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White House: Don't Count on Cap-and-Trade

Is the White House tacitly admitting that they've given up on cap-and trade? I have no way to know, but Ezra Klein spots something that should make carbon price advocates nervous:

Last year's budget included space for both a health-care reform bill and a cap-and-trade bill. The revenues for cap-and-trade, in fact, paid for a substantial middle-class tax cut. But this year, the budget assumes that health-care reform passes and deletes cap-and-trade -- and the tax cut it would fund in the future -- entirely.


Even if the White House is shelving an aggressive cap-and-trade plan, it doesn't mean the administration is giving up on green energy policy entirely. Administration officials have mentioned rretrofitting houses for energy efficiency as part of a job stimulus plan for months. Moreover the stimulus was packed with green incentives, including more than $10 billion to "weatherize" federal, state and local government buildings, $11 billion for "smart grid" investments, and a green jobs retraining program.

What would take C&T's place in the docket? The jobs bill will be the administration's first priority, in front of (or running alongside) attempts to salvage health care. Financial reform will likely follow. Immigration reform could come after, but although Obama mentioned this in his State of the Union address, he's been light on specifics.

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Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

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