In the Arena

Gore Updated

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Yesterday, I wrote–based on incomplete reporting of ongoing testimony (no criticism of live-blogger Brian Beutler; the hearing was in midstream when I posted)–that Al Gore seemed to be backing away from his carbon-payroll tax swap. I haven’t seen the complete testimony, and the press reports are not sufficiently wonky to give all the relevant details, but it appears that Gore is still up for the tax swap (an idea I supported in this column last year). In fact–no surprise–he’s for a very tough global warming regime, including a ban on new coal-fired power plants and an intense cap-and-trade regime.

I speculated yesterday that if he stepped away from the tax swap, it might mean that Gore has political plans–but that speculation obviously was idle and kind of dumb. In 2000, Gore proposed spending $150 billion on global warming over the next 10 years (essentially, he wanted to spend the entire budget surplus on global warming…you remember the budget surplus). So he isn’t averse to putting his money where his mouth is on this issue, even when running for office. Is he running? Dunno. But, as Jake Barnes once said to Lady Brett Ashley (or vice versa), it would be nice to think so.

Update: Thank You, Jim for the correct Sun Also Rises quote:

“Oh, Jake,” Brett said, “we could have had such a damned good time together.”
Ahead was a mounted policeman in khaki directing traffic. He raised his baton. The car slowed suddenly pressing Brett against me.
“Yes,” I said. “Isn’t it pretty to think so?””