Revising Those Budget Numbers...

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THE VINE MARCH 18, 2009

Revising Those Budget Numbers...

Noteworthy scoop from The Wall Street Journal: Back in February, it turns out, White House economic adviser Jason Furman was telling Senate staffers that the administration's cap-and-trade proposal would probably a lot more revenue than was projected in the budget. Like, up to $1.9 trillion over ten years instead of $646 billion. That basically means the White House is expecting the cap to be a lot more stringent than the budget intimated. (By the way, it sounds like they'll rebate any extra revenue back to the public, either through tax credits or direct rebates.)

That's not too startling: As I noted at the time, if you looked at the White House budget proposal and saw how much revenue the administration expected to raise by auctioning off pollution permits, it seemed like they were planning the price of carbon to settle at under $20 per ton. But that's less than the price would've been under last year's (relatively) watery Boxer-Lieberman-Warner bill, and Obama has given every signal that he wants a much stricter cap—and much steeper emission cuts—than that bill had. So the initial budgetary projections were obviously very conservative (as, in fairness, officials told reporters at the time). Still, now there's confirmation....

--Bradford Plumer

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