Thursday, July 23, 2009

Cap and Trade

Of all of the topics in the news over the past couple of years, the one people have urged me to weigh in on the most is Cap and Trade.
Before offering my opinion of this piece of legislation, some of you may need an explanation of how Cap and Trade works.
The Cap and Trade system involves trading of emission credits, where the total number of credits is strictly limited or 'capped' by the government. A regulatory authority establishes the cap which is usually considerably lower than the historic level of emissions.
Basically, it is a method for managing pollution while at the same time providing for expansion of "green" energy.
Like many liberal ideas, Cap and Trade is a great idea on paper. It's when you get into the substance of the matter that the perfect plan begins to show huge holes and all Americans are faced with more money coming out of our pocket books which wasn't before Cap and Trade.
That's really the problem with the mechanism. Instead of allowing a free market to evolve toward a greener world, which could easily be done with tax breaks for companies investing in such technology and not cost you and I a dime, we are faced with regulation forced on energy producers which will effect YOUR cost for energy.
Under a cap and trade system, the government sets a cap on how much pollution will be allowed and reduces that amount yearly until their reduction numbers are complied with.
Companies are issued credits, depending on how large they are. Heavier polluters will get more more credits but face a "cap" on their credits (the amount of their emissions).
If a company comes in below it's "cap" it can "trade" (sell) those credits to companies needing more.
Here's the bad part. The companies are going to pass the cost of their credits directly to the consumer. And since we're talking about oil, gas, natural gas, coal, etc... almost every single facet of U.S. energy, which Texas and Oklahoma are vital to, will be hurt. That is very, very bad news.
We'll get hit at the pump, at home and at work. Prices will go up for nearly everything you buy because it now costs more to make.
More damage: Manufacturing companies will continue to locate to countries trying to grow their economies, namely China and India.
By the way - China and India are not touching Cap and Trade with a 10-foot pole. They know how much money they stand to gain as our government continues to crush U.S. energy and industry.
Why can't the government play fair with U.S. corporations? Did the greed of such a small percentage of our corporations poison the minds of Americans.
Does the average citizen believe American companies are evil?
If so, not only does that show brainwashing on a monumental scale, it's the most ignorant thing I've ever heard. Here in rural America, we can appreciate some things because so many of our towns are struggling to stay around. We know what we've lost and we'd dearly love to have them back.
Cap and Trade will have the whole country feeling like these small towns do.
"Where did everybody go?"
"Some of 'em went to China ... the rest of 'em went to India. You know, where all the good jobs are."
As with attempting to reform health care during an economic crisis, Cap and Trade is very detrimental to an awful U.S. economy.
I hope Americans begin to shout loud enough to be heard regarding these most important things. Democrats and Republicans around the country need to get on the same page and let our elected officials know while good on paper, Cap and Trade is a little ahead of it's time in terms of the amount of damage it will do to the American family.
Clean energy is coming and that's great. Let it come and make it compete for it's place atop the throne of energy. That's what a free market would do. That's what needs to happen now.

Copyright 2009 by Christopher Blackburn

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