Kerry-Lieberman bill generates power for government, special interests

Mike Carey Contributor
Font Size:

With months of closed doors meeting and cutting deals with industry, Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) finally unveiled their cap-and-trade bill. After helping to craft the bill, this bill contains many giveaways to industry and the end result is this bill that will increase the cost of every aspect of business and cost every individual citizen to turn on the lights and put gas in the car.

Sens. Kerry and Lieberman have put together an enormously expensive government power grab worse than the recently passed health care reform bill. It will create huge costs for every American family, job losses and redistribution of wealth with no environmental benefit. The escalating costs, mandates, penalties, regulations and taxes in this bill will prove to be a death blow to our economy as it struggles to climb out of a recession. This bill actually creates 60 new agencies, boards, reports and programs that will only bleed money while strangling businesses. This is by far the most egregious expansion of government in history, and our economy cannot withstand it.

Sens. Kerry and Lieberman have denied that there will be a specific gasoline tax, and so throughout the bill it is called a “linked fee.” Additionally refiners and importers are required to a pay tax under this legislation. This bill also contains transportation fees, which again, just disguise a gas tax. A “linked fee” by any other name is still a gas tax, no matter what Sens. Kerry and Lieberman want to call it.

This “linked fee” will hit the lower and middle-income families particularly hard as they pay a disproportionate percentage of their income on energy. This will run counter to President Obama’s promise not to raise taxes on those making under $250,000. This bill directly impacts about 20 percent of the economy through new mandates on transportation, manufacturing industries, electricity and energy production as well as any business that consumes electricity such as agriculture or service-based industries. If you make it, they will tax it.

This bill will kill jobs in the Midwest and across the country. Manufacturers will either be forced out of business or have to export their jobs offshore to places like India, China, Brazil and Mexico. Those countries would never place caps on carbon that the Kerry Lieberman bill will impose here at home, as they know it would kill their economies. As we offshore our jobs we also offshore our carbon to countries that not only have no carbon caps, they have no environmental regulation or labor standards. And yet, this legislation will have no impact on global climate temperatures.

This bill is nothing more than an assault on taxpayers, the economy and the energy sector and a massive wealth transfer to energy and other companies, such as General Electric, that bought space at the trough.

Sens. Kerry and Lieberman create a $2 trillion carbon derivative trading market that could easily end up being a $2 trillion slush fund for Wall Street firms such as Goldman Sachs and Kleiner Perkins. In Europe, their carbon trading market has been so rife with fraud, that we would naturally want to duplicate one here that the likes of Enron felt would make them more money than market manipulation of power in California.

What’s more, with giveaways to big business and other industries that helped write this monstrosity, the only way this bill can pass is by once again ignoring regular order and bypassing the committees of jurisdiction and instead taking it straight to the floor of the Senate so that the American people will not have time to weigh in their opposition with their senators. Instead, back-room deals will be made to buy the votes of reluctant senators, much like was done with the health care fiasco.

Instead, we need a comprehensive approach to bridging Americas’ energy needs from coal, natural gas, oil, nuclear power, renewable sources and technologies yet to be invented. We need to support policies that make affordable and reliable energy a reality, energy that will fuel our high standard of living, protect a clean environment and serve as bridge to the future. Public policies, such as the Kerry Lieberman bill should not arbitrarily or unfairly discriminate among energy sources and should be based on sound science and cost-effective and growth-promoting government regulation.

Mike Carey is President of The American Council for Affordable and Reliable Energy (ACARE) a coalition of businesses, nonprofit organizations and individuals who support public policies that encourage the production and delivery of the energy required by a growing economy.