Crank of the Week - May 10, 2010 - John Kerry & Joe Lieberman

After some last minute tweaking to overcome concerns raised by the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the American Power Act, a bill proposing a Cap & Trade system for reducing US carbon dioxide emissions, was introduced in the Senate by John Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat, and Joe Lieberman, a Connecticut Independent. Notable by his absence was South Carolina Republican Lindsay Graham, who came to his senses just in time to back out of the bill writing troika. Purportedly, the bill aims to reduce emissions by 17% by 2020 and by over 80% in 2050. What it really does is levy a stealth tax on carbon based energy, hiding it behind a “carbon trading” market scheme that would have made Enron proud.

“Our bill will create jobs and transform the American economy; make our country more energy independent, which in turn will strengthen our national security; and improve the quality of the air we breathe,” Senator Lieberman said. “We are proud to have support from a growing and unprecedented coalition of business, national security, faith, and environmental communities, who are energized to work hard to pass this bill this year.” What Joe doesn't mention is that the “unprecedented coalition” only exists because of the unprecedented level of giveaways and special interest provisions in the draft legislation.

Senator Kerry said, “We can finally tell the world that America is ready to take back our role as the world's clean energy leader. This is a bill for energy independence after a devastating oil spill, a bill to hold polluters accountable, a bill for billions of dollars to create the next generation of jobs, and a bill to end America's addiction to foreign oil and protect the air our children breathe and the water they drink.” He should have added: A bill to raise the cost of everything in America and insinuate government control deeper into the lives of every US citizen.

Senator Kerry, waxing messianic over Cap and Trade.

The 987 page cap-and-trade bill is drawing mixed reactions as people try to decipher the tangled legislative mess. The liberal left thinks that the bill “reflects Sens. Kerry and Lieberman's tremendous leadership and perseverance,” while the The United Steelworkers Union is pleased with the protectionist measures it contains. On the right the story is a bit different.

Critics include the Competitive Enterprise Institute's Myron Ebell, who said the proposal would raise costs for average Americans. “The bill crafted by Kerry and Lieberman—and sometimes Lindsey Graham—manages to have something to harm everyone except big business special interests,” Ebell said. The Wall Street Journal asked the question: “Will government solutions to global warming be worse than global warming itself?”

The Cap and Trade troika before Graham (on left) bailed out.

Naturally, the Republican opposition does not think highly of the bill. Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., ranking Republican on the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming and Republican point-man on the bill, issued the following statement:

Whether you want to call it spin or rebranding, the American Power Act introduced today by Sens. Kerry and Lieberman is barely better than last year’s House-passed cap-and-tax legislation, despite their claims that this is a new approach to the climate bill.

Both Waxman-Markey and Kerry-Lieberman have the same proposed cap on U.S. carbon emissions. Both measures include provisions that will raise the cost of carbon emissions on industry, and thus, the cost of energy. This amounts to a hidden tax on energy that every consumer will pay.

Despite what the authors say, there’s both a cap and a tax in this bill, and it will hurt the U.S. economy. Americans need Congress to set an energy policy that focuses on developing new technology, improving energy efficiency and maximizing domestic energy production, not one that sets unrealistic goals and levies unaffordable taxes.

The proposed bill doesn't set very well with James Inhofe, the Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, either. “My first reaction to the Kerry-Lieberman bill is that it’s the same old cap-and-trade scheme that the Senate has defeated three times since 2003,” Senator Inhofe said. “In fact, it has a strong resemblance to the disastrous Waxman-Markey bill. Only now, along with paying skyrocketing electricity prices, consumers will pay a gas tax.”

Waxman and Markey, the previous set of idiots.

Some how they have even managed to piss off the eco-leftists over at Friends of the Earth, who issued a statement proclaiming “Dangerous Senate Bill Threatens to Stymie Fight Against Global Warming.” On the international level, rapidly developing countries like China, India, and Brazil are refusing to accept limits on their greenhouse gas emissions, so the main impact of the bill will be to reduce US competitiveness and depress the US economy.

