NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


July 15, 2009

The Waxman-Markey bill to restrict carbon dioxide emissions would cost $846 billion in the next decade alone, in the form of required payments for emissions allowances, according to a June 5 report from the Congressional Budget Office.  The bill has been approved by the U.S. House of Representatives and is pending action in the Senate.  The CBO findings support statements, by both critics and supporters of the bill, noting consumers will pay higher energy prices if carbon dioxide restrictions are imposed on the American public.

According to Drew Thornley, an adjunct scholar with the National Center for Policy Analysis:

  • Government likes cap-and-trade because it is a hidden, or indirect, tax for which industry, rather than Congress or the president, will get the blame when energy prices rise.
  • The public gets smacked twice -- once by higher food and fuel prices and a second time by having to pay for those unemployed by the bill.
  • In addition, the increased unemployment benefits will require cuts to other programs, higher taxes, or bigger deficits.

Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), chairman of the congressional Western Caucus, says Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) is not truly concerned about the effects of the bill on energy prices or jobs.

"Right now, many Americans are making the responsible decision to cut back on expenses and tighten their belts in order to weather these challenging economic times," Bishop said.  "Yet Democrats in Congress refuse to adopt that same type of fiscal restraint.  Instead, they remain more steadfast than ever in their commitment to excessive spending habits -- habits bankrolled by the hardworking American taxpayer."

"Cap-and-trade captures the very essence of the Democrat tax-and-spend model that continues to wage war on the American pocketbook," Bishop added.  "This national energy tax will discourage job creation, drive up energy costs, derail energy independence, and diminish domestic supply.  And yet, there is no sound scientific evidence that proves these policies will bring about effective and measurable change other than job loss and increased costs."

Source: H. Sterling Burnett, "Waxman-Markey Bill Would Raise Electricity Prices $846 Billion," Heartland Institute, August 2009.


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