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The Field Fills In

Penalize America First

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

The climate change legislation raced through the U.S. House on a seven-vote margin, 219-212. Eight Republicans voted for the bill, 44 Democrats voted against. Those numbers do not bode well for any quick action in the U.S. Senate where getting anything approaching 60 votes for this anti-carbon energy bill looks dimmer than the inside of a West Virginia coal mine at during a lunar eclipse at midnight in December.

According to, the bill

"will raise electricity prices for consumers by $175 a year per household by 2020, according to a report by the Congressional Budget Office, significantly less than the $3,000 price hike predicted by Republicans who say the "energy tax" will increase energy bills and the cost of consumer goods."

I haven't seen either calculation, but if energy costs rise, then the cost of anything manufactured or grown that uses energy - which would be approximately everything - will rise, too. That increase will be passed along to consumers which has to be added to the $175 per year hike in everyone's electricity bill.

The ink hardly had time to dry on the 1,000+ page bill (which was finished at about three o'clock on Friday morning), when President Barack Obama made the astonishing pronouncement that he was opposed to one major provision. According to the New York Times, the provision in question was "inserted in the middle of the night before the vote Friday, that requires the president, starting in 2020, to impose a "border adjustment" - or tariff - on certain goods from countries that do not act to limit their global warming emissions."

Democrat Sander Levin of Michigan said of the tariff against countries which do not embrace the whole lower-carbon-footprint deal,

"We can and must ensure that the U.S. energy-intensive industries are not placed at a competitive disadvantage by nations that have not made a similar commitment to reduce greenhouse gases."

Sounds right to me. In fact, it sounded right to the entire United States Senate when it refused to take up the Kyoto treaty because it exempted countries like India and China from having to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The Senate then believed it put U.S. businesses at a competitive disadvantage and my guess is the Senate now will come to the same conclusion.

Nevertheless, President Obama said in a Sunday interview which he deemed so important that, according to the NY Times, he "delayed the start of a Sunday golf game to speak to a small group of reporters in the Oval Office."

Whoa! Check please! This is bigger news than the results of Michael's tox-screen. The President delayed his golf game? I need a moment …

… Ok. I'm back.

Obama said, of that trade provision,

"At a time when the economy worldwide is still deep in recession and we've seen a significant drop in global trade, I think we have to be very careful about sending any protectionist signals out there."

So, it's not only acceptable, but worthy of delaying a golf game, to celebrate the passage of a bill which will add costs to American companies trying to claw their way out of this recession, but we don't want to do anything which would level the playing field with our trading partners.

At the Republican National Convention in 1984, Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick coined two phrases which should be dusted off today. One was to identify the Democratic Party - which was virulently anti-Reagan - as "San Francisco Democrats."

Given the home district of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, this phrase has new currency.

The second was when she said that the hallmark of those San Francisco Democrats was their propensity to "Blame America first."

The provisions of this climate change bill will place great hardships on the very manufacturers we are spending hundreds of billions of dollars trying to prop up so they will begin rehiring American workers.

But President Obama seems to be more worried about hardships these same provisions would put on foreign manufactures. Wouldn't allowing them to ignore this cap-and-trade business lead to even more jobs moving off-shore?

Obama has taken the Kilpatrick criticism to a new level. He is the official leader of the "Penalize America First" crowd.

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