THERE'S TIME TO GET CLIMATE POLICY RIGHT
November 25, 2009
Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) have offered a global warming bill that would further the government's growing stranglehold on the economy by commandeering the energy sector through climate legislation. Though there will be some differences from the Waxman-Markey bill that barely passed the House of Representatives in late June, the core of the bill will be the same: a cap-and-trade scheme that will amount to the largest energy tax ever foisted upon the American people, say H. Sterling Burnett, a senior fellow, and James Franko, a legislative assistant, both the with National Center for Policy Analysis.
Raising taxes on energy, the lifeblood of the economy, during a recession is hardly a stroke of genius, say Burnett and Franko:
- According to Treasury Department, in a memo that the Obama administration had tried to suppress but was forced to release under the Freedom of Information Act, the Waxman-Markey climate change bill will cost each family as much as $1,761 each year.
- More recently, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated the Waxman-Markey bill could reduce U.S. gross domestic product by 3 percent below what would otherwise occur -- that's hundreds of billions of dollars of lost productivity.
And, those are the rosy estimates if the government gets everything right. As other economic analyses make clear, anything less than perfection and the costs really increase, say Burnett and Franko.
If one is truly worried about the effects of global warming, America could take action right now that would both help the economy and reduce CO2 emissions, say Burnett and Franko:
- By removing taxpayer subsidies for fuel use and eliminating regulatory barriers to nuclear power and biotechnology, we can decrease CO2 emissions right away.
- In addition, we could end government-subsidized flood insurance, which encourages people to overbuild on the coasts and in floodplains -- a bad idea even if sea levels aren't rising.
Actions such as these, rather than government rationing of energy, would allow families, not politicians, to make great gains during a recession, say Burnett and Franko.
Source: H. Sterling Burnett and James Franko, "There's time to get climate policy right," Washington Examiner, November 25, 2009.
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