|If you think you are in the dark on what may be happening in Washington, D.C. these days, you are not alone. In fact, we may all be in the dark if a measure recently passed by the U.S. House of Representatives becomes law.
HR 2454, also known as the "Cap and Trade" bill, recently passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a margin of 219 supporting the measure and 212 voting against it. Of Missouri's delegation, only four congressmen voted for the bill: Reps. Carnahan, Clay, Cleaver, and Skelton. All were pushed by Speaker Pelosi to support the idea.
The intent of this legislation is to reduce the carbon footprint of the United States. It establishes a bureaucracy to oversee the purchase, sale, or trade of permits for energy use. While I believe caring for creation is something we have a moral obligation to do, I do not feel this is an effective way to meet this goal. I do not think we can afford the price tag, either.
According to the Heritage Foundation, cap-and-trade will destroy 2.5 million jobs, raise electric rates by 90 percent, raise gasoline prices by 74 percent and raise natural gas prices by 55 percent, after inflation. A study by the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institution (FAPRI) estimates cap-and-trade will cost Missouri farmers an additional $11,000 a year in 2020 and more than $30,000 a year by 2050. In addition, a recent CRA International study, commissioned by the National Black Chamber of Commerce, determined the bill would reduce national GDP roughly $350 billion below the baseline level, cut net employment by 2.5 million jobs, and reduce annual take home pay for the average U.S. worker by $390 by 2030.
Put simply, if a manufacturer, grocery store, or any other employer had to pay an additional 90 percent increase in electric rates - as well as higher costs throughout their budget including all goods, services, and transportation - they may be forced to cut jobs or move them overseas. Every product we buy will cost more. Even nonprofits will suffer. A man who attends a small church in rural Missouri recently told me if cap-and-trade passes, his church could pay around a $1,000 per winter month to keep the doors open.
There will be little, if any, environmental impact to justify the high price U.S. families will have to pay if cap and trade passes. If you are having a hard time selling your home now, the government wants to have a part of that process too. From autos to banking to home sales, it seems the government is becoming a bigger and bigger part of our lives.
Commentary by Senator Bill Stouffer, (R-21)