Jeff Flake preempts coming Cardon attack

| May 25 2012

(Editor’s note: Bluff-calling bills are a common tactic in Congress, and they can be very effective. It sounds like that is exactly what this bill was.)

Dear Friends,

You may have seen an ad running on television from my opponent claiming that I want a massive energy tax and suggesting that I support cap and trade. This, of course, is untrue.

Let me give you, as Paul Harvey used to say, the rest of the story.

In 2009, President Obama and the Democratic Majority in Congress were pushing the cap-and-trade bill, which most Republicans and I opposed. During debate on the bill, there were a number of us that thought we needed a way to expose the Democrats’ awful plan for what it was — a revenue grab in the worst way.

So we put together a revenue-neutral tax swap designed to counter the Democrats’ bill. Unlike cap and trade, our proposal cut taxes and didnot increase spending. The legislation stipulated that any carbon tax revenue raised by the government would go directly into the Social Security Trust Fund, and at the same time the payroll tax would be lowered by the same amount. This way, there was no incentive for politicians to raise the tax, since they wouldn’t get their hands on the money to spend. It was used as a way to call the Democrats’ bluff. I should note that in the end, we succeeded — cap and trade failed.

Many notable conservatives supported our proposal’s honest, market-driven approach, including Arthur Laffer, a noted economist and former economic policy advisor to President Reagan, who said: “The bill that Jeff Flake cosponsored was a smart, free market, conservative approach to expose the Democrat’s Cap and Trade bill for was it was — a massive tax increase.

Laffer penned an op-ed in the New York Times in support of our approach, as did conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer, writing in the Weekly Standard.

Rest assured that I will, as I have in the past, lead the fight in Congress for lower taxes, limited government and less regulation.

Sincerely,
Jeff Flake

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