Friday, July 3, 2009

Call your Senators now!

We have got to stop "cap and trade"! It doesn't even make sense! Buying the right to pollute is not going to help our economy or our environment. Maybe if we would just make it easier on small farmers, encourage recycling and other "green stuff" instead of making it so expensive... grr... well, I don't talk right, so read these two articles, they're awesome. Then call or email your Senators and tell them they'd better not vote for this piece of insanity.

Thank you.

The "American Clean Energy and Security" Rip-Off

By Peter Orvetti
Published 06/29/09

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On Friday evening, the House of Representatives passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES), a well-intentioned but misbegotten Frankenstein monster of a bill intended to combat climate change. Republicans Mary Bono Mack, Mike Castle, Mark Kirk, Frank LoBiondo, John McHugh, Dave Reichert, and Chris Smith joined 211 Democrats to put the bill over the top 219-212. Showing the profiles in courage typical to elected politicians, about three dozen Democrats hung back during the roll call until passage was certain, waiting until they could safely vote no without riling their party's leaders.

As its sponsors struggled to make it palatable to representatives from energy-producing states, the bill swelled from 942 pages to just over 1,200, leaving undecided members little time to digest the new material. This brings to mind Rep. John Conyers's admission to Michael Moore that members of Congress "don't really read most of the bills" they vote for, because it would "slow down the legislative process."

Two weeks after his election as president, Barack Obama said, "Few challenges facing America and the world are more urgent than combating climate change. The science is beyond dispute and the facts are clear." Shortly thereafter, more than 100 scientists signed a newspaper advertisement responding, "With all due respect Mr. President, that is not true." The scientists, from places as varied and esteemed as Los Alamos National Laboratory, the American Physical Society, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Princeton University, and the University of Pennsylvania, said the "case for alarm regarding climate change is grossly overstated."

But even many who are not skeptical about global warming found things to dislike in ACES. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, who voted against it, said, "It won't address the problem. In fact, it might make the problem worse." Kucinich faulted the bill's "Enron-style accounting methods" and allocation of $60 billion for Carbon Capture and Sequestration, "a single technology which may or may not work." Kucinich faulted the corporate welfare embedded in the bill, saying that the "trillion dollar carbon derivatives market will help Wall Street investors," with any benefits "passed through coal companies and other large corporations, on whom we will rely to pass on the savings."

"I take climate change seriously," libertarian economist Megan McArdle wrote last week. But she said the projections for ACES's "effect on global warming are entirely negligible," and any hope that U.S. passage of the bill will "persuade China and India to get on board" is "entirely wishful thinking on the part of American environmentalists. China is not going to let its citizens languish in subsistence farming because 30 years from now, some computer models say there will be some not-well-specified bad effects from high temperatures. Nor is India."

Indeed, United Nations data suggest that ACES will reduce global warming by 0.07 of a degree Fahrenheit by 2050. In exchange, the U.S. risks sparking a trade war with those two massive economic powers when their own near-certain failure to act results in U.S. sanctions. While the Congressional Budget Office says ACES will drive up the average family's energy bill by about $175 per year by 2020, that does not take into account the larger economic cost.

A Center for Data Analysis study concludes ACES will hurt the gross domestic product by $9.4 trillion by 2035 and cost the average family $1,241 per year. That's because, as the Wall Street Journal put it last week, "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." A British analysis finds the average family there is paying nearly $1,300 a year for carbon-cutting programs that were introduced just a few years ago.

As Obama himself said during his run for the Democratic presidential nomination, "Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket. Businesses would have to retrofit their operations. That will cost money. They will pass that cost onto consumers." Meanwhile, reductions in consumer spending will necessarily mean a decline in production which could eliminate more than 1.1 million jobs.

This is an awful lot to pay for legislation that will not reduce global warming and will not encourage other major economic powers to become more environmentally conscious. Maybe next time, Congress should read the bill before voting on it.

Copyright © 2009 Peter Orvetti

Cap and Trade Equals Fraud and Tax
By Glenn Jacobs
Published 07/01/09

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H.R. 2454: American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 will result in a totalitarian centralization of the American economy in the administrative agencies of the federal government, especially the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This 1,300 page horror is a prime example of congressional modus operandi -- no one in Congress actually had the opportunity to read the bill which was, incidentally, being amended as it was debated on the floor. As H.R. 2454 shows, this axiom still holds true: the more benign the title of a congressional bill, the more draconian its contents. After all, who could be against clean energy or security? The real goal of H.R. 2454 has nothing to do with either of these; it is a power grab, pure and simple.

While we have all heard much about the tax implications of H.R. 2454 and that every American family could see a $3,000 a year increase in their energy costs, H.R. 2454 does much more than that. H.R. 2454 is a fascistic fait accompli, giving the government expansive powers to regulate, subsidize, and tax more sectors of the economy. The bill authorizes more federal government control over the electrical grid, state and local building codes, lighting and appliances, industry, the financial markets, and, perhaps most ominously of all, the health care system. In addition, it includes wealth redistribution measures and would allow increases in foreign aid.

Part of the rhetoric surrounding H.R. 2454 is that it will help break America's dependency on foreign oil by encouraging development of renewable energy sources. Most likely, the opposite will happen as oil companies "cope with U.S. carbon legislation by closing fuel plants, cutting capital spending and increasing imports."

Ironically, cap and trade -- the cornerstone of H.R. 2454 -- does not protect the environment! Even Greenpeace opposed H.R. 2454, recognizing that it "chooses politics over science." While I would argue that the science to which Greenpeace refers is dubious at best, there is no question that H.R. 2454 has put politics above all else.

In a cap and trade system, the government deems a certain level of pollution acceptable as long as the polluter pays a tax. That's like saying that it's acceptable for someone to throw trash on your lawn so long as he has bought a government permit. Even worse, he can throw even more trash on your lawn if he buys additional permits from someone who refrains from throwing trash on your lawn. In effect, cap and trade legalizes pollution.

Advocates of cap and trade have used tortured logic to portray it as a market based system. James Boyce, an economist at the University of Massachusetts, claims that "this is the biggest creation and allocation of property rights since the Homestead Act." This statement is false on its face and falls into the realm of fantasy.

Unlike the Homestead Act which dealt with property that actually existed in the real world, the property rights to which Boyce refers have been created exclusively through government edit. There is no such thing as a "carbon credit" except on a bureaucrat's spreadsheet. Boyce's statement turns the concept of property rights -- the basis of a free society -- on its head. The "right" to pollute is not a form of property, it is a government granted privilege.

No one has a "right" to have clean air and water provided for them at someone else's expense. But no one should have the "right" to pollute air or water that he does not own. Far from creating a new form of property rights, cap and trade undermines the property rights that we own in our own bodies by granting polluters the legal privilege of polluting resources that they do not own and that we put into our bodies, i.e. air and water.

Litigation (in the cases where harm has come to individuals) and a strict respect for property rights offer much more effective ways of dealing with pollution than regulation does.

True environmentalists -- those of us who are concerned about things such as clean air and water -- should oppose schemes like H.R. 2454. H.R. 2454 is not designed to clean up the environment. It is designed to generate more revenue for the government and to give the government more power over the economy, our lives, and our freedom. And it does so at the expense of the environment.

Copyright © 2009 Campaign for Liberty

If ya aren't convinced yet, research it for yourself. Read over the bill, it's scary in its vagueness... They can seriously tax our cow for her flatulence... that's not right, friends. I thought the organic farming fiasco of a bill was bad... this one is worse. I really fear for America if it passes.

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