Saturday, June 27, 2009

H.R. 2454 (aka Cap and Trade): the next step

The House of Representatives passed a 1300+ page bill yesterday by one of the narrowest margins in legislative history. A handful of votes was all that it took to overcome strong objections, from both Republicans and Democrats, to a bill that increases both taxes and regulations on energy production, one of the country's and the world's most precious commodities.

Advocates of the controversial bill insist that passage of it was necessary to prevent long-term damage to the environment, and to redirect the nation's efforts in domestic energy production towards a more "green" philosophy. Without its passage, proponents argue, the country would lose its chance to become a leader once again; this time in new technologies and environmental protection.

Opponents of the bill argue that estimates don't show much of a change in the environment, even if every provision of the hastily presented and voted-upon bill is implemented. They point out that the president's statement that the increased burden to the taxpayer will be an average of around forty cents a day is only one estimate, and that the increase could amount to thousands of dollars more in gas and electricity bills. They also say that for every job the bill creates over the next ten years, two will be lost, which is particularly troubling in the middle of a Depression.

Even if the increase is, as the president says, the equivalent of a postage stamp a day, there is still the cost to businesses to consider. Not only will every business in America have to pay higher electricity bills, but under the provisions in a three-hundred page last minute amendment, almost every building in America will undergo some sort of rennovation to comply with the new standards. This includes private homes, which would affect prices of houses, both old and new, which could seriously depress the already struggling housing market; apartment buildings, which would necessarily raise their rates in response to the demands of the bill; and all businesses, which would be forced to raise prices on consumer products to meet not only the cost of increased standards, but also the cost of moving goods all across the country when trucking companies find their burden increased at the pump.

A few posts ago, I reminded everyone that the government's main source of income is the American people. When businesses fail or flounder, the government has two options: lower taxes on businesses so they can keep their doors open (not likely, considering they're currently in the process of raising taxes on businesses), or raise taxes on Americans. That would not be much of a stretch, considering that Congress and the president are already considering raising taxes on everything from entitlement benefits (which is rather counterintuitive by itself) to soda pop.

When does it end? When you tell Congress to stop. Write to your Senators, call them on the phone, visit them in person if you have to, but make it very clear to them that H.R. 2454, also known as the ACES Act, the Cap and Trade Bill, and the National Energy Tax, is not acceptable. Tell them to vote no; and tell them that if they don't, then they won't have voting privileges for much longer.

Dear Senator,

The ACES Act which passed the House of Representatives yesterday is one of the most troubling pieces of legislation I have yet seen considered by Congress. It combines yet another increase in government bureaucracy and oversight of the private sector with higher taxes and regulations on businesses. And whatever the estimates of the cost to the American taxpayer, whenever the size of government increases or the cost of business rises, the taxpayer shares the burden. I'm sure you understand this principle.

Senator, the government has already enacted massive spending and regulatory practices this year, including the CARD Act, the new tax on cigarettes, and a stimulus bill that was rushed to a vote before any member of Congress had time to even read the final language, let alone explore the implications. The result of that passage by itself has been mixed at best, and at worst, completely ineffective, with members of the Administration and Congress already talking about another stimulus bill.

We, and by we I mean the American people, cannot keep seeing our burden increase. With all the new regulation, increases in executive and legislative authority, higher taxes and penalties for both the public and businesses, plus all the legislation we KNOW about that Congress will consider this year, "the price of a postage stamp a day" may just be the straw that breaks the backs of businesses AND taxpayers; especially for passage of a bill that, by almost all accounts, will not even effect a significant improvement on the environment.

I do not want this bill modified, Senator; I want it defeated outright. It passed the House by a mere two votes, which in this particular political climate is a statement all by itself about what a disaster it would be for America. I await your decision.


Stephen Monteith

1 comment:

  1. Stephen,
    You are right on target on this bill. I will certainly contact my senators as you suggest. I am also sending an unhappy e-mail to my representitive in the House for her vote.