Saturday, June 27, 2009

Tax and Trade: a vote to destroy the American economy

Cap-and-Trade (which I call Tax and Trade, since that is what the bill really does) passed the House yesterday evening by only 7 votes. Eight misguided and ignorant Republicans joined the 83 percent of House Democrats in supporting the bill. 44 Democrats joined 95 percent of House Republicans in opposing the bill.

Fortunately, the legislation faces a good chance of defeat in the U.S. Senate, as 60 votes are needed to prevent a filibuster and several Democrats from rural, energy-producing states could be persuaded to vote against the disaster--Landrieu from LA, Nelson from NE, Tester and Baucus from MT, Specter and Casey from PA, Udall from CO, Begich from AK, Lincoln and Pryor from AR.

Perhaps most remarkable, environmental group Greenpeace and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have joined forces in opposing the bill--the Chamber correctly condemns the bill for killing jobs and economic growth; Greenpeace argues that the bill will do nothing to help the environment and substantially reduce pollution.

What are the provisions of this gargantuan 1,000 page bill with a 300 page addendum?

  • The bill will implement an arbitrary and corruption-prone system of doling out a limited number of carbon credits or usages to businesses. Any attempt to use energy beyond the government allowance will require higher fees, a.k.a. taxes
  • This scheme will result in higher utility costs--electricity, heating, oil--for all Americans. Estimates range from an additional $175-$1000 a year for the average American family, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO)
  • This disasterous bill will hurt all U.S. businesses, especially small businesses which are the backbone of our economy (since they do not have the money, lobbyists, and clout to bribe the bureaucrats for exemptions and additional credits). Unemployment will soar and GDP growth will slow dramatically or possibly go negative
  • Also included in the bill: new federal zoning mandates for all property owners. Now, when buying land for commercial use or making simple adjustments and renovations to your own property, you will be required to apply for a federal permit to ensure environmental compliance in addition to complying with local county and municipal zoning regulations. A bureaucrat in Washington will decide what constitutes an "acceptable" and environmentally-compliant use of undeveloped land in western Douglas County, Kansas

KS' own congresswoman Rep. Lynn Jenkins sent an email newsletter to her constituents highlighing the disasterous and indefensible aspects of this bill, the purpose of which is to lower global temperatures just several hundredths of one degree in the next 20 years. Jenkins has also produced a short series of videos called "Cap and Trade 101" where she succinctly summarizes the legislation and its impact on families, businesses, and agriculture, along with the FAQs--you can view them here at her House website.

Numbers from the CBO (most likely on the low side) are profiled in this recent NY Times article.

Pelosi was able to lock in support from members with an unprecedented blitz of deal-making and pork-barrelling. It is too soon to tell if the same strategy will work on members of the Senate.

Despite numerous protestations and appeals from residents of the 3rd District, Rep. Dennis Moore ignored his constituents and voted with Nancy Pelosi for this disasterous bill--he couldn't bring himself to join the 44 moderate Democrats in the House who opposed it. His constituents are watching and will not forget. Moore will not have Obama on the ballot to pull him across the finish line in 2010, but he will have his countless controversial votes that go against the majority of his district. Fiscally responsible he is not. Independent he is not. A liberal lackey for the most extreme elements of his party's agenda--he is.

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