Sunday, July 5, 2009

More on the Cap & Trade Tax

On the cost of energy, The Wall Street Journal writes, "The whole point of cap and trade is to hike the price of electricity and gas so that Americans will use less. These higher prices will show up not just in electricity bills or at the gas station but in every manufactured good, from food to cars. Consumers will cut back on spending, which in turn will cut back on production, which results in fewer jobs created or higher unemployment." Even billionaire Democrat donor Warren Buffet acknowledged that cap and tax is a "huge tax ... and a fairly regressive tax." And the Journal concludes, "Americans should know that those Members who vote for this climate bill are voting for what is likely to be the biggest tax in American history. Even Democrats can't repeal that reality."

"The Heritage Foundation's senior policy analyst for energy and environment, Ben Lieberman, has produced a stellar paper on [the cap and trade bill]... Based on available evidence and analysis, Lieberman concludes 'that both the seriousness and imminence of anthropogenic global warming has been overstated.' But even if we assume the problem is as bad as the hysterics claim, the proposed bill 'would have a trivial impact on future concentrations of greenhouse gases. ...[It] would reduce the earth's future temperature by 0.1 to 0.2 degree C by 2100, an amount too small to even notice.' The bill would bind only the U.S., not other nations, many of which, like China, are 'polluting' at a record pace. Also note that many European nations that have already imposed similar emissions restrictions have seen their emissions rise. But what would the costs be for this quixotic legislative paean to earth goddess Gaia? Contrary to the flawed analyses being advanced by the bill's proponents, Heritage estimates that the direct costs would be an average of $829 per year for a household of four, totaling $20,000 between 2012 and 2035. But when considering the total cost as reflected in the cost of allocations and offsets, the average cost to that family unit would be $2,979 annually from 2012 to 2035. Adding insult and hypocrisy to injury, the bill would hurt the poor the worst because they would bear a disproportionate burden of the higher energy costs the bill would trigger. Now here's the kicker. The bill is also projected to harm the manufacturing sector and cause estimated 'net' job losses, averaging about 1.15 million between 2012 and 2030. The overall gross domestic product losses would average $393 billion per year from 2012 to 2035, and the cumulative loss in gross domestic product would be $9.4 trillion by 2035. The national debt for a family of four would increase by $115,000 by 2035. Enough already. Throw the bums out." --columnist David Limbaugh

The Waxman-Markey global warming bill is an "energy tax in disguise," Heritage Foundation energy expert Ben Lieberman told members of Congress this week.

In his testimony, Lieberman made clear that cap-and-tax works by "inflicting economic pain."

"The bottom line is that cap and trade works by raising the cost of energy high enough so that individuals and businesses are forced to use less of it," he reported.

Heritage experts have been working round the clock to inform the public of the true costs of cap-and-tax legislation.

According to recent Heritage economic analyses, the costs of the proposed global warming bill will kick in when it takes effect in 2012. By 2035, a family of four's energy costs will increase dramatically.

· 90 percent increase in electricity costs

· 58 percent increase in gasoline costs

· 55 percent increase in natural gas costs

Lieberman points out that these are only "low-ball estimates" and that the burden of these increased costs will disproportionately affect the poor.

In addition, there is no concrete evidence that such carbon regulations will have a noticeable impact on the earth's temperature. As Heritage experts David Kreutzer, Karen Campbell and Nicolas Loris point out, cap-and-tax legislation will only bring "higher taxes and economic devastation in return for ... nothing."

"This climate bill has nothing to do with saving the planet or the polar bears. The problems that this legislation claims to address do not exist. Regulating our behavior and limiting our freedom will not have any effect on the climate. It is a pure power and money grab..." --radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh

» Watch the video "Cap and Trade: Will It Save the Earth?" to debunk liberal myths and get the facts from Heritage experts.

More Information on Cap-and Trade, From: The Center for Individual Freedom.
Only the United States Senate stands in the way of what the Wall Street Journal calls "the biggest tax in American history." That's because the Pelosi-led House of Representatives just strong-armed the so-called American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (also known as "Cap-and-Trade") through the House of Representatives.

According to the Heritage Foundation, this massive "national energy tax" could cost the average family "nearly 3,000 per household per year."

House Minority Leader John Boehner points out that it will "put millions of Americans out of work" as American jobs are shipped overseas or lost outright.

Even President Obama admitted that under "Cap-and-Trade" legislation, "electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket."

