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  • US economic suicide?

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090626/...s_climate_bill

    Is this bill really necessary with the US economy in the state it is?

    - http://www.clubforgrowth.org/2009/06..._climate_b.php
    - http://www.heritage.org/Press/FactSheet/fs0028.cfm (electricity bills rising 90% :P)

    When I'm poor and living like I'm in 1900 with minimal electricity, no internet, no TV, no cable and riding a bike to work everyday I'm sure I'll take a breath of fresh air and give thanks that we're off those evil fossil fuels.

  • #2
    Re: US economic suicide?

    Considering how massive the various global warming threads are I'm surprised nobody is debating the pros and cons of this new cap-and-trade policy.

    I don't know if it's "economic suicide" because I haven't read the bill. In fact I don't even know much about it. However the idea of cap-and-trade doesn't need to be an overall tax increase. It could be adjusted so there would be a break even point where if you pollute more than X you pay more tax than you used to but if you pollute less than you pay less tax than you used to. Tax revenue for the government could stay the same.

    In Canada during the last election one of the major candidates pushed for a cap-and-trade system. He lost the election. He didn't lose just because of cap-and-trade but the conservatives, who won, spent a lot of their campaign effort attacking this policy. Beating the "new tax" war drum is easy and it works.

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    • #3
      Re: US economic suicide?

      I've read the bill as carefully as I could. The language used in a lot of bills can be obtuse. It seems like it'd be a straight-up tax levied at the energy industry for using fossil fuels, plain and simple. That leads to the increased costs of producing this energy being passed along to the consumer. Since everything that's made in an industrialized nation is made using some form of fossil fuel energy, that possibly leads to increased costs for everything.

      To me, that's a retarded thing to slap onto a public that's already tight on money. If the bill passes the Senate and the President signs it into law, I don't see it lasting long after voters get ahold of their utility bills and/or monthly expenses. Either that, or everyone who voted for it loses their seat in Congress. :P

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      • #4
        Re: US economic suicide?

        This toothless bill is too little too late - so late that I'm almost willing to buy the argument of 'what's the point.' Still, I think it's better than nothing - although it seems quite obvious to me that a permit-based cap-and-trade system is so much better handled as an auction instead of a giveaway. Regarding the costs, put it in perspective - this added with the economic 'stimulus' money still doesn't surpass the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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        • #5
          Re: US economic suicide?

          Boehner's speech against cap-and-trade:

          [media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gEOSS8F_cmQ[/media]

          You can see the entire speech (parts 1 and 2) he made in opposition of this bill in the "related videos" section next to it.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: US economic suicide?

            Originally posted by Gillespie View Post
            that's a retarded thing to slap onto a public that's already tight on money.
            It's only different from other spending largess this term because it requires the public pay it now instead of dumping it on the government credit card to be paid "someday".

            The backers claim that fossil fuels have a social cost. All this does is put that cost on those who benefit from them. Ie. us. But everyone loves to get something for free, and hates it when someone starts charging for it.

            If someone is willing to waste time being green and itemizing crap into recycle receptacles, I see no reason why they shouldn't suck it up and pay for the smog they're responsible for. Maybe kid organizations like Boy Scouts should start running fund raisers to pay for it, like they do for other green projects. Then everyone can turn it into a highly-visible "we're better than you because we recycle" event.
            Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

            snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

            Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: US economic suicide?

              Ok, so taxing the crap out of local oil/gas producers helps us decrease our dependency on foreign oil HOW? This bill will be the demise of our domestic oil production industry, which then we'll HAVE to depend on foreign sources. Why wouldn't we if we can get it from the Saudi's cheaper and with less red tape?

              They are taking all incentive away to drill here. We have plenty of natural gas (which is clean burning btw), so why don't we promote that? Not to mention, this stupid energy bill is going to cost hundreds of thousands of jobs, while only creating a few thousand. Not a fair trade.
              "Common sense is not so common." -Voltaire

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              • #8
                Re: US economic suicide?

                Originally posted by AMosely View Post
                ...although it seems quite obvious to me that a permit-based cap-and-trade system is so much better handled as an auction instead of a giveaway.
                I sort of agree with you, and sort of don't. As a way to encourage economic consideration of pollution, the auction is much more efficient than the give-away. There's just no fair way to run a give-away, and the potential for corruption in choosing who to give permits to is mind boggling. On the other hand, as an auction it effectively amounts to a massive tax increase on everyone who has to show up at the auction to buy something they didn't need yesterday, and at least the giveaway won't have such a dramatic tax effect.

                If they were really paying attention, they'd run it as an auction and then decrease general corporate tax rates by enough to make it revenue neutral, but I don't honestly expect anyone in Washington to propose reductions in tax rates as a solution to anything these days.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: US economic suicide?

                  Originally posted by Kerostasis View Post
                  I sort of agree with you, and sort of don't. As a way to encourage economic consideration of pollution, the auction is much more efficient than the give-away. There's just no fair way to run a give-away, and the potential for corruption in choosing who to give permits to is mind boggling. On the other hand, as an auction it effectively amounts to a massive tax increase on everyone who has to show up at the auction to buy something they didn't need yesterday, and at least the giveaway won't have such a dramatic tax effect.

