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Is he just pining for votes?
Former Utah governor Jon Huntsman takes back his support for cap-and-trade as the race for the GOP presidential nominee presses on. Cap-and-trade ultimately places significant limits on the amount of greenhouse gases companies can emit. Companies are issued permits for every ton of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere and are allowed to sell their permits to other companies if not used. Huntsman completely supported the bill, and back in 2009 said that he is, “doing a very Republican thing to incentivize and develop technologies that are going to fuel our economy."
Is cap-and-trade really considered a “Republican thing to do”? Will it really fuel our economy?
What many people do not realize is that businesses make major adjustments when regulations are imposed on them by the federal government. They adjust so that consumers bear most of the costs through higher prices. The Wall Street Journal points out that, “Democrats are hoping in particular that no one notices who would pay for their climate ambitions.” Businesses have no choice but to raise prices or to suffer immensely.
The class affected the most by this program would be the middle class. Middle class families spend more of their paycheck on heating, fuel for their vehicles, air-conditioning, etc. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that even a smaller 15% cut in emissions would raise costs in the average household to $700 in the lowest quintile and $2,200 in the highest quintile.
Even more serious would be the jobs situation. A lack of demand for energy-intensive goods will cause businesses to downsize. A cap-and-trade program will increase the unemployment rate, which America could not afford with unemployment hovering at 9.1%.
Although Huntsman has a conservative history that includes tax reform and creating a pro-business atmosphere, can we trust a man that supported a program such as cap-and-trade to get America’s private sector rolling? Huntsman now says he does not support cap-and trade, but in such a critical time America cannot afford potential broken promises.