The ‘cap and trade’ debacle and letters to my congressman

In the midst of an economic recession, one of the best things the government can do is to make it easier for businesses to operate.  In a time of hurting, giving business incentive to invest and hire workers will help the economy rebound much sooner.  Predictably, liberals in congress are doing…the exact opposite.  The Waxman-Markey bill (a.k.a. “cap and trade” a.k.a. the “American Clean Energy and Security Act”) taxes businesses based on their output of greenhouse gases.  Businesses must purchase mythical “carbon credits” from the government as a punishment for their carbon output that is supposedly destroying the planet.  I’ll get into my firm belief that “global warming” or “climate change” is a complete hoax another time.  Regardless of what you believe about this matter, the estimates are that the actual result of this bill will be a negligible effect on the climate.

I don’t think I can overstate how bad this bill, which just passed the House, is for us as average people.  If the Senate concurs, our electricity bills are headed up by as much as 90% over the next 25 years.  Natural gas?  You bet.  55% higher.  Gasoline: 58%.  And it won’t take a quarter century for you to feel the pinch.  Estimates are the average family of four will have to cough up more than $400 two years for now. 

Democrats are often handed the motto of champions of the poor.  But if you take time to dissect their political actions and their outcomes, I contend you’ll find they often do more damage than good.  This is one of those times.  The ones who can least afford these higher prices are those with the lowest incomes, who already spend a disproportionately higher percentage of their money on heating/cooling their homes and putting gas in their cars than do those with higher incomes.  But we already knew where our President stood on the issue from his words during the campaign.  I dare say few people took him seriously.

With frustration, yet with hope, I wrote to my democrat congressman, and pleaded with him not to vote for the cap and trade bill.  He brushed my concerns aside and was one of the difference of 7 votes that allowed the bill to pass.  Disappointedly I wrote to him again:

“I am very disappointed to learn of your vote for the Waxman-Markey bill, H.R. 2454.  This bill will heavily burden the residents of our state, and all Americans, with higher energy costs.  Estimates are a 90 percent increase in electricity costs, nearly 60 percent more in gasoline costs, and a 55 percent increase in the cost of natural gas by the year 2035.  Its impact will be immediate when it takes effect in 2012, when the average energy cost for a family of four is estimated to jump over $400 for that year.  At a time of such economic struggle, this is enormously burdensome on our families.

H.R. 2454 is also estimated to kill more than one million jobs, even after the promised “green jobs” are factored in.  This will further burden us, particularly the poorer households.

I cannot understand your vote in on this bill, and repeat that I am very disappointed. “

Apparently, our congressman had many such responses, as I received a mass email from him a few days later, explaining his vote.  I include just a portion of the fairly lengthy response.

“Thank you for sharing your concerns about H.R. 2454 the American Clean Energy and Security (ACES) Act.

…In 2007 the Supreme Court ordered the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. If Congress does not act on the issue, the EPA is required to act, and will do so in a way that is less likely to take into account the individual challenges each region of the country faces. The Senate drafted several bills in response to this mandated action to solve the CO2 problem, but I believe their bills were impractical. The Senate bills produced cost estimates from $1,000 to $3,000 a year per household. These costs are unacceptable. 

ACES is different. Energy companies, environmental groups, and business groups all had a seat at the table to negotiate this bill. After taking into account the challenges the country was facing and the comments and concerns of these groups, the Energy and Commerce Committee wrote a bill that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (the same group that reported the costs of the Senate bills) says will cost $175 a year for families at its height in 2020, or about $15 a month. These costs will be more than offset by the savings in energy efficiency each household will achieve annually, and the hundreds of thousands of jobs that will be created.”

Knowing already that the CBO report was horribly and dangerously flawed, I wrote back to our congressman. 

“I want to thank you for responding to my concerns.  It means a lot to know you are willing to communicate with your constituents.  I believe we can have an open debate and that willingness to debate is very important to me in a Congressman.  With that in mind, I would like to further continue the conversation.  I know you are a busy man, but on something so important, I would ask for just a little more of your time. 

The CBO analysis you cited is very flawed, and here’s how:

The goal of a “cap and trade” program is to reduce the amount of “greenhouse gas” businesses emit, am I correct?  The way this bill does that is to charge businesses for their emissions in an effort to get them to use less, would that be fair to say?  So for them to maintain their current production, their cost of doing business will go up…right so far?  So why would the cost of products these businesses make not go up?  They will, and that’s what the CBO does not take into account. 

I quote from a footnote on page 4 of the CBO report, “The resource cost does not indicate the potential decrease in gross domestic product (GDP) that could result from the cap.”

The Heritage Foundation estimates that decrease to be $393 billion annually between 2012 and 2035, and cumulatively $9.4 trillion.  In one of the leaner years for GDP reduction, 2020, the decrease in GDP is still estimated to be $161 billion, or $1,870 for a family of four.  In 2035, the extra cost to that family is $6,790.  These are staggering numbers!  And I know you agree that it is money the nation cannot afford to lose.

The CBO’s analysis was that of an accountant, tracking just the money between businesses and government.  It did not take into account the domino effect those taxes would have on everything else. 

I have much more I would like to say about the “green energy” jobs that I see as obvious ruses.  They promise so much, don’t deliver, and in turn immensely hurt the economy.  Just ask Spain. 

Thank you for listening to my input, sir.  It is my hope that should similar legislation come before you again that you will confidently vote against it.  Waxman-Markey would be devastating if it becomes law.  I am still very disappointed with your vote, but understand that what’s done is done.

One more thing, sir.  As a leader of my country, you need to know I will pray for you, that you will be wise, that you will be protected from misinformation and lies, and that you will fear God and seek to please Him with every decision you make.”

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