Thursday, June 25, 2009

"Pickles in her corn flakes"

Probably not one of my most straightforward blog titles. I assure you, though, it'll make sense by the time you're done reading.

For those who don't know, H.R. 2454 will be voted on in the House of Representatives tomorrow. This is the so-called Cap and Trade Bill. It's official name is the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009. Sounds nice and innocuous, doesn't it? Like it's designed to clean the environment, boost energy production, and secure America in a new era of energy independence. That's certainly how it's being sold, of course.

In reality, though, there is no Utopia. If you wonder why Congress never passes good bills, it's really not because politicians are evil. Politicians, in fact, are very self-serving. If there was a good bill out there, then every politician would vote for it just so they could tell their constituents, "Hey, I voted for it, so keep re-electing me". The truth is, there is always a cloud accompanying the silver lining. In the case of Cap and Trade, the cloud is a massive new burden placed squarely on the backs of every American, and not just "the rich".

When I was a child, I saw a commercial that's always kind of stuck with me. It was trying to illustrate that usually, when the price of one itemin a supermarket is lowered, other prices are raised. The commercial showed a woman who opened her cereal, her coffee, and even her bananas to find pickles in them; the point being that, while her supermarket was having a special and had lowered the price of pickles, she still paid the difference in raised prices on the other items she bought.

The same principle applies to the Cap and Trade bill, which basically amounts to a new tax on energy, one that will eventually be paid by every American. This is not a partisan perception, by the way. Even some Democratic congressmen have spoken out against the bill, characterizing it as a tax that will cause energy prices to "skyrocket". President Obama and Speaker Pelosi passed a tax cut for the middle class earlier this year; but to pay for all the new initiatives they have been pushing for years now, they are raising and seeking to raise taxes on everything that the middle class, and indeed every American, uses each day.

Do you use anything powered by electricity? Do you drink soda, or smoke cigarettes? Does your car run on gasoline, even in part? Do you have health insurance? Do you want health insurance? Everything the government does, it needs to fund. And the government has only one source of income: you. If you said yes to any of the questions I just asked, then you'll find "pickles" in your expenses with every bill the government passes and signs into law.

It's time to recheck the price tag. And it's time to write to your Congressman.

Dear Congressman,

It may be too late to change your vote on H.R. 2454, but I want to encourage you in the strongest possible terms to vote no.

Congressman, Virginia has an opportunity this year to lead the country in any number of areas. Energy is one of those areas. You represent a district characterized by job growth and creation of new businesses. H.R. 2454, the so-called "Cap and Trade" bill, will not only raise the cost of doing business, which will depress the new energies market in the commonwealth, but it will also strangle new businesses that will not be able to meet their energy payments initially. This bill will seriously hamper new industries here in Hampton Roads.

It will also, as I'm sure you've heard, raise energy costs for families prohibitively at a time when most are still struggling to stay in their homes. Apartment complexes will raise their rates to meet the new tax, which will shift the burden onto the lower middle class who will scrape along to make rent each month.

Congressman, members of your own party have voiced their concerns about this bill. I'm sure you have your own, as well. I have written to you before, urging you to do the right thing, and I will continue to do so. When the time comes to vote on this bill, say no. We're all depending on you to represent our best interests.


Stephen Monteith

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