(Alexandria, VA) – Shortly after Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and John Kerry (D-MA) unveiled their version of so-called “cap-and-trade” emissions control legislation, Pete Sepp, Vice President for Policy and Communications with the 362,000-member National Taxpayers Union (NTU) provided the following the statement on behalf of his organization:
The Boxer-Kerry cap-and-trade legislation is only the latest climate change bill that would condemn taxpayers to poverty and the American economy to oblivion. Arguably, it would exert more control over a bigger sector of our economy than even the most radical proposals for national health care. That’s because energy, especially carbon-based energy, is a factor in the production or provision of virtually every good or service in America. From the local pizza place that relies on a fleet of delivery vehicles to the airlines we use to visit our families, from the furniture factory that uses gas-fired electricity to the coal mine on which a local town depends for employment, cap-and-trade will mean higher prices, fewer jobs, and lower rates of return for millions of middle class investors and retirees.
An internal Treasury Department memo recently uncovered through a Freedom of Information Act request revealed that the Administration admitted its cap-and-trade plan could cost American taxpayers $100 to $200 billion annually. After initially redacting the information, the Treasury indicated that additional economic costs – such as higher energy prices – could raise the total as high as several hundred billion dollars more. That works out to a combined direct and indirect burden of $3,000-$5,000 per family every year. Such a price tag would be difficult to justify in the best of times; in the current recessionary climate, it is absolutely unconscionable.
Even supporters of cap-and-trade admit that their legislation would, at best, have only a small impact on global temperatures. So much pain for so little gain is unacceptable to the majority of Americans, as recent polls demonstrate.
Rather than gamble on a discredited cap-and-trade system, Senators should advocate environmentally sound reforms that also improve economic productivity. Restructuring the nation’s air traffic control and highway operations would reduce wasted time as well as emissions from wasted fuel. Removing regulatory barriers to developing more emissions-friendly alternatives such as nuclear and hydropower will reduce our reliance on foreign oil, as will careful exploration for more domestic petroleum sources. Low taxes can help the private sector cultivate green technologies without government subsidies.
America can’t afford the Boxer-Kerry bill. It’s time to look for real alternatives.
NTU is a nonpartisan, nonprofit citizen organization founded in 1969 to work for lower taxes, smaller government, accountability from public officials, and economic freedom at all levels. Note: additional analyses of cap-and-trade plans are available at www.ntu.org.