Tags: climate | bill | carbon

Washington Post: Climate Bill Badly Flawed

Sunday, 24 May 2009 02:12 PM

By Phil Brennan

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The so-called cap and trade bill allegedly designed to drastically reduce carbon emissions is “badly flawed,” would cost the U.S. economy trillions of dollars, create a vast army of bureaucrats and make “The opportunities for waste, fraud and regulatory screw-up look enormous,” warns the Washington Post.

The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, also known as the Waxman-Markey bill after its authors, is now awaiting action by the other committees of House of Representatives after being approved by the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

It is, the Post writes, a "monster piece of legislation that promises to reduce by 83 percent over the next 40 years the amount of carbon emitted into the atmosphere from American cars, power plants and factories.” According to the Post, there are few pieces of legislation that are “likely to have a more profound effect on the U.S. Economy.”

The bill, says Rep. Joseph Pitts, R-Pa., is a tax bill, warning that "No matter how it is doctored or tailored, it is a tax." Michigan Democratic Rep. John Dingell also has called it nothing less than a tax.

Aside from the fact that many scientists and other critics question the allegation that CO2, a benign gas essential to all plant life, is helping to create global warming, the almost 1,000-page bill would have a devastating effect on the average American family. If enacted, it would cost a U.S. family at least $3,100 a year in added expenses, and over a 20-year period result in the loss of 7 million jobs, Republican studies show.

Peter Orszag, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, admitted that a 15 percent cut in carbon dioxide emissions would slash Americans’ incomes. Testifying before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee last year, he stated that the lowest quintile of households would pay an average of $680 more each year for goods and services (3.3 percent of their incomes) and the highest would pay $2,180 more (1.7 percent of their incomes) than they would have in the absence of carbon rationing.

Writing in the Post, Steven Pearlstein explains that the bill would cause dramatic changes in the relative prices of energy and goods produced by energy-hungry industries, redistribute trillions of dollars in business sales and household income and generate hundreds of billions in government revenue.

All told, Pearlstein writes, it would be “the most dramatic extension of government's regulatory powers into the workings of the economy since the early days of the New Deal.”

The bill, he explains, would result in the creation of dozens of new government agencies having the authority to establish standards, dole out rebates and tax subsidies, and pick winning and losing technologies, even as it relies on newly created markets with newly created regulators to set prices and allocate resources.

According to Investor’s Business Daily, the bill awaits action by the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee and perhaps the Agriculture Committee as well and could be tied up for months before it can ever get a floor vote by the full House.

Pearlstein concludes that it’s not too late to change our minds about the bill.

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