Mr. Corker is proposing a string of amendments that Democrats characterize as “poison pills” that would undermine the purpose of the legislation. His amendments would return more of the receipts from the carbon permits directly to taxpayers, eliminate the issuance of free permits and do away with the ability of American companies to meet their emissions targets by buying offsets overseas.
Poison? These are exactly what we need. Rather than sensing the opportunity to build a coalition with conservatives like Corker who rightly understand that we need a strong cap with minimal government meddling, Democrats can think only of showering business with giveaways. Of course, to have exemptions, offsets, freebie allocations and other goodies to pass out, the politicians have to push a plan riddled with loopholes.
The Democratic Party, as it now functions, is too wedded to narrow business interests, a proclivity it fine-tuned during the Clinton years, to grapple with a genuine public imperative like preserving a liveable planet. That’s what I would call an inconvenient truth.