Could carbon taxes emerge in the election aftermath?
Now that the dust has settled on the 2012 elections, a natural question now arises: “What does this mean for us?”
It’s tempting to answer simply, “More of the same.” After all, notwithstanding a few shifting seats in Congress, the balance of power in Washington hasn’t moved at all. As such, the energy and environmental policy trends we’ve seen in the past couple of years likely will continue for at least the next two, until the 2014 mid-term elections.
But such a simple answer belies a couple of factsSince Obama won reelection, we must ask whether we’d rather have EPA cracking down on carbon emissions, or whether a legislated framework would be better for everyone..
First, the Obama administration is entering its second term, released from the burden of endless campaigning. In principle at least, this gives the president a freer hand to spend political capital pursuing the priorities that ostensibly got him re-elected.
Second, while the voters voiced no strong preference for a political shift to the left or the right, that doesn’t mean they want more gridlock. Indeed, some Republican leaders in particular see the election results not as a mandate for the status quo, but for bipartisan compromise—something that by all accounts has been sorely lacking in Washington.