First, the good: This week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled 2-1 that the EPA actually went outside the boarders of current law with its proposed "Transport Rule." The EPA did so by violating emissions limits set forth in the Clean Air Act and by preempting portions of the law that allow states to cut down on emissions before the federal government could step in.
At issue was the tremendous cost to energy companies -- and therefore consumers -- involved with retrofitting 575 coal and natural gas power plants, as well as the extremely short period of time (just two years) in which those changes would have to be made. Tens of thousands of jobs could have been eliminated if power companies decided to retire plants instead of spending millions of dollars on retrofitting. Electricity prices could have skyrocketed.
We all want clean air, and environmental improvements over the past 40 years have led to just that. However, the question remains: when does the increasing burden on American families and businesses outweigh the supposed benefits of even more regulation? For now, at least, the courts have sided with hard-working Americans and against the EPA, which has become increasingly more extreme and beholden to radical environmentalists over the last several years.
Now, the bad: A new Congressional Budget Office report released this week paints a nightmare picture of what next year could be like. If the Senate and President Obama fail to act to stop the massive tax hikes and crippling defense cuts scheduled to occur on January 1, CBO predicts we will slide back into recession.
CBO sees the economy contracting by almost 3 percent in the first half of 2013. Their report also said there will be 2 million fewer jobs if the fiscal cliff is allowed to take place and that most of the contraction would be due to the tax increases.
They also project the official unemployment number would rise from 8.2 percent to 9.1 percent next year. Most troubling, some in Washington have said they want to see us go over the cliff because they think it will give them a stronger hand in negotiating future tax increases. Once again, our economy is left seemingly at the mercy of those who would rather play politics than work to fix our economy.
I have always said that raising taxes not only won't fix Washington's spending problem, it will also have dire consequences for our economy. This new report shows just how bad it could be. That is why I voted to ensure tax rates remain where they are. The bottom line is that we should not be required to send any more money to Washington until the big-spenders there prove they can be responsible with what they already get.