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US House May Pass "Cap & Trade" Bill 874

Posted by kdawson
from the make-everybody-mad-and-you-must-be-doing-something-right dept.
jamie found this roundup on the status of the Waxman-Markey climate change bill, which is about to be voted on by the US House of Representatives. (The article notes that if the majority Democrats can't see the 218 votes needed for passage, they will probably put off the vote.) The AP has put together a FAQ that says, "[The bill, if passed,] fundamentally will change how we use, produce and consume energy, ending the country's love affair with big gas-guzzling cars and its insatiable appetite for cheap electricity. This bill will put smaller, more efficient cars on the road, swap smokestacks for windmills and solar panels, and transform the appliances you can buy for your home." The odds-makers are giving the bill a marginal chance of passing in the House, with tougher going expected in the Senate.
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US House May Pass "Cap & Trade" Bill

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  • by russotto (537200) on Friday June 26, 2009 @09:48AM (#28481385) Journal

    And energy rationing, by this name or any other, spells death for the economy. They might as well call it the "starve and freeze" bill.

    • by EastCoastSurfer (310758) on Friday June 26, 2009 @09:59AM (#28481599)

      You're right. This bill should really be called "A Tax Increase For All Americans." The estimated tax revenue the government expects to extract from the population from the passage of this bill is huge.

      • by Logical Zebra (1423045) on Friday June 26, 2009 @10:11AM (#28481779)

        You're right. This bill should really be called "A Tax Increase For All Americans." The estimated tax revenue the government expects to extract from the population from the passage of this bill is huge.

        The Wall Street Journal [wsj.com] would certainly agree with you.

        Britain did something similar, and the average family is paying an extra $1,300 (USD) in taxes per year.

        • by artemis67 (93453) on Friday June 26, 2009 @10:54AM (#28482643)

          Exactly. The real purpose of this bill is to pay for all of the porkulus spending we've seen this year.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by ksheff (2406)
            No. That would be somewhat responsible. This will be spent on some other nonsense.
        • by Malc (1751) on Friday June 26, 2009 @11:03AM (#28482851)

          The tax rate's gone up, but if consumption has gone down, what is the real cost to average family? Do you really trust a group to be unbiased or accurate whose mission statement starts: "The TaxPayers' Alliance is Britain's independent grassroots campaign for lower taxes."

        • by Loadmaster (720754) on Friday June 26, 2009 @11:17AM (#28483117) Homepage

          My problem with that WSJ article is that it assumes energy production will not change before 2020. Basically, the CO2 output of a energy production plant will remain constant. The point of the legislation is to encourage (or force if you prefer) a switch to renewable energy and/or CO2 sequestering. If we do the green revolution in earnest we'll get a lot of our energy from green sources which will fall well under the CO2 limits thereby not succumbing to the tax hits. Today's conventional energy production facilities should be working on CO2 sequestering and by 2020 (when the really strict CO2 limits come into effect) they should be under as well. Energy moguls don't want to change because it costs them money. Average Americans don't want to change because they don't see why they should, don't really understand the effects of the legislation and don't want to pay a cent more. Both want things to go back to the way they were. That is not ever going to happen. If you want cheap energy we need wind, solar, nuclear, tidal, algae and carbon sequestering. We need more sources of energy. Killing this legislation doesn't make that need go away.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by MikeURL (890801)
            I think part of what annoys people is that they see energy prices going up even as the world is absolutely stuffed to the brim with crude inventories. I know most people aren't reading EIA reports but they may hear on the news that price rises are due to "speculators" and that there is no true energy shortage. That is actually accurate so people have a justification to start off with suspicions.

            Then add to that the fact that you need to be God to fully understand the ecosystem of the planet and you you
      • This can't be true. Obama promised that taxes would not go up for 95% of Americans.

        • Solution (Score:5, Funny)

          by SuperKendall (25149) on Friday June 26, 2009 @10:39AM (#28482321)

          Obama promised that taxes would not go up for 95% of Americans.

          Congratulations. You are no longer an American, but a Citizen Of The World (tm).

          Here's you new tax bill.

        • by AlexDV (759799) on Friday June 26, 2009 @11:37AM (#28483485)
          He told the truth. Taxes will go up for 100% of Americans.
        • by vandon (233276) on Friday June 26, 2009 @12:37PM (#28484453) Homepage

          He also promised that there would be change:

          He still supports not investigating the warrant-less wiretapping.

          Despite having a majority in congress, Gitmo still isn't closed.