                  If they were really paying attention, they'd run it as an auction and then decrease general corporate tax rates by enough to make it revenue neutral, but I don't honestly expect anyone in Washington to propose reductions in tax rates as a solution to anything these days.
                  I'd agree with this if it wasn't for the fact that these businesses will simply pass the effects of this bill onto the consumers thus not hurting their bottom line the least bit. My view about global warming hasnt changed and I still dont think they are telling the whole story, but I have a hard time disagreeing with them when they say until fossil fuel energy costs rise a significant amount, there will be no reason for companies to seriously explore true alternative energy sources that can meet our needs for both the present and the future. (I dont mean the wind and solar crap the green movement feeds us either) This pains me to say, but this bill isnt a horrible first step torwards the goal of raising fossil fuel costs to the point where people seriously consider investing in discovering alternative energy sources. This bill doesnt seem to punish nuclear power generation for example.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: US economic suicide?

                    I was thinking about this - while some might be talking about economic suicide, environmental suicide is really what should be in question. We're committing it by burning coal, every day, in copious amounts. We have every reason to - the Chinese are burning more than the US, the alternatives are either too expensive or technologically out of reach, the political will still isn't there, the economy can't take it right now - the climate problem may not even really exist at all.

                    Well what if it does exist. What if Jim Hansen is right? What if the most recent IPCC reports prove true? No one talks about that because it's a doomsday scenario. We have a tedency to ignore bad news regardless of the severity of what is at stake.

                    This cap and trade legislation is designed as a compromise - a gesture, a test that minimizes losses at the cost of minimizing gains. Environmental groups are backing it only because if they don't, then the Congress might let the matter die completely. They (optimistic environmentalists) are calling it a foot in the door. Others claim that scientists like Hansen understand science but don't understand politics. As if this is some kind of pet project, designed like any other to appease the interests. This is absurd.

                    The voters need to wake up. We're not in la-la land anymore. This is going to be one hell of a century on Earth.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: US economic suicide?

                      Originally posted by Morganan View Post
                      I'd agree with this if it wasn't for the fact that these businesses will simply pass the effects of this bill onto the consumers thus not hurting their bottom line the least bit.
                      But it's those consumers who benefit from the pollution, and should therefore pay the tax. The business is just turning the raw material into something the consumer can use. Yeah, it makes money along the way, but it can't make more money than the general profit rate of other corporations, or it will draw competition that will drive that profit level down. (Look at all the crude sitting parked in ships from the massive speculation last year.)

                      Think of Big Business as a big nasty guard dog. We could tax dangerous dogs, but it's the owner that benefits from the dog that should ultimately pay, not the dog.
                      Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

                      snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

                      Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: US economic suicide?

                        Originally posted by Morganan View Post
                        I'd agree with this if it wasn't for the fact that these businesses will simply pass the effects of this bill onto the consumers thus not hurting their bottom line the least bit.
                        First of all, I'm reasonably sure you and I both count as consumers. Secondly its highly unlikely that the increased costs will fall on any one group 100% -- they usually get spread out along the way, in proportions depending on economic elasticity. Thirdly, this would make the affected US businesses horribly uncompetitive internationally, which would have all sorts of side-effects (hey look, now we can outsource more jobs and become more reliant on foreign oil!).

                        But as it happened they decided to go for a small tax instead of a massive tax -- about 80% of the permits will be given away instead of sold. That minimizes one set of problems(at least temporarily), but introduces a whole new set: who decides who is deserving of a free permit, and who isn't?

                        Eventually we'll come back to the point of drastic price spikes on anything that involves energy, but it'll take a bit longer this way.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: US economic suicide?

                          Instead of giving them away, they could use the bailout system of treating them as a loan that has to be paid back, with lots of strings attached.

                          Or give them away instead of food stamps or other payments to low income citizens. Then the oil companies have to buy them from the citizenry, and the government sees it as lower spending instead of a tax, which should get buy-in from the right.
                          Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

                          snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

                          Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: US economic suicide?

                            Originally posted by ScratchMonkey View Post
                            Instead of giving them away, they could use the bailout system of treating them as a loan that has to be paid back, with lots of strings attached.
                            That was a terrible plan the first time, and I wouldn't want to repeat it.

                            Or give them away instead of food stamps or other payments to low income citizens. Then the oil companies have to buy them from the citizenry, and the government sees it as lower spending instead of a tax, which should get buy-in from the right.
                            That's just a bizarre form of wealth redistribution, and I don't really see the point. If you changed it up slightly, you could try giving an equal amount of pollution credits to every citizen, and then let them trade them to businesses in exchange for goods -- that would probably be the most fair way to do it, but the logistics involved in the record keeping there would be a nightmare. You'd go to the store, and things would cost "$2.99 + .03 carboncredits", or something silly like that. We'd basically be introducing an entire new parallel currency to go alongside the current one.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: US economic suicide?

                              Originally posted by Kerostasis View Post
                              If you changed it up slightly, you could try giving an equal amount of pollution credits to every citizen, and then let them trade them to businesses in exchange for goods -- that would probably be the most fair way to do it, but the logistics involved in the record keeping there would be a nightmare.
                              Use the IRS. Or the Social Security Administration. I'm sure they'd be happy for another justification to support their phoney baloney jobs. (Blazing Saddles reference.)

                              You'd go to the store, and things would cost "$2.99 + .03 carboncredits", or something silly like that. We'd basically be introducing an entire new parallel currency to go alongside the current one.
                              How is that any different from food stamps, or the many international currencies available to us? You must not play WoW. We have a whole bunch of currencies in addition to the main one to keep track of, and ordinary people without a PhD in economics seem to handle them just fine.
                              Dude, seriously, WHAT handkerchief?

                              snooggums' density principal: "The more dense a population, the more dense a population."

                              Iliana: "You're a great friend but if we're ever chased by zombies I'm tripping you."

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