A Measure of Reason?

As predicted the Baltimore Sun Editorial board lauded the abomination that is the Waxman-Markey cap and trade bill, passed by the US House of Representatives. Just as predictable was its fact-free fear mongering and specious argumentation about climate change.

As expected, Friday’s debate on the floor of the House of Representatives produced the usual misinformation and hysteria that have typified the nation’s climate change deniers. But in the end, some measure of reason [emphasis mine]prevailed, and House passage of the landmark American Clean Energy Act is rightly seen as an important step toward reducing America’s production of greenhouse

Too often lost in the debate is just how serious a threat human-induced climate change poses in the form of rising sea levels,more-extreme weather and droughts, retreating glaciers and a loss of fresh water resources, increases in disease and poverty, and much political upheaval and instability around the world. The evidence of climate change is too unequivocal and the consequences too dire to be ignored.Yet that course of action is precisely what opponents, primarily Republican conservatives, would prefer.

Their chief criticism – that the bill would be too costly – is directly contradicted by the Congressional Budget Office, the nonpartisan agency that has projected its cost at $175 per household by 2020. When rebates are considered,many families should actually come out ahead.

It’s telling that the editorial writer couldn’t bother to accurately address “denier” arguments without resorting to a straw man argument. Contrary to the editorialist’s assertion the CBO report does not refute the chief criticism of the bill. That CBO report was cooked from a predetermined recipe, much like the flawed computer models alarmists use as proof of their doomsday scenarios. Also, note the use of the word “denier” meant to evoke the image of a Holocaust denier. This is to be expected because for liberal editorialists “conservative” is just another word for bogeyman.

Here are a couple of snippets from the Institute for Energy’s fisking of the CBO and EPA on this:

There are several major flaws with the CBO approach, but perhaps the most outrageous example of sleight of hand is the CBO’s focus on after-tax income. Because Waxman-Markey will raise prices more than incomes, households will necessarily become poorer. This will push households into lower tax brackets—and thus have lower tax liabilities to the tune of roughly $8.7 billion. Normal people would consider this to be a downside of Waxman-Markey. CBO is not normal. It considers this $8.7 billion as an addition to total household income—money from heaven!—and goes about celebrating the effect of this policy without saying a thing about the cause…

We see that the number reported in the press—“$175 per household by 2020”—represents only 20 percent of the CBO’s projected increase in household costs. The other 80 percent of the gross price hikes is transferred away from unlucky consumers and into the pockets of politically-connected beneficiaries. Since this wealth is redistributed, it’s still in “households” (somewhere) and so the CBO doesn’t report the gross figure, which is five times higher than the number bouncing around the press.

But that’s not the end of it. CBO didn’t score anything but the “cap and trade” part of the bill…not the renewable energy mandate, not the additional costs of complying with the bureaucratic nirvana of new standards for energy efficiency of lighting for home art and “personal spas,” etc. In some parts of the country, the “You Must Obey” renewable energy mandate could force significantly higher costs on consumers and businesses.

If the cost of Waxman-Markey is as negligible to working families as the CBO claims, then someone better send a memo to Ben Cardin, who deemed cap and trade “the most significant revenue-generating proposal of our time.”

Still, even if we were to concede the Sun’s argument (we don’t) that climate change is too big a threat to be ignored, what is the end benefit of Waxman-Markey? The answer is, as Michael Corleone said to Senator Geary in Godfather Part II: Nothing. Yes nothing. If the Senate passed and President Obama signed cap and trade into law, we would see a meaningless one-nine hundredth of a degree change in global temperature. This is the reason why alarmists always couch their arguments in terms of emissions reduced not in temperature averted. The inconvenient truth is that as carbon emissions continued to increase over the last decade and temperature has leveled off and even cooled.

Only the Sun could label a bill, which will reduce GDP by $10 billion, increase energy costs for the average family by $1,500, destroy over a million, jobs, increase electricity rates by 90%, and gas prices 78%, a “measure of reason.”

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