          After promising all non-emergency bills would be posted to be read on the gov website, only 2 have been before he signed them and then only for 1 day in a non-searchable format.

          He said that we have to bail out the automakers and not let them file bankruptcy for the good of the US, he only saved the CEOs and investors, then let them file for bankruptcy anyway.

          He promised that there wouldn't be any new taxes on the middle or lower class, but most of the bills he's pushing amount to direct taxes on everyone. Cap and Trade=Fuel tax, National healthcare=tax hike for any employed American with health insurance, Raising capital gains taxes=tax hike on anyone with a 401k or IRA account.

          The only thing that's changed in the whitehouse is that people stopped believing Bush's lies.
          <sarcasm>At least we still have "hope"</sarcasm>

      • by ArcherB (796902) on Friday June 26, 2009 @10:16AM (#28481865) Journal

        You're right. This bill should really be called "A Tax Increase For All Americans." The estimated tax revenue the government expects to extract from the population from the passage of this bill is huge.

        NO NO NO! We have nothing to worry about!!

        "I can make a firm pledge. Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes...you will not see any of your taxes increase one single dime."
        --Barack Obama
        Dover NH, Sept 12, 2008

        See, the leader has spoken. There will be no tax increase for those of us making under $250,000/yr

        (If I need a sarc tag, you need to go to another site)

        • by Anynomous Coward (841063) on Friday June 26, 2009 @10:48AM (#28482529)
          He's not lying. Thanks to hyperinflation, soon every murkan may make a million or more.
        • by anonicon (215837) on Friday June 26, 2009 @10:54AM (#28482641)

          Eh, sorry, but Americans elect candidates based on the quality of their lies. Obama's were better than McCain's, and his delivery was smoother.

          Between your documented instance and the fact that the dumbest politicans are the ones who tell the explicit truth regardless of blowback, if you want to spread the blame, look no further than a public that isn't willing to be honest with itself and its expectations.

          Chuck

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by AK Marc (707885)
          There will be no tax increase for those of us making under $250,000/yr

          And so he will not increase taxes. That he taxes corporations and they pass along costs to people doesn't make it a lie. It makes him a politician. The taxes on the people making less than $250,000 will not change. Period. But if those evil corporations don't cut energy use, and instead choose to charge people more for products, that's their fault.
          • If you force the employer to pay an income tax instead of the employee, does that no longer make it a tax? Of course not. The logic is ridiculous. Taxes can be most broadly defined as any government revenue, inflation (money printing) included, because no matter how they get it, it takes resources away from the people and makes living that much more expensive. This "Cap and trade" bill is a tax, plain and simple, on every single person, and it isn't even projected to do much to the climate to add insult to

        • He wasn't lying (Score:3, Informative)

          by snowwrestler (896305)

          Cap and trade will not increase my taxes, it will increase the prices of energy I buy.

          Obama is and was playing to his base, who share two attributes--they don't like big corporations and they have a poor grasp of macroeconomics.

          You and I know that there is no practical difference in my first sentence--either way I'm paying more money. But there are a lot of people who think we can raise taxes on big companies and the money will just come from "somewhere" to pay them. The rest of us know that higher corporat

      • by debrain (29228) on Friday June 26, 2009 @10:36AM (#28482239) Journal

        This bill should really be called "A Tax Increase For All Americans."

        Sir:

        Responsible energy use is only a tax on the current generation. Future generations will have the benefit of this tax, including more oil, less pollution, less natural catastrophes, better environmental technology, and a more responsible culture. Indeed, the "free" oil we're burning today is a tax on future generations, who will pay the price for our selfish, short-sighted behaviour. I call the existing scheme of state-environment relations as the "fuck the kids" model.

        As a technical note, it's not strictly a tax because it is simply the assignment of a property value to a currently hidden cost (i.e. on future generations), it permits valuation and bartering of that now hidden cost (i.e. it's "property", somewhat like intellectual property), and it can be avoided through technological innovation. The brilliance is that it is creating the facade of a marketplace, where the costs to the participants in the marketplace are designed to coincide with the harms to the environment. It's actually quite fascinating and brilliant, in my humble opinion. Let's hope it proves valuable.

        • by theascended (1228810) on Friday June 26, 2009 @11:20AM (#28483187)

          Let's hope it proves valuable.

          Lets hope we see the smallest amount of value before the American economy completely implodes.

