Caroline May

In a January 2008 interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, Obama explained his plan to lower carbon emissions by raising prices. “Under my plan of a cap-and-trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket," said the then-candidate. He went on to say, "Coal-powered plants, you know… whatever the industry was, they would have to retrofit their operations. That will cost money. They will pass that money on to consumers.”

While the words Kerry and Boxer use may imply that they are seeking to “protect the planet for the next century” in an economically-sound manner, the fact remains that this iteration of Waxman-Markey maintains the same “cap-and-trade” energy-rationing scheme the President heralded for increasing costs.

The sponsors’ obfuscation regarding the pecuniary consequences of their bill may be commercially savvy, but it is downright disgraceful at a time when Americans are fretting about their individual financial security. For all the talk that “green energy” and “green jobs” will result in an economic boon, it is estimated that implementing restrictive energy policies will cause the cumulative gross domestic product (GDP) to decrease about $9.4 trillion between 2012 and 2035. Further, “green jobs” notwithstanding, job loss estimates from the ensuing economic decay are as high as 1.9 million in 2012 and 2.5 million by 2035.

Economic decline could, indeed, reduce U.S. carbon emissions – a fact obviously not lost on Senator Kerry. Upon releasing his bill, the Massachusetts Senator, attempting to minimize the large task associated with limiting greenhouse gas output, said to Congress Daily, “Let me emphasize something very strongly… The United States has already this year alone achieved [emphasis added] a 6% reduction in emissions simply because of the downturn in the economy…”

With the U.S. unemployment rate already standing at 9.8%, America can’t afford any more of Kerry’s brand of achievement.

Caroline May

Caroline May is a policy analyst at the National Center for Public Policy Research in Washington.