But that's not all. Apparently, few if any Members of the House of Representatives even bothered to read this massive "national energy tax" before voting on it. Does this sound familiar?

According to Pioneer Press:
"Last week, the American Clean Energy and Security Act (the 'Cap and Trade Energy Bill'), or H.R. 2454, was 946 pages long. Over the weekend, it ballooned to 1,201 pages with no explanation for how or why." Then, to add insult to injury, on the day of the vote, the Pelosi-led Congress added another 255 pages to the bill (which no one had read to begin with) at 3:00 AM (EST) and limited debate to three hours before passing this massive "national energy tax" at 7:16 PM (EST). And when Boehner tried to read some of the provisions of this bill aloud on the floor of the House, liberals in Congress tried to shut him down. "Democrats tried to shut me down as I read parts of Speaker Pelosi's national energy tax (also known as 'cap and trade') out loud on the House floor. For more than an hour I cited provisions that will destroy American jobs, raise prices for gasoline and electricity, and devastate middle-class families and small businesses," said Minority Leader Boehner.

Just What Is Cap-And-Trade?

Essentially, "Cap-and-Trade" is being deceptively peddled as a system to encourage businesses to engage in "environmentally responsible activities."
But in actuality, it has little to do with the environment and instead is a means to deprive you of your income, control your behavior and repress your liberties.

Remember when President Obama said:
"We can't drive our SUVs, and eat whatever we want, and keep our homes at 72 [degrees] all the time, whether we live in the desert or the tundra, and keep consuming 25% of the world's resources with just 4% of the world's population... That's not going to happen." Little did we know that he was deadly serious when he made that radical statement on the campaign trail last year?

Under "Cap-and-Trade," the government would issue "pollution credits." Once allocated (as the government sees fit) those who use less than their government-imposed allocation can sell them to those who have exceeded their government allocation.

Peter Ferrara, the director of budget and entitlement policy at the Institute for Policy Innovation, writing for The American Spectator explains "Cap-and-Trade" this way:
"Under this policy, every business involving CO2 emissions will have to buy permits from the government for the amount of such emissions, which will be sold in open auctions, where the permit price will be bid up. But the government will limit the number of these permits, and consequently the maximum amount of CO2 emissions allowed. Indeed, over time the government will clamp down on the amount of CO2 emissions allowed by the permits, with the emissions to be reduced by 80 percent by 2050." And how will "Cap-and-Trade" policies change your standard of living for the worse: Ferrara explains: "These increased costs are effectively a new tax on the American people, even though Obama promised in his campaign that there would be no tax increase for the bottom 95 percent of income earners."

Of course, in the strictest sense, "Cap-and-Trade" is not solely a "tax." It's something much worse. When the government taxes you, it openly confiscates your income and that income goes directly into government coffers to fund some actual or perceived need. Under "Cap-and-Trade," no one in the government reaches directly into your pocket... nothing new is withheld from your paycheck... no new lines appear on your 1040 Form that you send to the IRS. Instead, the government, which is already taking de facto control of the banking and automotive industry, will have yet another tool in its arsenal to effectively take control of every other company or sector of industry that produces CO2... and that's just about everybody. And when you complain that your standard of living has gone down, you can be certain that President Obama, Nancy Pelosi and liberals in Congress will simply point the finger at "greedy industry" when they know full well that they were the ones that gave this monster life. In short, "Cap-and-Trade" has nothing to do with the environment, it is nothing more than a mechanism that the government can now use to force others to pick your pocket, and diminish your standard of living in this already queasy economy. Fewer Jobs And A Lower Standard Of Living....

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, summed up how "Cap-and-Trade" will change your life for the worse when speaking at this year's Conservative Political Action Conference:
"[L]et me get this straight, we are not going to raise taxes on anyone making less than $250,000 per year, unless you use electricity. And we are not going to raise taxes on anyone under $250,000 per year, unless you buy gasoline... [or] unless you buy heating oil... [or] unless you use natural gas... And I thought to myself how dumb do they think we are that they can pretend that an energy tax is not an energy tax and...that every retired American who uses electricity is not going to pay it, and every person in New Hampshire who uses heating oil is not going to pay it, and every person who drives a car isn't going to pay it. I just want to report to Attorney General Holder and President Obama that this is a nation of people courageous enough... to insist that we not be governed by people who won't tell us the truth."