          I would love to debate the merits of individual policies all day long. Between the stimulus, bailouts and healthcare we've already got a hole that can't be filled that was dug by policies that were short sighted and badly engineered in the first place (yes, some from Bush). Sure, they all have redeeming principles in them, but the actual implementation leaves much to be desired. All of that aside, Obama's biggest problem is one of scope. You can't quadruple the national deficit in one year and add nearly $5 trillion (number from the CBO) to the national debt in as many years and then go on to (at a minimum - again numbers from the CBO & WSJ) double the energy costs for the AVERAGE American... We've already passed the legislation necessary to completely destroy the economy... this will just help it come faster.

          Obama and his administration seem to only consider the ideal situation... the one in which their policies work out exactly as they intended... unfortunately they aren't and will continue to go awry, cap&trade included.

          I, like you, see our destruction of the environment as a debt to future generations and actions must be taken to protect the world for the future, however, please consider the fact that our children won't have a future if we've spent out economy into oblivion. If you are ok with the United States going up to 25% unemployment again, people by the tens-of-millions living on the streets on in shelters, and your children having little to no education (or an advantage really) to speak of all for the protection of the environment, then I guess such considerations need not be made. I, however, will give my votes and support to people who are willing to find a hybrid between prosperity and environmentalism.

          • by AK Marc (707885) on Friday June 26, 2009 @12:22PM (#28484221)
            Lets hope we see the smallest amount of value before the American economy completely implodes.

            Too late. Clinton managed to halt the growth of the debt, even sandwiched between two borrow-and-spend presidents. However, doing that again, with the additional debt Bush added would be nearly impossible. We'd need both sides to make concessions, and not the "concessions" where they aren't giving up their own pet projects, but instead letting the other guy spend more on his. Cut military in half. Cut health care spending in half (and I think that could be done without decreasing care at all, so that isn't a call to decrease coverage, but change the system so that costs and coverage are the primary concerns, not protecting the health care and insurance industries and AMA). Index SS (if it was indexed at the beginning, then we'd not be having any problems, but with people living longer, retiring later and such, the numbers don't work out). Pay back at least 5% of the debt per year (not 5% of the previous year each year, but to make the debt 0 in 20 years).

            That's a simple plan. That plan would work. However, the Republicans would be against it because it cut military. The Democrats would be against it because it would appear to cut welfare. Pork is nothing in our budget, it's a billion here and a billion here in a multi-trillion dollar budget. If all the pork was cut, we still couldn't balance the budget, let alone start paying off the massive and debilitating debt. If the debt was gone now, our tax bill would be 25% less. Wouldn't you like a 25% decrease in taxes? If they cut spending enough to make my plan work, once the debt was paid off, taxes would be nearly half what they are now. Wouldn't you like lower taxes? Then make your politicians cut spending and pay back the debt.

            I gave up. I'm leaving the country. The ship is sinking, and I'm the rat leaving the millions of captains to go down with it. Not that the global economy will do great when the US implodes, but that it will be better than being here. I'll come back in 30 years when everything recovers and it's the best country in the world again. At this point, the sooner it blows up, the sooner the US will be fixed. So I'm morbidly cheering for all plans that spend money without increasing taxes. That's one step closer to insolvency.
        • by demachina (71715) on Friday June 26, 2009 @11:54AM (#28483793)

          I certainly hope it works but I'm wondering how its going to save the worlds climate if China continues to expand its use of coal to generate electricity faster than the entire rest of the world can reduce their output of CO2. Likewise how is it really going to solve our climate problem if, as American's switch to fuel efficient cars, India and China drive to put their billions of people IN TO cars and create cities with clogged freeways in their drive to emulate American stupidity.

          If the U.S. and Europe had done this 40-50 years the benefits would have been huge. At this point the U.S. and Western Europe are mostly just cutting back to allow China and India to assume their rightful role, due to their overpopulation, as consumers of most of the world's fossil fuels and producers of most of its pollution.

          Cap and trade really only solves our climate problem if they whole world does is. So far China in particular is refusing because they say they are a developing economy and they have the right to pollute and squander energy the same way the U.S. and Europe did during their industrial revolution. They view it as unfair for the west to have gotten away with polluting to build their wealth and now telling them they can't just as they are building their own.

          I recall reading an article on cap and trade in Europe, I think in the NY times some time ago. It pointed out that some of its "success" was because many industries, that were major producers of CO2, and which would be hammered by the caps, just moved off shore to Africa, China or anyplace but the EU. In probably resulted in those factories polluting more since they weren't under any pollution constraints at all once they left the EU.

