By Gary Bauer
In case news of the dramatic costs to you and your family in the healthcare “reform” proposals circulating through Congress hasn’t scared you enough, another unprecedented tax lurks under the radar. It will punish you every time you flip on a light switch or start your car.
In June, the House of Representatives narrowly passed the Waxman-Markey energy bill, which aims to increase investment in renewable energy and slash carbon emissions by 17 percent by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050. In early October Senators John Kerry and Barbara Boxer unveiled the Senate’s version of the bill. It is even more ambitious, with a goal of cutting emissions by 20 percent by 2020. Last week, South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham broke ranks to support the bill, a move some called a “game changer.”
But as many as 15 Senate Democrats either oppose the bill or are on the fence. Just four or five defections could kill the bill. As the Senate deliberates, you should call your senators with one or more of the Top 10 Reasons to oppose this punishing new tax.
1: IT’S NOT GETTING HOTTER: Five major international climate centers recently reported that average global temperatures have not risen over the past 11 years. In fact, experts say, temperatures actually dipped in eight of the last 11 years. Some scientists now predict that global cooling could continue for another 10 to 20 years.
2: IT’S BAD SCIENCE: A British judge recently ruled that teachers in Great Britain’s school system will be required to issue a warning before they show students An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore’s controversial film on global warming. Gore’s film presents the theory of man-made global warming as fact. But hundreds of scientists have publicly opposed that theory.
3: IT’S JUST A TAX: There’s a reason Democrat John Dingell (Mich.) called the cap-and trade portion of the House bill a “great big” tax. Energy costs will soar under this bill, and those costs will be passed on to consumers.
President Obama has admitted that under a cap-and-trade bill, “electricity rates will necessarily skyrocket.” The Obama administration’s budget director, Peter Orszag, estimated that a 15 percent decrease in emissions would cause the average American family to pay $1,300 in additional utility costs a year. At the upper end, that amount could reach $1,761 a year.
As the Heritage Foundation has stated, “Economists from liberal think tanks, conservative think tanks and industry associations agree that Waxman-Markey will reduce income by hundreds of billions of dollars per year.”
Also, a new study by the Institute for Energy Research examined the legislation’s non cap-and-trade elements, and discovered that it is filled with regulations that would completely alter the United States’ economy. The reports states, “Even without cap-and-trade, Waxman-Markey is the most repressive package of new taxes, wealth transfers and obstacles to economic activity that a Congress has ever assembled.”
4: IT WILL SPREAD YOUR WEALTH AROUND: The Obama administration’s goal is to raise $650 billion through the energy tax. But only $150 billion of that will be devoted to alternative energy production, while the remaining $500 billion gets redistributed to people who don’t pay income taxes.
5: JOBS WILL DISAPPEAR: President Obama assures us that the climate bill will create jobs. But a fresh report from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office states that the legislation would create “significant” job losses from fossil fuel industries as the country shifts to renewable energy. A Heritage Foundation study estimated that the new law would mean 1.9 million fewer jobs by 2012 and $9.4 trillion in lost economic growth.
6: HOME PRICES WILL BE DEPRESSED: Under the new energy regime, most homes for sale would be required to undergo environmental inspections. New homes would have to be 30 percent more energy efficient than the current building code, and 50 percent more efficient by 2014.
7: THE MID-WEST WILL BE HARDEST HIT: Forty-four House Democrats voted against Waxman-Markey. That’s because most of them represent Midwestern states. A new report from the Environmental Protection Agency shows that 10 states, mostly in the Midwest, would be hardest hit. Rust belt senators know the legislation will hurt industry and consumers in their region. And the legislation will punish farmers by raising the cost of fertilizer and diesel fuels, which will increase food prices. “This kind of legislation, beyond a shadow of a doubt, is an assault on farmers and ranchers in an economic way,” said Nebraska Senator Mike Johanns. Meanwhile, the EPA states that coastal states, particularly California and New York, will make out best.
8: AMERICA WILL BE LESS COMPETITIVE: China and India are the first and fourth biggest emitters of carbon dioxide emissions, respectively, but they refuse to commit to binding emissions cuts. As “progressive” Wisconsin Senator Russ Feingold has said, “You know, the other countries won’t play ball…They cannot be given a free pass, and we cannot do cap and trade alone.”
9: IT HAS NEVER WORKED: The European Union has had a cap-and-tax regime since 1997. But 12 of the 15 EU nations that signed on are failing to meet their targets.
Other countries have temporarily abandoned enacting crippling cap-and-trade schemes. The Australian government’s Emission Trading Scheme legislation has been postponed until mid-2011 because of popular backlash fueled in part by increasing evidence against man-made global warming, as well as increasing recognition of the legislation’s economic toll.
10: HASTE MAKES WASTE: The House passed its version of the bill, which is almost 1,500 pages long, at a cost of about $900 billion. Members had less than 16 hours to read the final bill before it was voted on. Legislators are seizing power and adding unprecedented tax burdens to Americans without even reading the legislation.
In the face of the harsh scientific, fiscal and political realities of climate control legislation, the Senate will try to push this bill through with little debate. The Obama administration has made it known that it wants a bill passed ahead of the United Nations’ December summit on global warming. And while some Senate leaders say the legislation is not coming up this year, in Obama’s Washington, any day can produce new surprises. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has said he is pushing the legislation “as hard and as fast as we can.”
It’s time for Americans to push back, and let their senators know that this is one tax too many.