NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


July 27, 2010

After a Thursday meeting with Senate Democrats, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has apparently dropped plans to pursue cap-and-trade before the August recess.  He doesn't have the votes to overcome a GOP filibuster, and saving the earth from a phantom threat stands way below jobs on Americans' wish list.  But watch out after November, says Investor's Business Daily (IBD). 

"What he suggested is that we move forward on several bills to address energy and the oil spill and then continue to work on the climate piece when we get back," Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), said after the meeting in the Capitol. 

The bill will not include a renewable-electricity production mandate that's been floating around the Senate in various forms and would boost power sources such as solar and geothermal that currently consume huge subsidies while contributing relatively little in terms of our energy mix.  The inconvenient truth is that the proposed Renewable Energy Standard (RES) is an economic catastrophe waiting to happen, says IBD.  The Heritage Foundation's Center for Data Analysis has crunched the numbers and found that at an RES would: 

  • Raise electricity prices by 36 percent for households and 60 percent for industry.
  • Cut gross domestic product (GDP) by $5.2 trillion between 2012 and 2035.
  • Cut national income by $2,400 a year for a family of four.
  • Reduce employment by more than 1 million jobs.
  • Add more than $10,000 to a family of four's share of the national debt by 2035. 

Reid's gambit is only temporary and part of a plan to pass a stripped-down energy bill capitalizing on oil spill angst, then adding in the onerous cap-and-trade provisions in conference in the upcoming lame duck session of Congress, says IBD. 

Senate cap-and-trade point man John Kerry has said that his proposal, the American Power Act, will be considered in a lame duck session.  Waxman-Markey sponsor Rep. Henry Waxman has told reporters that in conference, he will reinsert the full-blown cap-and-trade program during that session. 

The only way to finally defeat cap-and-trade may be to ensure that any energy bill, stripped-down or otherwise, is a dead duck before the lame ducks can act, says IBD. 

Source: Editorial, "Cap-And-Trade On Ice," Investor's Business Journal, July 26, 2010. 

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