Thursday, July 02, 2009

A Conservative Viewpoint
- N. C. Splits Vote On ‘Cap And Tax’

Article by Bob Steinburg
- Edenton, North Carolina: Cradle of the Colony

On June 26, while much of the nation was transfixed on news coverage of the sudden death of pop icon Michael Jackson, the House of Representatives defied common sense and passed legislation that will lead to the biggest tax increase in the history of the world. In the middle of the largest economic downturn since the Great Depression, the House by a vote of 219-212 approved the Waxman-Markey Climate Bill.

The cost of everything we buy, from gasoline, home heating and cooling to groceries will go up. In fact, the price for everything manufactured, grown and shipped will increase. Look no further than last summer when the cost of a gallon of gasoline was $4.50 to realize the additional economic misery that awaits each of us if this bill is passed by the Senate.

In spite of 44 Conservative Democrats who joined all but eight Republicans in opposition, it wasn’t enough to defeat the bill. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi led the liberal charge to passage, along with the co-sponsor and Chairman of the Energy sub-committee Henry Waxman, D-Calif.

Rep. G. K. Butterfield, D-N.C., who represents North Carolina’s 1st Congressional District, is Waxman’s Vice Chairman on the House Energy sub-committee. He once again proved to be Pelosi’s loyal foot soldier by voting yes for cap and trade; this in spite of “his district being the fourth poorest in the nation, a poverty rate approaching 25 percent and crushing unemployment.” In fact, North Carolina has the eighth highest joblessness rate in the nation. In spite of these grim statistics, Butterfield was joined by N. C. Democratic Representatives Bob Etheridge, David Price, Heath Shuler, Mel Watt and Brad Miller in approving this bad bill.

North Carolina’s five Republican representatives voted no. They are Walter Jones, Virginia Foxx, Howard Coble, Sue Myrick, and Patrick McHenry. Two Democrats joined the Republicans in opposition: Mike McIntyre and Larry Kissell.

In examining the January `09 Congressional District and Analysis Report, I tried to determine from an economic standpoint a representative’s stance for either supporting or opposing this bill. What I learned stunned me! In all but one case, the representatives from N. C. who voted yes to “cap and tax” represent districts with the highest degrees of poverty. With the exception of David Price’s district, the others are saddled with 15 percent poverty or more.

Democrats McIntyre and Kissell, also represent districts with poverty rates in excess of 15 percent, but they voted no. “This bill is a hardship that our citizens and communities cannot afford,” McIntyre said, and will cost jobs, increase electricity rates and pass on additional financial burdens to the next generation. McIntyre’s office told me that the calls coming in were against cap and trade by a whopping 80-20 margin.

Congressman Kissell acknowledged that protecting the environment is very important. But he also said, “I could not vote for Cap and Trade because it doesn’t meet these (environmental) goals for our nation and endangers the economy of our district. With unemployment in the 8th District in double-digits, now is not the time to pass legislation that will raise energy prices and possibly cost our district more jobs.” Kissell’s office said most of his callers were opposed to cap and trade.

Rep. Butterfield’s spokesperson Ken Willis said Butterfield received 800 calls that were 50-50 for and against cap and trade. I questioned Willis why the congressman chose to support legislation that is guaranteed to raise the price of energy, especially considering the number of poor who reside there. Willis said there were provisions in the bill that would provide assistance to the poor for their escalating energy bills. Where does that leave the rest of us?

Rep. Bob Etheridge, D -N. C., also voted in favor of cap and trade. Etheridge’s district has a poverty rate of 16 percent. Etheridge says he is a pro-business Democrat. That statement is particularly curious given this bill will likely cause energy rationing, leading to less production and fewer jobs.

Voters should have seen this coming. Speaking to the San Francisco Chronicle last year, Barack Obama said: “Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates ‘would necessarily skyrocket’…they (energy providers) would have to retrofit their operations. That will cost money. They will pass that money on to consumers.”

Advocates for cap and trade say we can’t just sit around and do nothing. We must break our dependence on foreign oil. Few would argue with that. But in a Rasmussen poll last week 56 percent of Americans say they are not willing to pay more in taxes and utility costs to generate cleaner energy and fight global warming.

Forty eight states currently have a total of $166 billion in deficits and 372 metro areas are experiencing an increase in their jobless rates. The government is on a reckless spending spree with deficits in the trillions. What we need now is to tap into all the energy at our disposal to turn this economy around, not pass legislation that provides less. We need more cars on the road carrying people to work, not sitting in their driveways.

Congressman Markey, co-author of the climate change bill says the cost to overturn the entire energy economy won’t exceed the price of a postage stamp daily. If you can buy into that, you would have to assume there would be no increased cost in the price of food, energy and transportation. Only a fool could believe that.

Another Rasmussen poll last week found Obama’s popularity plunging with approval numbers for the first time reaching negative territory. Thirty- one percent strongly approve; 33 percent strongly disapprove. It appears the state and nation’s congressional districts could be facing an extreme makeover in 2010.

This bill, called by some Cap-and-Trade and by others Cap-and-Tax, is at its heart a test of the ability to have an intelligent discussion of Man-Caused-Global-Warming. For every liberal politician who believes that we must immediately impose severe punishment on anyone who disagrees with their belief in Man-Caused-Global-Warming, there is a scientist, some of them even liberal, who can point out the fallacies in the concept.

Bob does not address these fallacies. Bob identifies the politics that some people are willing to oppose the liberal belief in Man-Caused-Global-Warming simply based on their unwillingness to pay out of their pocket to fix it. I do not believe this is a rational argument. If there was any credible evidence that Man-Caused-Global-Warming was real, I would support fixing it. The problem is that the concept is a fraud. You must start there first. The concept is a fraud.

The litany of reasons why it is a fraud is long, too long to get in to here since it really takes 3 standard length newspaper articles just to address the major flaws at a summary level. These articles have been written and published repeatedly. Yet somehow we cannot seem to get people to believe this. There has been overwhelming public discussion of why Man-Caused-Global-Warming is a fraud. How can so many people believe in something that is so obviously not true? That is the question that we cannot seem to get an answer to.


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