PI Original Adam Doster Monday June 22nd, 2009, 10:08am

The "Largest Assault On Democracy" Will Only Cost Households $175 Per Year

For months, we've heard dire warnings from members of the Illinois congressional delegation about the economic dangers of a nationwide cap-and-trade bill to limit carbon emissions. Republican Rep. John Shimkus has led the charge, claiming the House climate bill proposal -- ...

For months, we've heard dire warnings from members of the Illinois congressional delegation about the economic dangers of a nationwide cap-and-trade bill to limit carbon emissions. Republican Rep. John Shimkus has led the charge, claiming the House climate bill proposal -- which he called "the largest assault on democracy and freedom in this country that I’ve ever experienced" -- would cost individual homeowners as much as $3,100 a year in additional taxes. GOP Rep. Peter Roskam, no friend of the environment himself, has repeated the same misleading statistic. Even some local Democrats have raised concerns about the cost to taxpayers, such has Rep. Jerry Costello, who told The Southern he opposes the measure because he believes it will result in higher electric bills.

The number-crunchers at the Congressional Budget Office, meanwhile, aren't so worried about the climate bill's effects on low-income Americans. On Saturday, the independent agency released its estimate of the impact of Waxman-Markey on household budgets. Here's what they found:

[T]he Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the net annual economywide cost of the cap-and-trade program in 2020 would be $22 billion—or about $175 per household. That figure includes the cost of restructuring the production and use of energy and of payments made to foreign entities under the program, but it does not include the economic benefits and other benefits of the reduction in GHG emissions and the associated slowing of climate change. CBO could not determine the incidence of certain pieces (including both costs and benefits) that represent, on net, about 8 percent of the total. For the remaining portion of the net cost, households in the lowest income quintile would see an average net benefit of about $40 in 2020, while households in the highest income quintile would see a net cost of $245.

So the richest Americans would pay $245 a year to help prevent an environmental and economic catastrophe. The poorest would actually save money on their energy bills by the year 2020.

Quite an "assault."

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