A Desperate Obama Tries to Sell Cap-And-Tax as a Jobs Bill

Marc Sheppard
With the head count still short of the 218 required to pass the Waxman-Markey cap-and-tax bill in the House today, president Obama hit the airwaves yesterday to tell perhaps the greatest lie yet about the proposed law.  That it will create jobs.

We’ve heard the lie that it will reduce atmospheric CO2 levels.  Similar schemes in Europe have had a total of Zero impact on such escalating concentrations. We’ve endured the lie that reduced CO2 levels will result in lower global temperatures.  With global temperatures flat or falling in the past decade as CO2 levels continue to rise, this scare-tactic is quickly losing whatever actual scientific credibility it ever had. We’ve suffered the lie that the costs to the average American family of reducing emissions through cap-and-tax will be negligible. That the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates climate legislation would cost the average household only $175 a year by 2020. But the CBO estimate focuses primarily on the cost of administering the trading markets rather than on its overall economic impacts. A Heritage study suggests that when all such economic impacts are considered, the true annual household cost may be has high as $6,800.

Now Obama tells us that the bill “will make possible the creation of millions of new jobs.” Yet according to Indiana Republican Mike Pence’s floor speech this morning, the ever-changing bill makes provisions to aid the millions of Americans it puts out of work.  And that same Heritage study suggests that figure may reach as high as 2.5 million.

Obama cited 3000 people put to work building a California solar plant that will employ an additional 1000.  And Florida projects that are “expected” to create 1,400 jobs. 

Big deal. 

In January, the president held out the energy policies of Spain as a shining example of how successful a “government-aided” cap-and-tax plan could be.  But in reality, a “green bubble” inflated by a perpetuating yet unsustainable cycle of Spanish government subsidies for “green jobs” resulted in a net loss of two traditional jobs for every green one created.  And, not unlike Obama’s “shovel-ready” construction jobs, the majority of the Spanish “green” jobs were temporary in nature, further decimating the Spanish workforce as they phased out.  And as the Spanish government continued to pump more money into inadequate power sources, energy prices skyrocketed, driving industry to cheaper ground in other countries.  As a result, Spain’s unemployment rate now stands at a staggering 18 percent.

On the House floor this morning we were reminded that during the embarrassingly brief debate of the bill before the House Energy Committee, Republicans offered three “safety-valve” amendments to safeguard against such unintended consequences. These would have suspended cap-and-tax rules if gasoline hit $5 a gallon, if electricity prices rose 10% over 2009 levels, or if unemployment rates hit 15%.  But the Democrats defeated them all.

Yet amendments intended to shore up votes from rural Democrats are just fine.  Case in point - the recent amendment brokered by Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn) which would shift regulation enforcement from the EPA to the farmer-friendly U.S. Department of Agriculture.   Such eleventh-hour horse-trading has also forced Waxman to accept lower initial cap limits which will later need to climb precipitously to please liberal Democrats.  Such abrupt shifts will inevitably send corporations and utilities scrambling to purchase permits, the price of which will then skyrocket, forcing further rate and price hikes upon the American consumer. 

And will, just as it has in Obama’s beloved Spain, precipitate corporate flight and its inescapable byproduct -- rampant unemployment.

“Now, make no mistake,” Obama assured us yesterday, “this is a jobs bill.”

But the facts are assuring us that nothing could be further from the truth.

With the head count still short of the 218 required to pass the Waxman-Markey cap-and-tax bill in the House today, president Obama hit the airwaves yesterday to tell perhaps the greatest lie yet about the proposed law.  That it will create jobs.

We’ve heard the lie that it will reduce atmospheric CO2 levels.  Similar schemes in Europe have had a total of Zero impact on such escalating concentrations. We’ve endured the lie that reduced CO2 levels will result in lower global temperatures.  With global temperatures flat or falling in the past decade as CO2 levels continue to rise, this scare-tactic is quickly losing whatever actual scientific credibility it ever had. We’ve suffered the lie that the costs to the average American family of reducing emissions through cap-and-tax will be negligible. That the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates climate legislation would cost the average household only $175 a year by 2020. But the CBO estimate focuses primarily on the cost of administering the trading markets rather than on its overall economic impacts. A Heritage study suggests that when all such economic impacts are considered, the true annual household cost may be has high as $6,800.

Now Obama tells us that the bill “will make possible the creation of millions of new jobs.” Yet according to Indiana Republican Mike Pence’s floor speech this morning, the ever-changing bill makes provisions to aid the millions of Americans it puts out of work.  And that same Heritage study suggests that figure may reach as high as 2.5 million.

Obama cited 3000 people put to work building a California solar plant that will employ an additional 1000.  And Florida projects that are “expected” to create 1,400 jobs. 

Big deal. 

In January, the president held out the energy policies of Spain as a shining example of how successful a “government-aided” cap-and-tax plan could be.  But in reality, a “green bubble” inflated by a perpetuating yet unsustainable cycle of Spanish government subsidies for “green jobs” resulted in a net loss of two traditional jobs for every green one created.  And, not unlike Obama’s “shovel-ready” construction jobs, the majority of the Spanish “green” jobs were temporary in nature, further decimating the Spanish workforce as they phased out.  And as the Spanish government continued to pump more money into inadequate power sources, energy prices skyrocketed, driving industry to cheaper ground in other countries.  As a result, Spain’s unemployment rate now stands at a staggering 18 percent.

On the House floor this morning we were reminded that during the embarrassingly brief debate of the bill before the House Energy Committee, Republicans offered three “safety-valve” amendments to safeguard against such unintended consequences. These would have suspended cap-and-tax rules if gasoline hit $5 a gallon, if electricity prices rose 10% over 2009 levels, or if unemployment rates hit 15%.  But the Democrats defeated them all.

Yet amendments intended to shore up votes from rural Democrats are just fine.  Case in point - the recent amendment brokered by Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn) which would shift regulation enforcement from the EPA to the farmer-friendly U.S. Department of Agriculture.   Such eleventh-hour horse-trading has also forced Waxman to accept lower initial cap limits which will later need to climb precipitously to please liberal Democrats.  Such abrupt shifts will inevitably send corporations and utilities scrambling to purchase permits, the price of which will then skyrocket, forcing further rate and price hikes upon the American consumer. 

And will, just as it has in Obama’s beloved Spain, precipitate corporate flight and its inescapable byproduct -- rampant unemployment.

“Now, make no mistake,” Obama assured us yesterday, “this is a jobs bill.”

But the facts are assuring us that nothing could be further from the truth.