          Unfortunately much the same thing will happen in the U.S. for any manufacturing industry that is CO2 heavy. It will just accelerate the flight of manufacturing to China and India where there are NO pollution controls worth mentioning, energy is cheap due to most of it coming from coal, and labor is cheap too. China is trying to build more nuclear and hydro in their defense, and they know they have a problem. But they also HAVE to grow their economy 7-8% a year just to keep their growing population employed. Chances are they will do a major expansion in clean energy AND continue a dramatic expansion in burning coal.

          The only solution to the China problem is you have to place tariffs on Chinese exports to inflict the cap and trade on them against their will and then you get in to a global trade war.

          Cap and trade is likely to really only work in the U.S. on captive CO2 producers who can't flee to escape the tax, like coal fired power plants, driving and airlines. It will just accelerate the flight of manufacturing and maybe even data centers to places without cap and trade and with cheaper electricity. Only manufacturing that will stay in this country is the manufacturing being government subsidized like our car companies lately.

          I appreciate the value of cap and trade in punishing coal fired power plants. They are a horror. But unless this country actually starts a Manhattan project to develop an energy source that is cheap, clean, abundant and renewable, cap and trade is going to have negative economic consequences. If the U.S. could, for example, accelerate the ignition facility and get us workable fusion power SOON that would be a boon to our economy. I fear its blind optimism to think that making "green energy" competitive by making everything else more expensive wont hammer our economy. We started using coal and oil for energy precisely because you need the cheapest possible energy to drive an industrialized economy. The more expensive your energy source is the more of a drag it is on your economy.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Alaska Jack (679307)

          I realize that sounds like a sophisticated perspective, but consider another. The surest thing we can do to impoverish future generations is *impoverish ourselves*. By the same token, future generations gain by and build upon our own prosperity.

          From reading some of the comments here, you'd never guess that our environment is in far better shape than it was 15 years ago, and it was in better shape then than the 15 years prior, etc. Almost every single enviromental indice is improving, and has been for a long

        • by cayenne8 (626475)
          "Responsible energy use is only a tax on the current generation. Future generations will have the benefit of this tax, including more oil, less pollution, less natural catastrophes, better environmental technology, and a more responsible culture. Indeed, the "free" oil we're burning today is a tax on future generations, who will pay the price for our selfish, short-sighted behaviour. I call the existing scheme of state-environment relations as the "fuck the kids" model."

          Err...I'm here on earth living now.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dc29A (636871) *

        There is a great article in the Rolling Stone magazine by Matt Taibbi about Goldman Sachs and the bubbles it has created/exploited. Can you guess where the tax money from this is going to go? The next big bubble: carbon credit. And who will benefit from it? The company who is "environmentally conscious", Goldman Sachs.

        The US will put a cap on CO2 emission. Company A goes over the cap by 10 units. Company B is under by 10 units. B sells the credits to A. Who is the middle man? Goldman Sachs. To make it worse

    • by jcr (53032) <jcr@mEULERac.com minus math_god> on Friday June 26, 2009 @10:23AM (#28481983) Journal

      They might as well call it the "starve and freeze" bill.

      Depending on how quickly its effects show up, it could also be called "the democrats piss away their majority in both houses of congress in a single election cycle" bill.

      -jcr

    • Complete the following sentence: The USA needs 25% of the world's energy because...?
  • Link to AP FAQ (Score:3, Informative)

    by VinylRecords (1292374) on Friday June 26, 2009 @09:48AM (#28481387)

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090626/ap_on_bi_ge/us_climate_q_a [yahoo.com]

    I couldn't get the link to work in the main story so here it is via Yahoo!.

  • No real impact (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Gothmolly (148874) on Friday June 26, 2009 @09:49AM (#28481399)

    People will still drive SUVs, they will just complain about the price. People will still have widescreen TVs, they will just complain about the cost of electricity. What Washington constantly fails to realize is that you can't legislate tastes, attitudes, and morality. If people want to consume energy, they will. You need a cultural shift, where people no longer feel the need to have huge cars, new TVs, etc etc and THEN you'll see energy usage go down.

    • Re:No real impact (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Shanrak (1037504) on Friday June 26, 2009 @09:55AM (#28481517)
      Well that right there is where the problem inherently lies. This is just a plain old tax, but instead of seemingly coming from the government, most people gets the impression that it is from the 'evil' corporations. Damn those car makers and electric companies raising the costs! If the government wants to generate revenue, RAISE THE TAXES and suffer the consequences, don't try to shift blame to corporations.
    • Re:No real impact (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 26, 2009 @10:25AM (#28482035)

      No real impact

      I think you couldn't be more wrong.

