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Regaining Fiscal Responsibility


Location: Washington, DC

Forget your children's college tuition and the auto repairs your family car desperately needs. And you may need to cut down on your family's weekly grocery expenses if House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has her way and sends your energy bill up.

The House Majority leadership is currently devising a Cap and Tax plan (also known as Cap and Trade) to regulate emissions. It is conservatively predicted to cost at least $646 billion. What does this mean for us? According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the amount a family spends on energy could increase by as much as $3,100 per year. We simply can't afford it in this economy.

The intent of such an effort may appear constructive, but the result will not be. Carbon taxes will dramatically increase the cost of energy, which, in turn, will increase the cost of almost everything else we use and consume. Is any aspect of our economy immune from rising energy prices? Pause to look around the room as you are reading this. I would venture to say that everything within your view has energy as one of its inputs. Remember $4 gas? We'll see an increase in the price at the pump by as much as $2.50 under Cap and Tax. We get half of our electricity from coal, so there goes our utility bill.

Unfortunately, the House leadership fails to recognize that America cannot go it alone and have any meaningful environmental impact - but we can suffocate our economy. China and India have made it clear that neither country will work to reduce their emissions. I recently heard testimony before the House Ways and Means Committee on this issue. Using the International Panel on Climate Change climate models, we will only reduce average temperatures by .15 degrees Celsius by the year 2100 with 1,000 new nuclear plants operating in the United States by 2020. Unilateral action will not reduce greenhouse gas emissions but it will destroy millions of jobs, especially in the manufacturing sector.

The implications on trade are also staggering. If we impose draconian carbon taxes only on our domestic industries, we'll create a perverse incentive to flood our country with imports that are cheaper because they don't have the same energy costs. And if we try to prevent this by constructing artificial tariffs on imports, we will invite retaliation from other countries, putting our domestic manufacturers and producers at a disadvantage. It is a vicious downward economic spiral that we should simply avoid.

Beyond the larger economic considerations are those that hit the average family's budget. During his campaign President Obama insisted that he would not raise any sort of taxes on families making less than $250,000. However, under this Cap and Tax system, all families will pay more for energy, goods and services. The majority has suggested offsetting these costs is through a tax credit. But this tax credit, $800 for families, is not enough to cover the increased energy costs - as much as $3,100 per family.

Americans deserve fiscally responsible, common sense solutions to end this recession. Key leaders in the majority in Congress like Nancy Pelosi are willing to raise taxes and other prices because they are not directly impacted by such tight margins in a family budget. Democrats in Washington are taking advantage of our economic crisis, pushing a partisan agenda that offers no concrete benefits to our nation's families.

This sort of partisanship has carried the day for far too long. On the day of his Inauguration, President Obama stated:

"On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics…the time has come to set aside childish things."

It is my sincere hope that these words of bipartisanship will encourage Democrats and Republicans to come together and craft an effective way forward for our energy policy that will lower the burden on the taxpayers while enhancing our job creation potential.

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