Wednesday, September 30, 2009

John Kerry Introduces Senate Version of Cap and Tax

In a characteristic act of political cynicism, Senator John Kerry (D., MA), along with Senator Barbara Boxer (D., CA), have renamed H.R.2454 - The American Clean Energy And Security Act of 2009, better known as the Waxman-Markey Cap and Trade bill. Kerry, who served in Vietnam, is introducing legislation today which he calls the "Clean Jobs and American Power Act". I assume he believes Americans are gullible enough to think that any bill with Joe Biden's three letter word, "jobs", contained in the title must be good.

Of course the Kerry-Boxer plan is virtually the same plan as Waxman-Markey, which had been shelved this summer after Americans realized it was nothing more than an economically devastating tax on energy to fight a non-existent problem (man-made global warming), a theory which scientists are abandoning in droves. In fact, the U.S. Northeast is bracing for what could be the coldest winter in a decade. What's that old saying? You can't polish a...

We have discussed the cap and tax issue before. Some previous posts on the topic can be found here, here, and here. Kerry's plan is loaded with inconsistencies and outright nonsense but for now I'll limit myself to just a few of the many ridiculous claims he makes in an op-ed he wrote for today's Politico in advance of his legislation's official introduction. Kerry begins his piece this way:

For decades, politicians have talked about the importance of ending America’s addiction to oil and investing in energy that is made in America and that works for America — from coal and nuclear to solar and wind.

First, if one wasn't aware of Mr. Kerry's propensity to have it both ways, it appears that he is a proponent of coal. That's news to Bob Murray, owner of Murray energy, a large coal company. In 2004, he was asked to comment on then presidential candidate John Kerry's record with regard to the coal industry:

"I can't imagine any other human being in America worse, except maybe that fat guy in the ball cap, than this guy," said Bob Murray of the Democratic presidential candidate. "Based on the voting records of both John Kerry and John Edwards, they would be a disaster for the affordable, reliable energy needed for the standard of living ofevery American. Fifty-two per cent of the electricity in America comes from coal, 88% in Ohio."

I don't know who Mr. Murray is referring too when he says "fat guy in the ball cap" but I can make a guess. Mr. Kerry certainly has an ally in the White House who shares his goal of destroying the coal industry. Kerry also appears to be endorsing nuclear energy. However, back in the 2004 campaign Kerry tried to pull a "John Kerry" on nuclear energy too, as Steven Milloy discusses at

Kerry's Web site states that "nuclear power can play an essential role in providing affordable energy while reducing the risk of climate change." His aides also say he is for nuclear power.

So far, so good. But then on a recent campaign stop in Las Vegas — about 100 miles away from the planned Yucca Mountain (search) site for the long-term disposal of waste from nuclear power plants — Kerry said, "When I'm president of the United States, I'll tell you about Yucca Mountain: Not on my watch."

The realty of the matter, however, is that you can't be "for" nuclear energy (search) but "against" Yucca Mountain.


Kerry also trots out the liberal fantasy that solar and wind are economically and technically feasible alternatives to oil and gas. They're not. But if we take away coal and nuclear energy, as Kerry's long public record indicates he'll do, that's what we're left with. In his piece, Kerry also promulgates the standard liberal line that only the "rich" will pay for his plan:

This system is tough on corporate pollution, taking aim at America’s largest polluters: those emitting 25,000 tons of carbon each year. The 7,500 facilities covered in 2012 — mostly power plants, industrial facilities and petroleum and petrochemical operations — account for nearly three-quarters of America’s carbon emissions. Farmers and nearly all small business are exempt. More than 98 percent of all American businesses fall below the threshold.

Whenever a politician makes a claim like this, it's quite clear how out of depth said politician is with regard to how the economy works. Only someone who has managed to spend his entire adult life avoiding work in the private sector thinks this way. Corporations don't pay taxes, they collect them. The corporation's customers pay them.

Kerry claims farmers and small businesses are exempt from paying his taxes? Well, maybe those farmers and small businesses that don't require energy to produce their product or ship it to market are exempt, but for everyone else, it's a crippling tax increase. Even Representative John Dingell (D., MI) admitted cap and trade, no matter what Kerry wants to call it, is a huge tax increase:

Mr. Dingell is exactly correct. Kerry's plan is nothing more than a huge tax increase at a time the economy can't afford another tax hike. Kerry ends his piece, naturally, by attacking the oil companies:

For too long, Washington let Big Oil and special interests stand between us and our goals. This has hurt our economy, helped our enemies and risked our security.

What has hurt our economy, helped our enemies, and risked our security is politicians like Mr. Kerry, who know nothing about basic economics or energy. All of these issues would quickly go away if the U.S. energy sector was permitted to develop the vast energy resources we have right here in America. Governor Palin, in her Hong Kong speech, briefly discussed her vision for addressing these problems:

It seems like some are looking to ever more ways that will actually destroy economic opportunities today. Take for example, Washington’s cap-and-trade scheme. I call it the “cap-and-tax” scheme. Right now we have the highest unemployment rate in 25 years, and it’s still rising. And yet some in D.C. are pushing a cap-and-tax bill that could cripple our energy industry or energy market and dramatically increase the rates of the unemployed, and that’s not just in the energy sector.

American jobs in every industry will be threatened by the rising cost of doing business under this cap-and-tax plan. The cost of farming will certainly increase. That’s going to drive up the cost of groceries and drive down farm incomes. The cost of manufacturing, warehousing and transportation will also rise. We are all going to feel the effects. The Americans hardest hit will be those who are already struggling to make ends meet today, much less with this new tax every month…

More here. It is clear from Mr. Kerry's introduction of his Senate version of cap and tax today that the Democrats aren't giving up on this boondoggle yet. The prospects of it's passage are uncertain at best but make no mistake, the Democrat Party intends to extend government control over the energy sector in addition to the health care sector. Mr. Kerry's plan needs to be defeated so that he can go back to what he does best, windsurfing off Martha's Vineyard.

Update: (H/T/ Whitney) Read more about this latest version of cap and tax here.

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