Obama's 2011 budget will include phantom cap-and-trade revenue 

A trade publication is reporting this afternoon that President Obama's 2011 federal budget proposal will assume receipt of billions of dollars in revenue generated from the cap-and-trade program even though that proposal appears now to be all but dead in Congress.

"The White House told Sen. John Kerry's office that the president plans to assume revenue from the controversial climate policy approach. Kerry aides said they had assurances the revenue won't be designated for issues unrelated to energy policy and combating climate change.

"Obama last year proposed in his fiscal 2010 budget that a cap-and-trade program would raise some $650 billion over 10 years via a full auction of emission credits, with the money primarily going to pay for middle-class tax cuts and development and deployment of clean energy technologies," Energy and Environment News senior reporter Darren Samuelson wrote in the publication that is subscription-only.

Obama repeated during his State of the Union address Wednesday evening his hope that Congress would pass the energy reform bill that featues as its anti-global warming centerpiece establishment of a cap-and-trade program of government credits for carbon emissions reductions that businesses would buy and sell.

The proposal's main Senate co-sponsors are Sen. Barbara Boxer, the California Democrat who is chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, and Kerry, the Massachusetts Democrat. A similar bill co-sponsored by Representatives Henry Waxman of California and Ed Markey of Massachusetts was approved by the House last year.

The House bill projects cap-and-trade revenues of $873 billion.

Whether it's the $650 billion projected by the Senate bill or the $873 billion of the House bill, it appears highly unlikely, to put it charitably, that either measure will make it to Obama's desk with the cap-and-trade program intact. That means Obama will be counting phantom revenue as part of his next federal budget proposal.

But then Obama's $787 billion economic stimulus program has produced two million phantom jobs located in phantom zip codes in phantom congressional districts, so perhaps nobody should be surprised to see phantom revenues in a White House budget proposal.  

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Mark Tapscott

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