Jul 072009
Authors: Torrie Ognoskie The Battalion Texas AM

(U-WIRE) — Two Fridays ago, while the untimely death of Michael Jackson dominated headlines, the U.S. House of Representatives debated and eventually passed one of the most damaging pieces of legislation to ever see the floor on Capitol Hill.

The so-called “Cap and Trade” bill is an effort to control carbon emissions in order to combat global warming (err. I mean “climate change”). In reality, it does nothing more than simply raise costs on energy companies, who will then pass those costs on to their consumers.

House Republicans correctly labeled the bill as a massive new energy tax. By capping the amount of carbon dioxide private companies are allowed to emit and charging them for any amount beyond that, this act would drastically raise energy costs for every American citizen. Energy affects almost every aspect of our daily lives and if this bill becomes law, the American people will pay for it at the gas pump, the grocery store and while they heat or cool their homes.

Even President Barack Obama, a vocal supporter of this bill, said during the campaign that it would cause electricity rates to “necessarily skyrocket.” That is the absolute worst thing we could do in the middle of a severe economic recession.

In addition to raising the living expenses of every American, this bill would send a lot more people to the unemployment line. The proof of this is in the bill itself. There is actually a provision in the bill that sets up and extends unemployment benefits for people who lose their job as a result of this new policy. It simply blows my mind that our Congress could bring to the floor a piece of legislation that they admit is going to put people out of work.

Even more proof lies in Spain, where some of the provisions created by this legislation already exist. Despite creating some “green” jobs, Spain has seen job losses in other sectors of their economy that far outpace any gains they have made. Economics Professor Gabriel Cardaza, of Spain’s Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, recently produced a report that said for every “green” job created in Spain, 2.2 jobs were lost in other parts of the economy. That is probably why Spain has an unemployment rate of 18.1 percent, roughly twice that of the average of European Union countries.

Perhaps the worst thing about this bill is that, like the so-called “stimulus” bill, nobody really knows what is in this thing. The bill itself is more than 1,000 pages, and the Democratic leadership in the House had the audacity to drop a 300-page amendment to the bill at 3:09 a.m. on the morning before the vote.

This was not an amendment that added something to the bill or changed just one part. Instead, it was meant to be pieced together with the actual bill, and it changed different provisions throughout the original 1,000 pages. The end result is that no one really knew what they were voting on.

Even Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), the bill’s co-sponsor, was unable to answer specific questions about the bill during committee hearings. Instead, he and other supporters of the bill resorted to grandstanding and spouting off platitudes and criticisms of the Bush Administration. What we witnessed in the House that Friday was an absolute mockery of our legislative process.

President Obama has made it no secret that he will sign this bill. That means the only thing standing in the way of this nonsense is the U.S. Senate. Fortunately, even most Democrats are skeptical at best about it getting the necessary votes there. However, regardless of its passage, this “Cap and Trade” bill represents a tremendous disservice to the American people.

It is a mystery to everyone who voted on it. It raises taxes, and it represents another massive increase in the size of the federal government. No thanks.

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