      We've already seen with $4 / gallon gas prices, people will dramatically shift the types of cars they drive. Cap and Trade could raise the cost of gas well above this. Only the uber rich will be driving SUV's.

      Raising the cost of electricity is inflationary in nature and will raise the cost of everything. We saw this already when oil and natural gas skyrocketed to unseen levels only a year or so ago. Given this fact, the hardest hit will be on the poorer side of the scale as even the smallest increases in costs take a much larger percentage of income. There will be a lot less wide-screen TV's being purchased, and most of them being in the homes of high-middle income earners.

      What citizens haven't learned is that Washington politics are beholden to their lobbies (both sides of the isle) and this idea of cap and trade is scandalous right to the core. What good is cap and trade on global warming when all you do is tax manufacturing and jobs out of the US (which has some emissions controls) to other other countries (that have little to none)? You won't be doing the world any favors by pushing factories to another part of the world. You'll just be hurting your own country by destroying it's economy and probably destroying the world faster since those other countries allow you to pollute more as well as all goods will now have to be all shipped back to the places they use to be manufactured.

      This has laws of unintended consequences all over this and your ignorant idea that "this will change nothing" couldn't be farther from the truth.

      This will be the longest 4 years in America's history.

    • Re:No real impact (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jcr (53032) <jcr@mEULERac.com minus math_god> on Friday June 26, 2009 @10:31AM (#28482139) Journal

      People will still drive SUVs, they will just complain about the price.

      The USA isn't just the middle class. The people who will suffer the most from this new tax scheme are the people who are living hand-to-mouth, who are about to get fucked good and hard by the need to choose between driving to work or heating their homes.

      You don't actually know any poor people, do you?

      -jcr

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      This is about forcing the poor and lower-middle into shifting, they'll be the ones who will have no alternative, but fortunately they make up most of the population and seldom contribute to political campaigns. Then again, when someone making 24K a year can't get a loan to get a new car, well good luck with that. I guess they had better make sure they live in a city and rely on public transportation.

      The part that perplexes me is why there isn't a tax credit for shippers? They need cheap fuel to transport go

  • Good intentions (Score:3, Insightful)

    by brian0918 (638904) <brian0918@@@gmail...com> on Friday June 26, 2009 @09:49AM (#28481409)
    Now, if only good intentions could justify the violation of individual rights, then they would have an argument.
    • Re:Good intentions (Score:4, Insightful)

      by copponex (13876) on Friday June 26, 2009 @09:59AM (#28481607) Homepage

      Since when is access to cheap and dirty energy a right? We share the same planet. My grandkids have the right to enjoy clean air, water, and a healthy environment that far outweighs your right to pollute it.

      This is one of those holes in free market theory that we have to plug. The value of having a biosphere that supports human life is not zero.

      • by dfenstrate (202098) <dfenstrate@NOSpam.gmail.com> on Friday June 26, 2009 @11:09AM (#28482971)

        While I don't expect a Chomsky fan to have any reasoning abilities found outside of a college sophomore with a chip on his shoulder, I'll respond anyway for other readers.

        Whether or not we have a 'right' to cheap energy is besides the point. The bill will be completely inneffective while gutting our economy.

        1) China and Russia are laughing at us. This act will artificially drive up the price of cheap-carbon based fuel in the US, reducing US demand. Reduced US demand will lower the global price, making oil and coal MORE attractive options for the rest of the world. Their increased use will more than offset any possible reductions we could do, with this bill or any other.

        2) Folks like you are willing to spend billions of dollars and eviscerate our economy on the trillion dollar scale in a futile and arrogant attempt to turn back the clock. None from your side has ever talked about how we would deal with increased global temperatures, how we might mitigate any rising sea levels, or what the potential upsides to global warming are.

        (These first two points are valid regardless of whether or not you're a global warming believer)

        3) The climate is always changing, even before we started emitting massive amounts of carbon or anything else. Go look up climate history and see that the best reconstructed information we have, in recorded human history and prior, shows the climate has been significantly warmer and significantly cooler than it is now.

        The term 'global warming' lately has even been replaced with the term 'climate change.' This should tip off any prudent observer that it's all a blatant move to grab money and power. The climate is always changing, and as such, in the 'Climate Change' political environment, will always serve as a convienent excuse to expand taxes and the suffocating regulatory state.

        The problem isn't carbon emissions, the problem is folks like you who think they're infinately wiser than their fellow man and the free market, and see no problem with grasping all the money and power they can in order to force their good intentions on the rest of us.

