Edwin J. Feulner / May 28, 2009

A Sure-Fire Economy Killer

Some things, virtually everyone agrees on. We all want a cleaner environment. And we all want a booming economy.

Last week, the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved a bill that’s being marketed as a way to give us a “better” environment. Unfortunately the legislation, sponsored by Democratic Reps. Henry Waxman of California and Edward Markey of Massachusetts, would inflict tremendous economic pain for no discernable environmental gain.

The bill would do two things: 1) force companies to make more energy efficient (and far more expensive) products, and 2) create a cap-and-trade system that serves as a massive tax on fossil fuels.

The energy mandates include a requirement that the nation increase production of electricity from renewable sources fivefold in the decades to come. This may or may not be technically possible. But the bill shows little regard for technical – or economic – realities.

The cap-and-trade portion of the law is even more problematic.

Cap-and-trade forces businesses and consumers to either use less fossil-fuel based energy or buy credits from businesses that do. It would give immense power to unelected bureaucrats, who’d be in charge of deciding how much carbon certain industries would be allowed to emit.

Using a well-known and widely respected computer model, economists at The Heritage Foundation ran simulations to see what would happen if Waxman-Markey becomes law. The study shows that energy prices would soar, even as the economy sheds millions of jobs.

For a typical family of four, direct energy costs (gasoline, natural gas and electricity) would increase by some $800 per year each year until 2035. All together during the years 2012-2035, a typical family of four would see its direct energy costs soar by $19,900. And that price tag doesn’t even include the indirect costs consumers would have to pay for more efficient, yet more expensive, appliances.

Cap and trade is like a massive tax on productivity. After all, “productivity” – making things, going places – requires the use of energy. So it’s no surprise that the Heritage study shows our nation’s economy would take a big hit.

“On average, employment is lower by 1,105,000 jobs,” the study found. “In some years cap and trade reduces employment by nearly 2.5 million jobs.”

It’s ironic that, just a few months ago, lawmakers raced to pass a so-called stimulus package that would supposedly pull the country out of its first deep recession in two decades. Yet today they’re trying to pass a bill that would destroy jobs, year-in and year-out, for decades. Waxman-Markey is like a self-imposed, rolling recession.

The Heritage analysis also found that Waxman-Markey would make the national debt – already piling up around our children and grandchildren – even worse. The bill would increase the national debt 26 percent by 2035. That’s an additional $29,150 per person, or $116,600 for a family of four, over what the debt would be without the bill.

Some might say this would all be worth it if the bill slows down global warming. According to climatologists, though, the bill would do virtually nothing to cool the planet. Even if they’re completely effective, the bill’s measures would lower global temperatures by only a few hundredths of one degree by 2050 and no more than two-tenths of a degree by the end of the century. Good luck measuring that difference.

Lawmakers may hope to win praise from future generations by taking what they consider to be a brave stance against global warming. But if they succeed in destroying our economy to fight that specter, they’ll deserve only scorn.

The United States can’t afford to try to cool the planet by icing our economy. 

Start a conversation using these share links:

Who We Are

The Patriot Post is a highly acclaimed weekday digest of news analysis, policy and opinion written from the heartland — as opposed to the MSM’s ubiquitous Beltway echo chambers — for grassroots leaders nationwide. More

What We Offer

On the Web

We provide solid conservative perspective on the most important issues, including analysis, opinion columns, headline summaries, memes, cartoons and much more.

Via Email

Choose our full-length Digest or our quick-reading Snapshot for a summary of important news. We also offer Cartoons & Memes on Monday and Alexander’s column on Wednesday.

Our Mission

The Patriot Post is steadfast in our mission to extend the endowment of Liberty to the next generation by advocating for individual rights and responsibilities, supporting the restoration of constitutional limits on government and the judiciary, and promoting free enterprise, national defense and traditional American values. We are a rock-solid conservative touchstone for the expanding ranks of grassroots Americans Patriots from all walks of life. Our mission and operation budgets are not financed by any political or special interest groups, and to protect our editorial integrity, we accept no advertising. We are sustained solely by you. Please support The Patriot Fund today!

★ PUBLIUS ★

“Our cause is noble; it is the cause of mankind!” —George Washington

The Patriot Post is protected speech, as enumerated in the First Amendment and enforced by the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, in accordance with the endowed and unalienable Rights of All Mankind.

Copyright © 2022 The Patriot Post. All Rights Reserved.

The Patriot Post does not support Internet Explorer. We recommend installing the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome.