President Obama has recently proposed a new set of environmental regulations (well, they actually aren’t new, just some regurgitated laws from four years ago, but we’ll just skip that part, shall we?) meant to reduce air pollution by cutting carbon emissions from gas and coal plants 30% or more from 2005 levels. How does he want to do this? By taxing energy companies for generating power, forcing them to reduce spending on fuel in order to pay the taxes. House Speaker John Boehner recently criticized the move as “nuts,” and I’m afraid I have to agree with him.
I don’t even need to look at the regulations (although I did, just to make sure I was right; I still have a headache) to know it’s a complete waste of time. For one thing, the only way for coal and gas power plants to reduce their emissions is to reduce the amount of power they generate, which will lead to shortages, rationing, and blackouts, just as if the food supply became low. Sometimes you would get less power, they would limit what you could use, or else you would go without. And for some reason the President seems to think this will benefit the economy by $26 billion to $45 billion within five years at the cost of only $5.5 billion.
What he fails to mention is we’re looking at an annual 2% decrease in emissions from a fixed point in time (2005) every year for the next fifteen years. By the time 2030 rolls around, our energy output and emissions will have increased at least that much from 2005 levels at our present rate of expansion of 2.2% annually. And the energy companies won’t stop producing, they’ll just raise the price to compensate for the tax and pawn the increase off on their customers, further gouging the public of much-need cash, especially considering over 20% of the workforce is unemployed. Not to mention the fact that most of the money the government would collect in taxes would go to bureaucracy to enforce the regulations.
Aside from the obvious financial and mathematical problems, this plan is basically a farce. Boehner is correct: “In many ways, this national energy tax is actually worse than the scheme Americans rejected four years ago,” he said of Obama’s legislation. And I would be so bold as to mention the “methane tax” on farmers, with experts saying one of the chief polluters of the environment was methane “emissions” (insert sarcastic laughter) from cows. Energy emissions are not going to immediately drop 30% or even gradually drop by the deadline; the only way to make that happen would be to halt all expansion and enforce a strict population limit.
President Obama has found a way to spin a big number from a lot of small ones, most of them negative. The plan won’t work and he knows it, Boehner knows it, Congress knows it, and the American public knows it (or at least they should by now). The only advantage to the Obama Administration is political. He wants the public to believe he’s making a difference, but he’s not. This is just another way for the government to leverage more money from hard-working American families. True, his plan might slow the rate of pollution, but a better plan would be to give everyone electric cars, not tax them for driving.