An Obama campaign representative speculated Friday that the White House would consider a carbon emissions tax if Republicans were interested in negotiating — a political circumstance the surrogate cast as highly unlikely.
“So whether or not [President Obama] would actually consider it, I think is actually a more important question for whether or not the other side of the political aisle would consider it,” said Joseph Aldy during a debate on energy between campaign representatives at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on Friday night.
Aldy, a White House energy aide in 2009 and 2010, bashed Republican “intransigence” on climate change proposals during the debate with Oren Cass, who is Mitt Romney’s domestic policy adviser.
He noted that Republicans opposed cap-and-trade, and after that bill died, opposed Obama’s proposal for a nationwide “clean energy standard” to require major increases in low-emissions power generation.
“We know we have to tackle spending. We know we have to tackle revenues. And so the president will be pragmatic, and if he actually sees a goodwill gesture from the other side, whether it's on a carbon tax, whether it's on other elements of fiscal and tax reform that are consistent with his principles, and it's being fair to the middle class, and if you can do so in a way that also tackles the challenge of climate change, I think he would consider that,” said Aldy, who is now a professor with Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.
He added: “But I'm just speculating on that, but I think it's important to say, hey, is he going to come out and actually propose this? He needs to see a goodwill gesture from the other side, because he hasn't seen it for the last four years.”