Want Higher Energy Costs, Higher Taxes and
More Bureaucracy? Then the Boxer-Lieberman-Warner Climate Bill is for You
Senate Debates a Climate Bill that Has Already Failed in Europe
Want to raise gasoline prices, which are already surpassing $4 per gallon?
Want to further erode America’s manufacturing industry and send even more jobs overseas?
Want to create an enormous new trough from which well-connected Washington lobbyists can feed like gluttonous pigs?
Want to impose an unprecedented new burden on an already-slowing American economy?
If so, then you’ll love the Boxer-Lieberman-Warner “America’s Climate Security Act,” S. 2191, currently before the United States Senate. This proposed carbon “cap and trade” legislation will allow preening liberal politicians to pat themselves on the back for supposedly “doing something about global warming,” but at the expense of middle-class and poorer Americans.
Under this bill, American consumers and businesses would suddenly be forced to pay for the simple act of emitting carbon dioxide, a gas produced by everything from exhaling to driving to manufacturing to powering your computer. Because almost every economic and creative activity in America involves energy use, there is no product or activity that wouldn’t suddenly become more expensive.
Throughout America’s history, we have been free to produce carbon dioxide through use of fossil fuels, which are the very lifeblood of our economy and everyday lives. If this bill passes, however, an unprecedented degree of governmental regulation and taxation would be imposed.
Here is how the scheme would work. The federal government would magically divine a predetermined number of emissions permits, which it would ration to companies at some predetermined price. Companies that subsequently exceeded their allotment would have to purchase surplus credits from other companies, and pass these costs along to consumers. In other words, this system would create a de facto tax on energy use across almost every facet of the American economy, and significantly raise costs on most goods produced in America.
The European Union has already attempted this same type of carbon “cap and trade” law in order to comply with the disastrous Kyoto Protocol. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s report entitled International Energy Outlook, most of these countries have not only failed to meet their limits, but have witnessed their emissions rise faster than American emissions. In other words, these European nations have foolishly sabotaged their economies while achieving none of the intended benefits.
But the Europeans’ rude encounter with the law of unintended consequences is not an isolated one. Here in the United States, Congress enacted energy legislation in 2007 that imposed new fuel economy standards and mandated dramatic ethanol increases. Since that time, these mandates have done nothing to reduce fuel prices, but have had the unintended consequence of raising food prices by diverting vast amounts of corn, farmland and other resources to ethanol production. As a result, furious citizens across the globe are rioting over food shortages and price inflation.
Despite this, politicians seek to exacerbate the problem by imposing this disastrous cap-and-trade system upon America.
According to Congress’s own Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the Boxer-Lieberman-Warner bill will increase gasoline prices between 41 cents and $1 per gallon by 2030, and raise America’s tax burden by $1 trillion over the next ten years alone. In its words, “most of the cost of meeting a cap on CO2 emissions would be borne by consumers, who would face persistently higher prices for products such as electricity and gasoline.” Because poorer Americans spend a higher proportion of their income on energy, the CBO notes that, “those price increases would be regressive in that poorer households would bear a larger burden relative to their income than wealthier households.”
Weren’t liberals supposed to be all about taxing the rich, rather than the middle class and poor?
And according to the Heritage Foundation’s statistical analysis, Boxer-Lieberman-Warner would reduce American gross domestic product (GDP) between $1.7 trillion and $4.8 trillion. It also estimates that the bill would reduce after-tax American incomes up to $1,026 per household, increase average household energy costs some $647 per year and cause 500,000 net lost jobs. Because rapidly-growing China and India are more interested in economic growth than pointless environmental straitjackets, they would stand to benefit from this exodus of American manufacturing and jobs.
And for what supposed benefit?
Setting aside for a moment the fact that global warming is a false hysteria to begin with, even the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that cap-and-trade legislation will merely reduce carbon dioxide concentration from 718 parts per million to 694 parts per million. That’s 24 parts per million, even in a best-case scenario. Even the Kyoto Protocol itself was estimated to only reduce global temperatures by 0.07 degrees by 2050.
In other words, as wisely summarized by Senator James Inhofe (R – Oklahoma), this bill is “all economic pain for no climate gain.”
Fortunately, opposition to Boxer-Lieberman-Warner renders it unlikely to pass this year. But it is critical that Americans contact their representatives and insist that they oppose this disastrous effort by radical environmentalists. Only continuing vigilance will stop this disastrous environmentalist scheme.