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Letter to the editor: Cap and Trade

Salt Lake City


The House of Representatives passed a massive Cap and Trade bill last month. The goal of the bill is to reduce carbon emissions by capping them at an arbitrary level, and then "trading" the right to emit more than the capped amount. A better label would be Cap and Tax, since the only way to "trade" is to pay money to the federal government. There is so much that is fundamentally wrong with this legislation that it's hard to know where to begin. In the first place, it's expensive. Wildly expensive. Estimates place the individual cost at anywhere from $300 to $3000 annually for every man, woman, and child in the United States. The aggregate cost will be trillions of dollars in new taxes that will provide a fresh kick in the gut to an already battered economy.

In the second place, it accomplishes nothing. Even if you assume that all of the global warming doom-sayers are entirely accurate, this Cap and Tax monstrosity is still only projected to lower global temperatures by a fraction of a degree over the next century. Even that estimate is optimistic since growing nations like China and India are not participating in similar restrictions.

In the third place, it's dishonest. President Obama promised to cut taxes for 95 percent of all Americans. Apparently, he didn't mean Americans who produce, sell, or use energy, i.e. everyone. In a candid moment in the campaign, then-Senator Obama admitted that this kind of legislation would cause electricity rates to skyrocket. He's not too eager to make that same point now that he's in the White House. Advocates are forced to concede that yes, Cap and Tax will be expensive, and, yes, it won't have the kind of sweeping impact that they would like. Instead, they tout its symbolic significance and call it a "good first step." We can't afford this kind of empty symbolism, and we need to put a stop to it.

I'm doing everything I can to fight this. This bill may not come before the Senate for several more months, and I'm using that time to work with my colleagues to keep this from becoming law.

That's because Cap and Tax is not a "good first step." Instead, it's a step down the wrong path costing American families thousands of dollars for few, if any, benefits to our environment.

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