        And don't you dare talk to me like I favor large smoke stacks bellowing thick black smoke over American cities, and dumping nasty chemicals into rivers. We solved those problems decades ago and I'm fine with that sort of regulation. Now we've got arrogant do-gooders on a mission with nothing good to do, and we'll all suffer for their hubris if not stopped.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by copponex (13876)

          While I don't expect a Chomsky fan to have any reasoning abilities found outside of a college sophomore with a chip on his shoulder, I'll respond anyway for other readers.

          I'm just starting college, actually. I never went after high school.

          1) China and Russia are laughing at us. This act will artificially drive up the price of cheap-carbon based fuel in the US, reducing US demand. Reduced US demand will lower the global price, making oil and coal MORE attractive options for the rest of the world. Their increased use will more than offset any possible reductions we could do, with this bill or any other.

          Citation?

          2) Folks like you are willing to spend billions of dollars and eviscerate our economy on the trillion dollar scale in a futile and arrogant attempt to turn back the clock. None from your side has ever talked about how we would deal with increased global temperatures, how we might mitigate any rising sea levels, or what the potential upsides to global warming are.

          We've spent tens of trillions of dollars investing in arms and killing people for the last fifty years. Do you think that's a better investment?

          3) The climate is always changing, even before we started emitting massive amounts of carbon or anything else. Go look up climate history and see that the best reconstructed information we have, in recorded human history and prior, shows the climate has been significantly warmer and significantly cooler than it is now.

          So the weather changes, but burning up every drop of biomass stored in the earths crust in 150 years won't make a bit of difference, despite the fact that it's taken hundreds of millions of years to form in the first place.

          The term 'global warming' lately has even been replaced with the term 'climate change.' This should tip off any prudent observer that it's all a blatant move to grab money and power. The climate is always changing, and as such, in the 'Climate Change' political environment, will always serve as a convienent excuse to expand taxes and the suffocating regulatory state.

          Yes, the scientists have all banded together to RULE THE WORLD by te

  • by bugeaterr (836984) on Friday June 26, 2009 @09:52AM (#28481451)

    The problem of too much cheap electricity is about to be solved.

  • by Duradin (1261418) on Friday June 26, 2009 @09:54AM (#28481509)

    Sure it doesn't actually produce any energy, but it doesn't produce any CO2 either!

    Now to sit back, get my pollution permits, resell them and profit!

  • by Shivetya (243324) on Friday June 26, 2009 @09:56AM (#28481545) Homepage Journal

    Lets see, to get votes from Democrats in heavily affected states Pelosi will force upon us even more years and billions towards Ethanol. It is a 1200 page bill I doubt you will find if a small minority has read it all, let alone understands it. It will embed taxes while vilifying energy producers - the common theme of Washington - raising the cost of EVERYTHING.

    The CBO report was hacked to make it look acceptable, real numbers by other groups put the cost from 1800 to 3000 per family.

    I guess they have to rush to get their damage done in the two years they will have complete control. Honestly, once these timebombs start going off its going to flip the house and senate back. Maybe then we can have a real President and real Congress - ones so busy fighting each other that we get some protection from both.

    As in, bring back a Republican majority in Congress and Democrat President who will fight them. Not this shit we have now where the President lets Congress run the ball and then claims credit for the touch down with the press dutifully cheering on the side lines with their pom poms.

    Tax reform will never happen while government lives up the hidden power of embedded taxes.

  • by Jebinator (1360963) on Friday June 26, 2009 @09:56AM (#28481555)
    Why not call it what it is? A tax increase for the entire nation based on how much energy you use. The EPA finally released a censored study last night that pointed out how much the EPA has been ignoring the real science of the matter. The EPA's 'endangerment' study was completely politicized. One of the e-mails from a superior to the employee who had worked at the EPA for 35 years and wanted the study released: "The time for such discussion of fundamental issues has passed for this round. The administrator and the administration has decided to move forward on endangerment, and your comments do not help the legal or policy case for this decision... I can only see one impact of your comments given where we are in the process, and that would be a very negative impact on our office." Look it up, you'll be disgusted as I am after hearing how many times people have said "The science is settled" to try and pass this extra tax.
  • by hansamurai (907719) <hansamurai@gmail.com> on Friday June 26, 2009 @10:05AM (#28481679) Homepage Journal

    This bill is so huge, Congress jokingly hired a speed reader to read through the bill after Republicans asked for it to be read aloud (giant waste of time to do in session). But honestly, if our Congressmen and women won't even read the bills they pass why the hell are they signing their names on them in the first place? There's undoubtedly so much pork in this bill it will cause problems above and beyond the things its addressing in the first place.

