Does your family have a spare $1,600 to throw away? Most families in Georgia would answer that question with a resounding “no,” but $1,600 is the projected cost per family that will result if the energy and climate change bill passed by the House of Representatives makes it way through the U.S. Senate and becomes law.
That’s not my opinion. It’s the projection of the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office. Long before the House vote was taken June 26, the CBO projected that the Waxman/Markey bill (as the legislation is commonly referred to) would cost the average family $1,600 in net income.
Despite the CBO’s warning, House Democrats hid behind the banner of environmentalism and passed a bill that amounts to a giant energy tax and one of the biggest single tax hikes in American history.
Waxman-Markey is so full of loopholes for connected insiders that it’s doubtful it will do anything to deliver on its stated goal of reducing the greenhouse gas emissions linked to global warming. But the cap and trade system at the center of the bill will without doubt deliver slabs of political pork in the form of free carbon emission permits for favored industries. A trading system for emissions permits will make fat profits for the Wall Street derivatives brokers Waxman-Markey puts in charge.
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This disaster of a bill only passed by the narrowest of margins, 219-212. Forty-four Democrats had the independence to buck their party leadership and vote against the bill. Unfortunately that number did not include our own Democratic congressman, Sanford Bishop.
It seems to me Congressman Bishop has some explaining to do the next time he visits us. I would love to hear him explain why he voted for a bill that will quickly drive up the cost of electric power in Georgia and elsewhere by forcing utilities to produce 12 percent of their power from renewable energy sources by 2020. Renewable energy sources like wind and solar power might be the sources of the future, but a distant future at best.
For the foreseeable future renewable energy is incredibly expensive. The market and the technology have not grown to the point where renewable energy can be sold efficiently or economically. Mandating this forced switch to renewable sources in a relatively short time guarantees higher electric rates, which is where part of your $1,600 will go.
This might be a little easier to swallow if Waxman/Markey were a case of shared national sacrifice toward the common goals of cleaner air and defeating climate change. Sad to say, this is not the case. The sacrifice falls disproportionately on the backs of everyday Americans trying to cope with an economy in deep recession. And with national unemployment at a 26-year high, the sacrifices of Waxman-Markey include the loss of a projected 2.2 million U.S. jobs.
I guess we had to expect trouble from a bill that involved so much arm-twisting and side deals that 302 pages worth of amendments were added to it at 3 a.m. the night before the House vote.
Which brings me back to Sanford Bishop’s “aye” vote. I hope it won him the gratitude of the Democratic Party bosses in Congress, because it’s not going to make him any friends here when everyone learns what Waxman-Markey has in store for them.
Congressman Bishop and those who joined him in passing this tax on the American people have done so with no constitutional authority. None. Zero. The Tenth Amendment is clear on this point — powers not delegated to the federal government are reserved to the states and the people, and so it is with regulating carbon emissions. The state of Georgia should act now to pass legislation declaring the carbon tax legislation unconstitutional and directing the attorney general of Georgia to file a legal challenge to its enforcement in this sovereign state.
It is time for Congressman Bishop and others to get the message — Americans do not want massive energy taxes to support failed policies and Georgians are tired of the encroachment of the federal government in every aspect of their lives.Josh McKoon is chair of the Muscogee County Republican Party and an announced candidate for the Georgia Senate.