The oh-so-green Center for Biological Diversity did not mince words. According to a statement from that group “the climate proposal put forth today by Senators Kerry and Lieberman represents a disaster for our climate and planet.” Furthermore, the bill “will not solve the problems of global warming and continues pandering to the fossil fuel industry.” Yet, in the face of growing opposition from both the left and the right, the man in the White House has taken a shine to the legislation.

“This legislation will put America on the path to a clean energy economy that will create American jobs building the solar panels, wind blades and the car batteries of the future,” President Barack Obama said. “It will strengthen our national security by beginning to break our dependence on foreign oil. And it will protect our environment for our children and grandchildren.” Ask your children if they want to make car batteries or “wind blades” when they grow up. But then, that's the Obama dream—shitty jobs for everyone and everyone dependent on the Federal Government.

“The challenges we face, underscored by the immense tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico, are reason to redouble our efforts to reform our nation's energy policies,” Obama said. “I look forward to engaging with Senators from both sides of the aisle and ultimately passing a bill this year.” By both sides of the aisle he means the Democrats and Lieberman, a former Democrat turned Independent when his party tried to relieve him of his senate seat a few years back. Plus, Lieberman did endorse John McCain for President, so that sort of makes him an ersatz Republican.

In fact, Lieberman may have uttered the most accurate description of this new Cap and Trade bill back in December. “You remember the artist formerly known as Prince?” Lieberman said. “This is the market-based system for punishing polluters previously known as ‘cap and trade.’” Though those getting benefits from the bill remain murky, Lieberman has been clear that this bill is intended to punish. Sadly, it is the American worker who will suffer the pain.

The Center for Data Analysis estimated that cap-and-trade legislation will cost the economy $7-9 trillion in lost national income and lead to millions of lost jobs (even after credit for any green jobs). This has got to be the worst idea to emerge from Washington since socialized medicine. Senator Lieberman said, “The American Power Act is fundamentally different from previous energy and climate bills, and not just because it will be the one that actually passes.” We will see about that, Joe. But, so you and John Boy aren't too disappointed when this crappy piece of legislative offal doesn't pass, this Crank of the Week is for both of you: Joe Lieberman and John Kerry, co-cranks of the week.

Sanity wins – for now

Senate leader Harry Reid and President Barrack Obama have announced that the cap and trade bill is dead, for now. According to a post on the Time web site by Bryan Walsh, in the “Ecocentric” blog, the long threatened legislation is down for the count:

The headline has been written countless times, but this time it is true: carbon cap-and-trade of any sort will not come out of this Congress—and perhaps it never will. Instead of comprehensive economy-wide carbon cap that Senator John Kerry had urged—and that the House had already passed a year ago—or even the compromise utility-only cap bill that had been suggested as an alternative, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced today that he would move forward next week on a bill that only deals with the BP oil spill and a few other low-profile energy policies.

So rejoice, America. Sanity has won at least a temporary victory. Let us hope that the next congress will have more realistic ideas about solving the looming energy gap.

Enron Would Be Proud

Enron would be proud is right! This bill is a total scam!

“If implemented, [the Kyoto Protocol] will do more to promote Enron’s business than will almost any other regulatory initiative…. The endorsement of [CO2] emissions trading was another victory for us…. This agreement will be good for Enron stock!”

- John Palmisano (December 12, 1997) from Kyoto, Japan. Quoted in Bradley, Capitalism at Work, p. 307.

Enron may be gone

Enron may be gone, but the greed lives on.

A Bad Bet on Carbon

Robert Bryce has an op-ed piece in The New York Times about the bill in which he says:

ON Wednesday, John Kerry and Joseph Lieberman introduced their long-awaited Senate energy bill, which includes incentives of $2 billion per year for carbon capture and sequestration, the technology that removes carbon dioxide from the smokestack at power plants and forces it into underground storage. This significant allocation would come on top of the $2.4 billion for carbon capture projects that appeared in last year’s stimulus package.

This bill is obviously a give-away to the coal industry and should be stopped. All these leaches in Congress do is give taxpayer money to vested interests and it is time for them to be thrown out on their asses.

The full article is at