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Kerry-Lieberman Wrong (Again) About Cap and Trade


 There is rejoicing in the Kerry-Lieberman camp now that the Congressional Budget Office has alleged that over 10 years the cap-and-trade bill would reduce the federal deficit $19 billion over ten years. “There is no more room for excuses,” Kerry-Lieberman said in a joint press release, somehow believing they have appeased deficit concerns with this new figure by proposing that the government SPENDS $732 billion for a 2.5 percent “profit.”

Even assuming the unfathomable, that a government can run a bureaucracy on time and within its budget for ten years, this view demonstrates intellectual laziness. The Heritage Foundation found that cap and trade would cost the “economy $9 trillion in lost growth, increase unemployment by destroying as many as 2.5 million jobs, and cost the next generation of families at least $1,500 per year in higher energy costs.”

The $19 billion “gained” would be offset by an enormous amount of growth lost in the economy, which would decrease federal taxes, and cause millions of job causalities. The cap and trade tax is also highly regressive; low-income families spend a higher proportion of their income on energy. The tax will predominantly hurt the poor, and perhaps even require extended welfare benefits. It is also fitting to question the validity of the CBO’s estimate: research reveals that the CBO has a poor record in accurate forecasting; there is a high probability that their number is off and cap and trade will not reduce the deficit at all.

John Kerry and Joe Lieberman have yet to answer the basic reasons to oppose cap and trade. Artificially restricting supply does not lead an ailing economy to prosperity. Burdening small businesses and the poor with regressive taxes does not increase the quality of life for individuals. Government spending cannot reduce the deficit. Perhaps Kerry and Lieberman are beginning to understand the urgency of reigning in the federal deficit, but they should start introducing legislation that will address the deficit, not expand it.

Do not be fooled by Kerry-Lieberman’s meager attempt to appeal to the fiscally responsible. The CBO’s claim does not mitigate the deep flaws of cap and trade. To Kerry and Lieberman, we say: there is no more room for excuses; cap and trade is a grossly misguided and needlessly expensive piece of legislation that deserves defeat. 

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