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/capitol-briefing/2009/05/speed_reader_brings_levity_to.html [washingtonpost.com]

  • by Orne (144925) on Friday June 26, 2009 @10:10AM (#28481765) Homepage

    Put a cap on the emissions that industry can output, then create a market where companies can trade the right to pollute. Cap and Trade.

    The big question is, what is this Change going to do to the US economy?

    1. Create asymmetry between US industry and global industry for future growth. Why should I build my factory in the USA and go through the regulations when it just became more profitable to build it overseas?
    2. Existing price structures are scrambled. Estimates from the power industry say that once you add in the costs of Cap-and-trade, this will make Coal more expensive than Natural Gas fuel, completely flipping the fuel makeups of almost all electricity production markets. Since Coal is used as fuel for about half of the energy production [doe.gov] in the US, this will be disasterous to the wholesale markets. Since corporations always pass costs down to consumers, expect to see your retail electric bills go up by 5-15% [marshall.org], or an average of $700-1400 per family per year.
    3. Who exactly is benefitting here? Estimates are that about $50 to $300 billion [americanprogress.org] is getting ready to change hands, with the government running the auction for the "rights" to pollute. It essentially puts extra costs on industry that uses polluting fuels, and the claims are that some of the money will become subsidies to cleaner/greener energy producers. Since zero-emission technology is currently 3x as expensive as fossil based technologies, there will not be any savings to the public, hense the comparisons to a "tax" for the public.

    While all of cap-and-trade appears very poorly thought out, Pres. Obama actually fully intended this to happen [blogspot.com], as interviewed almost a year ago. So, hold on to your wallet, change is coming...

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mpapet (761907)

      Who exactly is benefitting here?

      Government owning the rights to pollute doesn't mean they stand to benefit the most.

      The Investment Banking cohorts JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs are the **huge** winners. How?
      1. They take a cut of every transaction. The more valuable the credits, the more they earn. So the value of the business is guaranteed to increase every year.
      2. They arbitrage the market. There is a spread that develops between an asking and a selling price in any given market. you can place bets

    • by bahwi (43111) <incomingNO@SPAMjosephguhlin.com> on Friday June 26, 2009 @11:12AM (#28483017) Homepage

      "expect to see your retail electric bills go up by 5-15%, or an average of $700-1400 per family per year.
      x * 0.15 = $1400
      $1400/0.15 = 9333.33- / 12 = $777.77-

      WHO SPENDS $800 a month on electricity already? If you're electric bill is already $10k it sounds like a small increase!

      Know what you're talking about. And as a hint, we already pay taxes on this kind of crap, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superfund [wikipedia.org]
      this is just taxing the companies while they exist, instead of having them pay their employees and the citizens having to pay to clean it up while the business gets off scott free.

  • Cap and Tax (Score:3, Informative)

    by lgb (1570277) on Friday June 26, 2009 @10:25AM (#28482027)
    This will be the largest tax increase in United States history. The House Dems are rushing this bill through without even reading the bill. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124597505076157449.html [wsj.com]
  • Economic suicide (Score:4, Informative)

    by Experiment 626 (698257) on Friday June 26, 2009 @10:56AM (#28482693)

    A proposed amendment to the Cap and Trade Tax sought to provide a safety valve in case it goes horribly awry and trashes the economy. It stipulated that if gasoline reached $5 a gallon or unemployment hit 15%, the tax would go away. Sponsors of the bill basically argued that destroying the economy was not a bug but a feature, and rejected this.

    If you think the current recession is bad, it's going to get a lot worse if this tax becomes law.

  • politics as usual (Score:3, Insightful)

    by shystershep (643874) * <[bdshepherd] [at] [gmail.com]> on Friday June 26, 2009 @11:08AM (#28482947) Homepage Journal
    They told me that if I voted for McCain, science would continue to be subverted in favor of religion and political expediency. And they were right!
  • by codepunk (167897) on Friday June 26, 2009 @11:25AM (#28483289)

    Get ready to see even more jobs being shipped south of the border if this is implemented. Simple economics
    really, cheaper labor and now we add yet another reason not to produce anything in the US by increasing
    energy prices.

  • by Bob9113 (14996) on Friday June 26, 2009 @11:53AM (#28483769) Homepage

    First: the fundamental problem: We live in a global economy. This will absolutely increase the cost of domestically produced carbon-intensive goods relative to foreign produced carbon intensive goods from countries that are not affected by the program (unless we implement an import tariff to match the internal effective tax).

