Jonathan Chait

Adventures In Imagining Popular Support

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Charles Krauthammer on E.P.A. regulation of carbon emissions:

I think it shows how ideologically determined the Obama administration is even after being chastised heavily in the midterm election about overreaching. It’s trying to reach around Congress, around the will of the people and Congress when it rejected cap-and-trade essentially imposing the carbon tax on the country which doesn’t want it, but it’s going to try to do it by regulation.

On what basis does Krauthammer assert that the people don't want the E.P.A. to regulate carbon emissions? There's not much polling on this, but the polling I've seen shows strong support for regulation.

Now, it's true that support for carbon taxes in weaker. (It's also true that Krauthammer at least used to support such a tax.) So you could say that if the public understood the issue better, they'd realize carbon regulation is an effective tax, and oppose it. But 'd also say that if the public understood the issue better they'd support a carbon tax. It's not an issue where the public has a strong grasp of the details. If you want to deal with public opinion as it exists, the evidence suggests people support the administration's regulatory agenda on the environment.

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