By Rep. Steve Scalise
Hard work, grit, and determination built America. Those values remain at the core of what makes our nation the greatest country in the history of the world. That same spirit lives on today in states like Louisiana where the domestic energy industry creates high-paying American jobs for middle class families and helps lead our march towards energy independence. But Washington liberals, with their heads in the sand, want to change all that. They ignore common sense and unbiased facts, in a mad rush to pursue their radical agenda of restricting American energy development at any cost.
Their latest proposal is nothing new really, just the same repackaged and renamed initiative -- a nationwide carbon tax. Regardless of the name, and it has had many over the years, the effect of a carbon tax will always be the same - higher energy costs on families and fewer jobs here at home. Make no mistake - implementing a carbon-tax under the guise of environmental regulations is just the latest salvo in the liberals' pursuit of their radical agenda, and yet another attempt to feed their unquenchable thirst for job-killing tax hikes.
Fortunately, the American people and the House GOP refuse to be steamrolled by Washington liberals seeking to implement radical polices behind closed doors. A recent survey by the Institute for Energy Research shows that a strong majority of American voters oppose a carbon tax. I'm proud to lead the effort to oppose a national carbon tax in Congress. With more than 145 cosponsors to our bill, a powerful group of carbon tax opponents is organized and ready to act swiftly to defend our nation from the threat of yetanother liberal job-killing tax.
When it comes to America's energy reserves, the paradigm has shifted from the threat of energy scarcity to the new blessing of energy abundance. We must continue this positive trend toward American energy security if we hope to control our own destiny. Simply put, a carbon tax is a step in the wrong direction, and will just be used as another source to fund more bloated wasteful Washington spending.We need only look abroad to see the real-world effects of such radical proposals. Just last week, high energy prices and diminished competiveness in the global marketplace forced Australia to announce they would ditch their version of a carbon tax.
It's been proven that a carbon tax will lead to more American jobs forced overseas, and will increase the cost of virtually every manufactured good that families purchase. A study by the National Association of Manufacturers recently found that a carbon tax would drop output by as much as 15 percent in energy-intensive sectors of our economy and 7.7 percent in non-energy intensive sectors. It would also force the cost of natural gas to increase by more than 40 percent and cause the price of gas to spike by more than 20 cents per gallon.
American families are already struggling to stay afloat in the failed Obama economy. More than four and a half years of failed big-government laws and regulations (See: Obamacare) threaten to devastate millions more families and small businesses. Americans need solutions from Washington, not more job-killing regulations and taxes.
The penchant for Washington liberals to seek new ways to implement radical policies in the pursuit of their extreme agenda has pushed our nation to the brink. Two distinct paths are laid out before our nation. The future holds endless potential if we choose the free-market path towards energy independence with less government intrusion and common-sense regulations. Diverging from that path leads down a road choked with radical government regulations, big government overreach, and the slow dissolve of the American Dream as we know it.
Washington cannot continue handcuffing hardworking American families and small businesses to a stagnant economy and a bleak future. It's time for the liberals in Washington to abandon their push for a carbon tax, admit the devastating impact of their reckless big government policies, and work with House Republicans to achieve American energy independence and finally get our economy back on track.
Congressman Steve Scalise represents Louisiana's First Congressional District. He serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and is the Chairman of the Republican Study Committee, a group of more than 170 conservative members in the House.