Thursday, June 25, 2009

Cap and Trade: Largest Tax Increase in World History

While you're all being bamboozled by Barack Obama's lastest follies, keep in mind you're about to be whacked with the biggest tax hike ever. Be sure to send thanks to the ugliest man ever, Henry Waxman. That's if you can afford to send a thank you once this boondoggle hits home.
THE House votes this week on the American Clean Energy and Security Act -- which claims to be about slowing global warming, but in fact is a massive tax hike that would vastly expand the federal government's power over the economy.

Indeed, the Waxman-Markey bill (as it's commonly called, after its two chief sponsors) would be the largest tax increase in world history, as well as transfer vast wealth from consumers to big-business special interests.

And it would put Washington in charge of people's lives in a way not seen since the Second World War -- which was the last time Americans needed ration coupons to buy gasoline, food and other commodities.

The core of the complex 1,201-page bill is what's called a "cap and trade" system. This would put a cap or limit on greenhouse-gas emissions -- mainly on carbon dioxide produced by burning coal, oil and natural gas, three fuels that provide more than 80 percent of America's energy. And the law lowers the cap every few years -- ordering emissions to drop 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 and 83 percent below by 2050.

The "trade" part of the scheme would let companies buy and sell the government-issued ration coupons. Thus, a business closing down a factory and moving overseas could sell its no-longer-needed coupons to a firm that's still trying to stay in business.

Cap-and-trade backers tell us that it's a reasonable, effective way of replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy sources and higher energy efficiency. But it's proving anything but reasonable or effective in the European Union, which started a similar scheme several years ago. The prices of ration coupons have fluctuated wildly, electric rates have risen steeply and emissions haven't gone down (at least not until businesses began curtailing production in this recession).

But even if it produced the promised results, cap-and-trade wouldn't be worth it.

For starters, the bill's sneaky, indirect tax is still a tax -- and a huge one. This would vastly increase fossil-fuel prices -- which would make greens happy by making higher-priced alternatives such as wind power competitive, but would make Americans as a whole miserable, by forcing us to use less energy and pay much more for it.

Realize, too, that almost every recession of the last 60 years, including today's mess, has followed a sharp rise in energy prices. Why would we want lawmakers to mandate a recession?

Understandably, Waxman-Markey's supporters pretend the bill's impact won't be too severe. But independent economic studies have estimated the costs from $1,500 to more than $3,000 per year for the average family.
Keep in mind that's on the low end, to be kind. Expect your tab to be at least double that number.

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