Courtesy trackrecord via FlickrOmaha zillionaire Warren Buffett repeated his criticism of cap-and-trade emissions regulation on Wednesday, telling CNBC the plan being pushed by Democrats amounts to “a huge tax” and a “fairly regressive tax” that’s going to burden poor consumers in particular.
“If we buy permits, essentially, at our utilities, that goes right into the bills of the utility customers and an awful lot of people in Iowa, in Oregon, and Utah, and places where we are, very poor people are going to pay a lot more money for electricity,” said Buffett, who runs the holding company Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (Transcript.)
“Regressive” is the opposite of the conclusion reached by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy.
The CBO’s study found Waxman-Markey would cost the average household $175 a year by 2020, while the lowest-earning fifth of households would see average savings of $40 a year. That’s the opposite of regressive.
EPA’s analysis found household electricity and natural gas spending would be reduced by 7 percent in 2020 because of the energy efficiency and consumer protection provisions of the legislation. (Buffett, like so many others, seems interested only in the cap-and-trade portion of Waxman-Markey, not its other three titles.)
The NRDC created a model of Waxman-Markey’s impact and found it would have the cumulative effect of cutting household electricity bills in 46 states (with modest increases in Minnesota, Nebraska, and North and South Dakota).
And ACEE found the bill would save approximately $750 per household by 2020 and $3,900 per household by 2030.
Next time Warren Buffett stops you on the street and starts hating on cap and trade, consider yourself equipped to respond.
Get Grist in your inbox