2008 7:37 PM | Report abuse

So what if there's no Obama electricity tax TODAY? There will be one tomorrow... Obama's reversed himself on every other thing that really mattered to his supporters... why not this?

So now let's fault the McCain campain FOR PREDICTING THE FUTURE.

Nobama '08. Nobama EVER!

Posted by: xbjllb | July 30, 2008 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Barry enact an Electricity Tax?!

Oh, don't be silly!

After he Taxes the Air we Breath, and the Water we Drink, we won't have any money left for an Electricity Tax! ;~)

Of course, those Taxes only apply to People LEGALLY Residing and Working Here! :-(

Posted by: SAINT-The | July 30, 2008 7:30 PM | Report abuse

McCain seems to have a problem with telling the truth. Just like Bush.

Posted by: Florida | July 30, 2008 7:24 PM | Report abuse

I'm gonna fly to Rome tomorrow and go deer hunting with wacky the bear and wear a tiger suit with a benner across it that reads "Jimmy Juice! It's what gets yeh!" then i'm gonna binter-banter through the willy patch to the place where ducky-wucky eats craker-wackers. mmmm, thems gonna be tasty...

what? political comment blog? oh, i thought this was the paranoid hillybilly european traveler commericial blog for bing-backers... sorry!

Posted by: Bobby Unut' for Skoal Products | July 30, 2008 7:10 PM | Report abuse

As far as energy Policy goes McCain does have Obama beat. Thats not saying much though. Both Plans really stink. I heard that McCain was thining about scraping his energy plan and adopt The Pickens Plan. Well at least then he would have a plan. lol. If you want to read the article I think I read it at http://www.Pickeneplan.com its at one of the links at the top of page. I think obama and McCain should both embrace mr. Pickens Plan. Lets face it both candidates really dont have much of a plan at all. I mean you could sum Obama's Plan up in a few words Green/dont drill you can read his too at www.theobamaplan.com. I agree McCains plan is better then Obama's but they are both pretty horrible. I dont think McCain is up to the Job Of Pres?http://www.webmademan.com I guess the thinking is, Anyone could make a better ad then this

Posted by: Peter | July 30, 2008 7:01 PM | Report abuse

When is the news media going to start doing their job? A McCain spokesman on a conference call with the press makes completely false statements and isn't called on it? Grow up, media, this is your country, too.

Posted by: AD Wagner | July 30, 2008 7:00 PM | Report abuse

What is it about Barack Obama that makes opponents' campaigns become completely unhinged?

Where did McCain get this bright idea? Or if he didn't think it up himself, why is the person who did still employed? Do they even want to win the election?

It happened with the Clinton camp too. They went way off the deep end and have not yet recovered.

Wait, I know what sends them into orbit:

He's unbeatable.

Posted by: Susan | July 30, 2008 6:59 PM | Report abuse

"What's this about an Obama electricity tax?"
Short answer: there isn't one.

And yet it's repeated by the campaign and is clearly false. When are reporters going to ask McCain his 'straight talk'?

Posted by: thebob.bob | July 30, 2008 6:43 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company