    That doesn't mean it's a bad idea, but it is a fact which must be weighed when considering the program.

    I still like the idea, though I would want the allotment (see below) to be high enough that it would be more of a gentle nudge than a baseball bat.

    That's the problem, and my take, on the general concept. As for this specific embodiment, it is going to be a gigantic corruption engine, passing money from the biggest polluters to the most unscrupulous politicians, regulators, and lobbyists. But it can be solved, if you like the gentle nudge idea (or even if you like the baseball bat idea).

    The first step in a cap-and-trade program sets a limit on the amount of gases that can be released into the atmosphere. That is the cap. Companies with facilities that are covered by the cap will then receive permits for their share of the pollution, an annual pollution allowance. This bill initially would give the bulk of the permits away for free to help ease costs, but they still would have value because there would be a limited supply.

    So, what portion of those initial free credits do I get? Who decides how much each company gets? Is it based on industry? Revenue? Profit? Market cap? Campaign contributions?

    My guess is that this is going to be another gigantic paean to incumbents and the big shaft for startups.

    Here's my proposal:

    Every U.S. voting citizen gets an equal share, to do with as they please, apportioned annually. Corps don't get any -- they have to buy them from citizens. Give yours to your employer, sell it, sit on it, whatever. After all, this is a public good that is up for sale, right? What possible fair system could be established for the government picking which corps to give them to?

    To keep the prices reasonable at first, start with massive over-subscription. Allot 1,000,000x what we're producing now. That should solve the problems of the initial market not existing. Then just lower the rate by 10x per year until we get to the desired level. But don't just hand these things out to the biggest incumbents and screw new business.

    Note that this approach would achieve exactly the objective:

    People who want to "be green" can sit on their credits, and forgo the money.

    People who consume less carbon-intensive products would pay less of the "passed on" cost from companies that have to buy lots of credits.

    People who are willing to pay for carbon intensive goods can, and the glorious free market hands that money to people who make sacrifices to reduce carbon consumption.

    Adjusting the annual allotment naturally adjusts the price.

    No single person, whether CEO, laborer, politician, lobbyist, or EPA regulator, gets any disproportionate share of the public good.

    Companies that cut carbon emissions can put their products on the market at a lower price.

    The solution as proposed only achieves the last piece, and that only in an extraordinarily corruption-sensitive way.

  • Limitless energy (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Jeremi (14640) on Friday June 26, 2009 @11:56AM (#28483817) Homepage

    Perhaps we can find a way to harness the power of Americans whining about their as-yet-imaginary future energy bills? That would give us a wealth of power for decades.

    Seriously guys, nad up. You all sound like Neville Chamberlain whining about how difficult and expensive fighting the Germans is going to be, and how they'll probably go away by themselves if we just continue to ignore them for another couple of years.

  • by BCW2 (168187) on Friday June 26, 2009 @12:41PM (#28484539) Journal
    If anyone thinks that crap and trap will have a 1 degree effect on global temperature over the next 20 years they are fools. This is just a far left energy tax because they hate coal and oil.
    Raising eveyones utility bills 40%+over the next 5 years will turn the recession into a depression. Have fun y'all.
  • by Explodicle (818405) on Friday June 26, 2009 @01:20PM (#28485187) Homepage
    I'm seeing a lot of comments here along the lines of "Dear god, we're going to be living out of cardboard boxes! This bill will devastate the economy! How could all these moron politicians not understand us armchair economists?"

    I'd like to invite you folks to RTFA from the Huffington Post. (Emphasis mine)

    Q: How quickly will we notice these changes?
    A: Some will occur more quickly than others. For instance, measures to boost energy efficiency in buildings and appliances are the low-hanging fruit that does not require major infrastructure changes or new technologies. Other changes are decades off and probably will come when the cap gets more stringent and permits get more expensive. For instance, the country can build more wind and more solar panels, but currently it lacks the transmission lines to move the energy they generate to population centers. As for cars: While more efficient models are a near-term reality, it will take a while to change out the fleet. Some people will continue driving 10-year-old gas guzzlers.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by random coward (527722)
      Problem is that the bill is 1200 pages long and it was finally published LAST NIGHT . No one knows exactly what is in there. This was written by staffers in closed sessions with no recordings. No one knows who added what. Who honestly thinks that any of the congressmen/women who are debating on this and voting on this at this very minute know what they're getting? They're buying a pig in a poke. And it is probably worse than anyone thinks for our economy, while doing nothing to help the environment. Hell G [greenpeace.org]

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