Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Cap and Trade Support? It Gets Curiouser and Curiouser
This Won’t Make the Economy Better
We’re apparently still in the recession. Unemployment is up again, now 9.8% for the U.S. with some states well into double digits. And yet we’re expected to believe that somehow cap and trade is a good idea. It’s a bad idea in the best of times, but in the current economy, it’s the gateway to a real depression if enacted. If both cap and trade and Obamacare are enacted, a depression will be unavoidable, and cap and trade alone could bring one.
Why, oh, why are we willing to even entertain the idea of cap and trade? Do we really need our whole energy economy to be restructured for the purpose of trying to deal with a problem, man-made global warming, that likely does not exist, and to the miniscule extent that it might exist, nothing can be done that would produce any measurable effect on the climate. The idea is to regulate “greenhouse gases,” especially carbon dioxide, which in fact is neither a pollutant nor a problem.
The environmentalist activists are in support of this legislation. So is the Obama government and Democratic Congress, because it will provide greatly increased government power to regulate just about everything to do with any aspect of energy, and supposedly provide billions of taxpayer dollars in new taxes, which would allegedly be used to create “green jobs.” If this wasn’t so deadly serious, it would be laughable for its ridiculousness.
Obama Explains Some of the Effects of Cap and Trade
Just to refresh your memory, here’s Barack Obama discussing his ideal cap and trade plan:
This same government that does basically nothing to encourage off-shore drilling, nuclear power development, domestic oil refining capacity, i.e., things that would actually help our energy situation, now wants to place a heavy tax on all users of fossil fuels or producers of more-than-average CO-2 emissions. And they want to reward their Wall Street pals (think Goldman-Sachs) with a lucrative new carbon-emission permit trading industry.
Where’s the Compassion?
Legislators who support this bill will demonstrate conclusively that they are not interested in the well-being of the American taxpayer or the unemployed. They are about as “compassionate” as the pre-haunted Ebenezer Scrooge, if not worse. When House Minority Leader John Boehner read for an hour on the House floor some of the strange things that were in the House bill, it should have been enough of an embarrassment to kill the whole thing right there – but not to these shameless Democrats.
According to Heritage Foundation analyses, the Waxman-Markey bill would reduce GDP by $9.4 trillion (adjusted for inflation) from 2012 to 2035. Also there would be no net new jobs, but rather, millions of jobs lost. Consumers would suffer from having to pay higher prices for many goods and services. 
“In addition to the direct impact on consumers' budgets through higher electric bills and gasoline prices, the resultant increase in energy costs will reverberate throughout the economy and inject unnecessary inefficiencies at virtually every stage of production. It would suppress economic activity and reduce employment, especially in the manufacturing sector. Virtually all costs would eventually filter down to the American people.” 
There are so many costs to American taxpayers and so much freedom given up, it is difficult to see how Americans could be willing to give up so much and receive so little in exchange. The emissions effect would be almost unmeasurable. Even if one accepted the environmentalists’ ideas about CO-2, etc., there would be no net global decrease in greenhouse gas emissions, because growing economies such as China and India will not adopt anything like this to restrict their own emissions. Not only does this not help the emissions “problem,” the bill would put the U.S. at a competitive disadvantage in world markets, since our prices would have to increase due to higher energy costs.
No Help from Other Countries
President Obama told the UN that climate change is so serious that everyone needs to cooperate to deal with it. That is simply not going to happen. Even the signers of the Kyoto protocol have not decreased their emissions and are doing worse now. Several countries are seeing the negative economic impact of laws restricting carbon emissions and are pulling back on them. Of course, Obama and company wouldn’t consider economic destruction a problem, since their main concern is government control and power. Otherwise, they would see that cap and trade makes no sense.
Another drawback is that the cap and trade bill relies on technology that does not yet exist, in order to meet the tightening emissions targets of future years. This is presumption in the extreme. Don’t be surprised if they pass laws relying on the development of time travel. The development of clean, renewable energy industries should follow market forces. When it’s profitable, private industry goes into action and puts it on the market.
The premise of cap and trade is that energy costs would increase to the point that there would be more demand for “green” energy development and fossil fuels would be conserved. Never mind that economic activity in general would be depressed even more than it is at present. A lot more. We would have less disposable income, i.e., we’d become poorer and have a lower standard of living.
It’s also odd that the government is no longer so much interested in real pollution (smog, carbon monoxide, etc.) in favor of worry over greenhouse gases, particularly the non-pollutant CO-2.
Senator Barbara Boxer’s (D-CA) committee is handling the Senate version of cap and trade, which is not expected to be much different from Waxman-Markey. I wonder if Boxer’s bill also has the provision that before a person can sell a house, it must be updated according to a new federal building code for energy efficiency. If the usual pattern is followed, the bill will be voted upon without having been read or perhaps seen, let alone put on the internet for public viewing.
Do You “Feel” the Need for This Bill?
I suppose that with the help of Al Gore’s efforts and stirring up fears of bad things happening to polar bears, baby seals, and those cute little penguins, proponents of this legislation have got some people supporting it so they will feel better. Meanwhile, ski resorts in the Western U.S. are starting their season earlier than usual this year.
 David Kzeutzer, Ph.D., Karen Campbell, Ph.D., William W. Beach, Ben Lieberman, and Nicolas Loris, “The Economic Consequences of Waxman-Markey: An Analysis of the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009,” 08/06/09, The Heritage Foundation, at http://www.heritage.org/Research/EnergyandEnvironment/cda0904.cfm
Photo: Dreamstime.com. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA)