Major players in Washington cheered the latest version of an energy bill, which tries to buy votes with “something for almost everyone.” But beleaguered consumers will get stuck with skyrocketing bills after others feast on new government benefits.
We can expect any new “green jobs” to be offset by a larger loss of existing jobs, possibly up to 3-million, depending on details of how the bill’s cap-and-trade system is implemented to tax carbon dioxide emissions.
“Climate Plan Aims to Provide Something for Everyone,” headlined Congress Daily about the re-worked legislation from Senators John Kerry (D, MA) and Joe Lieberman (D, CT). That same phrase was echoed by a multitude of media.
But the “something” for everyday Americans is higher utility bills—another hit for struggling families in a sour economy.
If the massive new bill stalls from its own complexity, Sen. Harry Reid says he’ll pursue a simpler-but-still-costly backup plan: Dictating that an ever-increasing portion of electric power must be generated from sources other than fossil fuels—a so-called RES “renewable energy standard” which by itself could cost a million jobs as well as higher electric bills and income loss averaging $2,400 a year for a typical family.
Just like the Kerry-Lieberman bill, the RES would force higher bills on unwilling and skeptical Americans.
According to Rasmussen Reports, only 18 percent of voters are willing to pay even $300 a year for cleaner energy or to fight global warming. And 56 percent of all voters say they aren’t willing to pay anything more at all in taxes and utility costs. (19 percent said they’d accept paying only $100 more a year.)
Consumers would pay as businesses passed along the new costs created by the bill. Many benefited groups gathered to attend and support the Kerry-Lieberman announcement, thanks to the potpourri of billions in federal subsidies, incentives and programs. The New York Times wrote, “The Kerry-Lieberman proposal…provid[es] something for every major energy interest — loan guarantees for nuclear plant operators, incentives for use of natural gas in transportation, exemptions from emissions caps for heavy industry, free pollution permits for utilities and modest carbon dioxide limits for oil refiners.” The Times identified the Edison Electric Institute, Nuclear Energy Institute, Duke Energy, and FPL Group as being there; stated that written statements of support were expected from oil giants British Petroleum, ConocoPhillips and Royal Dutch Shell; and reported that the bill had bought silence from the American Petroleum Institute and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
The Chamber’s public response was timid: “We thank Senators Kerry and Lieberman, as well as Senator Graham, for their work to constructively engage the business community on these issues. The Kerry-Lieberman bill is a work in progress. Few in Congress or the business community have had a chance to review the entire bill.”