Here's what Boehner says about recent "Cap-and-Trade" proposals that are on the table:
"Families and small businesses are struggling to get by, but the Democrats... would raise taxes on every American who drives a car, flips on a light switch, or buys a product manufactured in the United States. In fact it would cost every family as much as $3,100 a year in additional energy costs through their 'cap-and-trade' energy tax, and will drive millions of good-paying American jobs overseas."

And the Republican Study Committee echoes those sentiments:
"At a time when families across the country are struggling to make ends meet, the President and his Democrat friends want to take over $3,000 in new taxes from every American family in order to appease extreme political cronies. This is not a solution. It is a recipe for economic disaster."

Ben Lieberman of the Heritage Foundation says:
"By limiting the supply of fossil fuels... cap and trade means more expensive gasoline and electricity as well as net job losses in energy-dependent sectors. Senator Lieberman himself concedes costs into the hundreds of billions of dollars. And as the Congressional Budget Office has noted, such energy cost increases act as a regressive tax on the poor."

In other words, as far as Obama's promise to cut taxes for 95% of American wage-earners, forget it. It was nothing more than sleight-of-hand.
But "Cap-and-Trade" is not just a shell game when it comes to your pocketbook. It has the same effect when it comes to jobs. Remember all those jobs Obama promised to create? Ferrara puts that illusion in perspective: "A thorough study on the effects of cap and trade conducted by a leading economics firm, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), concluded that cap and trade would result in job losses of between 1.2 million and 1.8 million by 2020, and 3 to 4 million by 2030. This is roughly the amount of jobs Obama claims will be produced by his economic stimulus package. Slower growth results in a loss of GDP for the American people of nearly $700 billion per year by 2030, which translates into lost household income of $4,000 to $6,750 per year by then."

Make no mistake; "Cap-and-Trade" is not just a confiscatory income killer... it's a job-killer as well.
And, just where do you think all those jobs are going to go? They're going to go to China and India, countries that have no intention of crippling their emerging economies with ridiculous "Cap-and-Trade" schemes. Fraud And Abuse... Rewarding Political Cronies On Your Dime.

Ask yourself the following question. If government controls the supply of allowable CO2 emissions, how long do you think it will take for elected officials to use "Cap-and-Trade" as a tool to reward cronies and punish political enemies?
David Frum of the American Enterprise Institute is one of several commentators who see in this legislation a left-wing plot to reward political friends and punish political foes. "In the name of environmental protection, Democrats are readying just such a transfer on a scale that would have impressed the Pharaohs. Tens of billions of dollars, possibly hundreds of billions, will be shifted from American consumers of electricity to shareholders of favored utility companies in primarily blue states. Under the leadership of uber-liberal Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Democrats are determined to make their plan so complicated that taxpayers will not notice the flocks of dollars migrating from the middle of the country to the coasts."

Of course, such a dynamic has another implication. "Cap-and-Trade" will be a rich man's game. In fact, one extremely wealthy liberal is already playing the "Cap-and-Trade" game.
That rich liberal is Al Gore, and he lives in a 20-room house with eight bathrooms. His house - which looks like Tara in Gone With the Wind - burns carbon like you wouldn't believe. Nashville Electric Service records show that Gore Hall consumes more electricity every month than the average American household uses in an entire year. To be specific: the Department of Energy says the average American consumes 10,656 kilowatt-hours per year. In 2006, Gore consumed some 221,000 kilowatts hours. That's more than 20 times the national average. Of course, in his Academy Award-winning film, Mr. Global Warming told Americans to cut down on their consumption of electricity. So when some folks found him in that enormous house, they thought they detected hypocrisy. Not so, said Gore, "I'm carbon neutral." "Carbon neutral?" Oh yes. At home, Tipper and Al and the kids can burn as many kilowatts and produce as much carbon dioxide as they please - just so long as they buy carbon offsets. And what are carbon offsets? They are "verifiable reductions in CO2" that somebody else is willing to sell. If a company has some extra carbon emissions lying around, it can sell them to Al Gore so he can cool every square inch of that monster house in the summer and heat it from basement to attic in the winter - just as carbon neutral as he can be. And which company sold Gore those carbon offsets? It was a company in Great Britain. And guess who owns a huge chunk of that company? You guessed it... Al Gore.

As blogger Dan Riehl put it: Gore has built a "green money-making machine capable of eventually generating billions of dollars for investors, including himself, but he set it up so that the average Joe can't afford to play on Gore's terms." Do America a favor. Let's defeat this liberal "Cap-and-Trade" scheme right here and right now.

(cartoons from the Patriot Post & Patriot Update)

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