Cap-and-Trade: Progressivisms' Anti-Industrial Revolution

The inconvenient truth is that the new cap-and-trade bill is based on lies. A tsunami of economic discontent is coming. ___ The U.S. economy is disintegrating, hundreds of thousands of people are losing their jobs every month, and record-high home foreclosures are sweeping the nation. But apparently that is not enough for out-of-touch politicians in Washington. Now they want to hit Americans with what the Wall Street Journal is calling possibly the “biggest tax in American history.” If they were deliberately trying to destroy America’s economy, politicians and the green lobby could have hardly found a better way.

On Friday, members of the House of Representatives passed legislation destined to radically reengineer the whole economy. And they did it boldly claiming that the cost to households would only be the price of a postage stamp per day.

How gullible do they think people are? There is a reason that governments around the world are applauding—and it’s not because they think clear skies and balmy weather are on the way. It is because the House just voted to severely handicap all American industry: advantage Europe and China.

Under the proposed cap-and-trade system, the U.S. government would place a limit on the amount of carbon dioxide (the same gas humans and animals exhale) the country can emit: 17 percent less than 2005 levels by 2020, and a whopping 83 percent less by 2050. An army of bureaucrats from multiple agencies will deploy across the country to determine how much pollution companies are generating and how much they should be allowed to generate. These companies will then be “given” carbon credits for the amount of carbon dioxide the government says they should be allowed to create.

If businesses are unable to meet the new emission standards, they can purchase excess credits from companies that have managed to reduce their emissions, or they can buy expensive additional carbon credits from the government, or they can shut down. Or they can move their operations overseas.

This new proposal, if it becomes law, will suck the air out of U.S. industry. And contrary to what politicians claim, it will also suck dollars out of the pocketbooks of Americans.

Those who support the cap-and-trade bill claim that the cost to American families will be around $175 per year by 2020. The estimate is based upon a Congressional Budget Office (cbo) analysis that was conveniently released as politicians were getting ready to vote.

But here is the big lie.

That $175 per household per year is only what the cbo thinks it will cost to cover the day-to-day expenses of operating a carbon-trading program. But these millions of dollars will be dwarfed by the costs that estimate does not take into account: the inevitable effects this policy would have on the economy!

The world runs on fossil fuels. America runs on fossil fuels. This bill is specifically designed to hike the price of coal, oil and natural gas, so that Americans will use less.

But the higher prices of fossil fuels will not just show up in higher heating and air-conditioning bills, or at the gas station—but in every manufactured good, from ballpoint pens to televisions.

Food prices will jump too. Farmers intensively lobbied to be exempted from the bill, since cows are the biggest single source of carbon dioxide emissions in the country. Though they achieved that exemption, farmers will still be hit by higher fertilizer, feed and pesticide costs, which are heavily dependent on fossil fuels.

Manufacturers will be forced to spend untold millions to retrofit factories. Utilities will be forced to use higher-cost and less-reliable solar and wind power. Transportation costs will skyrocket too.

And all these companies will take one action in common: They will pass down the costs to their customers. It is the only choice they have.

Regardless of how politicians on Capitol Hill spin it, it is the average American who will pay—and pay big. Postage-stamp price increases are a dream out of Alice in Wonderland.

According to estimates by the Heritage Foundation, for a household of four, higher energy prices alone will cost the average family $829 per year over the next couple of decades. It estimates that the bill will eventually result in a 58 percent increase in gas prices, a 90 percent increase for electricity, and a 55 percent jump for natural gas.

However, direct energy costs are only part of the consumer impact. If you look at the total cost of the bill due to increased manufacturing costs, shipping costs and compliance costs, you get a total average yearly impact on a family of four of almost $3,000, according to Heritage.

But it gets worse. The bill is also projected to harm employment, causing estimated net job losses of approximately 1.1 million per year between 2012 and 2035, according to the Heritage Foundation. These are job losses in excess of any supposed green job creation and on top of the 7 million jobs lost since the recession began. China, India and Mexico are notorious for loose environmental regulation. Companies that cannot thrive in America will likely migrate to where there are more hospitable regimes. That’s just reality.

How many more job losses can America take? Official unemployment is already at 9.4 percent.

And to top it off, this bill is designed to fix an unproven crisis. As conservatives are quick to point out, global temperatures have flatlined and even fallen over the last eight years. And as far as climate change goes, anybody who reads history, or studies geology, knows that climate change has been going on for far longer than since the Industrial Revolution. Man-made global warming is just an artifact of computer models and theories. And the effects of the ultra-expensive “solution” this bill proposes are unproven.

The real purpose of this bill is a power grab by Washington insiders.

Add to that, it will hamstring a bruised and battered U.S. economy operating in an ever-more-fierce world environment.

And any slack in U.S. carbon emissions will be gladly offset in developing countries eager for new industry and technology.

It is outrageous that so many politicians have chosen to take America down this path, especially when the economy can least afford it, and when so many people are already losing their homes and jobs. America’s leaders are acting like silly children (Isaiah 3:4); proposing solutions that are practically guaranteed to wreck the economy in order to fix a “crisis” trumped up by the politically correct crowd.

Even if this legislation is not ultimately adopted, the fact that so many politicians are endorsing it, despite its horrendous economic implications, is a clear signal that economically and industrially, America is a nation in rapid decline. Expect the deindustrializing of America to continue.