LABI'S Outlook

LABI's Outlook - February 2009

Is the cost worth the cure? ‘Climate Change’ legislation is coming, but you and I are going to pay for it.

It would be funny if it weren’t so serious. California Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman proclaimed that his powerful committee in Congress will rush “climate change” legislation to the House floor before the Memorial Day recess. This was announced concurrently with the coldest temperatures to hit the heartland of the country in over a decade.

The president and the Democratic majorities in Congress are launching legislation that will hit every pocketbook in America and could cost thousands of jobs as well. Their goal: to reduce carbon emissions that some claim are creating rising global temperatures that threaten life as we know it. But what if they are wrong? There is certainly a body of scientific evidence that indicates the earth has never been in the complete balance of heat energy entering and leaving the atmosphere in equal proportions as “climate change” adherents believe is now being altered by man-made carbon emissions. Reputable scientists have strong evidence to show that global warming and cooling cycles have persisted in regular intervals throughout most of geologic time long before the first carbon emission emanated from cavemen.

Unfortunately, the scientists who have sound theories that stray from the orthodoxy of the man-made climate change “religion” are ignored by most of the media as well as the agencies that fund scientific research. Indeed, some have their careers threatened by the “case closed” true believers of the carbon induced climate change theory.

The legislation being proposed in Congress will significantly drive up the cost for both the producers and consumers of carbon-based energy sources. The higher costs will lead to significant economic impacts immediately. The vehicle of choice —“cap and trade” legislation — will require a huge bureaucracy to administer a complicated system that would penalize some companies, reward others, and have consumers in some regions pay substantially higher energy costs than others due to the type of energy sources available to them. Of course, the element that puts gleams in the eyes of some in Congress is that the federal government could reap huge windfall revenues from such a system.

But where would the money come from? That’s easy: from you and me and millions like us. From businesses and industries already having a hard time making a profit for the goods and services they produce. Who will benefit most from the system (besides the revenue-hungry federal government)? Smatterings of companies whose lobbyists help influence the laws and rules to put them at an advantage over others. Who will come out the worst? The poor, the group that always seems to come out worst, the individuals who can ill afford to pay more for basic energy needs.

Yes, Congress seems to be in a mad rush to push through legislation that can have a huge impact on the job security and livelihood of American workers. “Change” is the mantra in Washington, but change is a two-sided coin. Before dramatically altering the economic landscape of the nation, if I were a member of Congress, I would want to make darn sure the “crisis” I was attempting to fix was real; that my “cure” for it was definitely going to work; and that the sacrifices I was asking Americans to make were unquestionably worth the price they would have to pay.

With all due respect, I don’t think our elected representatives in Washington can give us those assurances. Unfortunately, that probably won’t stop them from pushing through the biggest boondoggle since their “reforms” of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Dan Juneau is president of the Louisiana Association of Business & Industry.