Cynthia M Lummis

Cap and Trade Tax - March 9, 2009

Cynthia M Lummis
March 09, 2009— U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, DC
Congressional floor speech
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The American people know, and particularly women in this country know, that you cannot tax and spend your way into economic prosperity; and furthermore, you cannot tax during a recession. Yet, that is what is being proposed, and those taxes will fall on you.

One of the ways in which those taxes will fall on you during this recession is through something called cap and trade. Cap and trade is a tax, so I'm going to go over and change this and add the word ``tax.'' And I want to talk specifically about how it's going to affect family budgets.

Cap and trade is a tax that will be used to change the way that you use power--meaning electricity, oil, gas--and anything that comes from carbon--meaning oil, gas, or coal, specifically. And those sources of energy represent 50 percent of the electricity in this country, which comes from coal, and also a significant amount, of course, of our gasoline coming from oil, and natural gas, which is used to heat our homes. These all emit carbon. And in order to change the American behavior and the way that we use these carbon-emitting substances, the Obama administration proposes to tax them. It will be called a cap and trade system, which is a market-based system, but it's cleverly disguised as a market-based system because, in reality, it is a tax, a carbon tax, and it will be paid by the American consumer. So if you use electricity, if you heat or cool your home, if you drive an automobile, if you use public transportation, you will be paying this tax. And here's how it will accrue to you if you are an average household.

Gasoline is in blue on this chart, natural gas in red, electricity in green. And as you can see, the cost of these for an average household without the cap and trade tax is on the left, and the cost with cap and trade is on my right--the left of someone who would be viewing this chart. So you will see it will have a 9 percent increase for electricity in the average home, 14 percent increase for natural gas, and a 16 percent increase for gasoline in the average home.

Now, I can tell you, in my home State of Wyoming it will be much higher than that because in the winter it costs more for us to heat our homes. In the summer, admittedly, it costs less for us to cool our homes. But we consume more gasoline per family than any other State in the Union and that is because there is no public transportation in Wyoming. The distances are too far. We are the ninth largest State by land mass, and we have the smallest population in the Nation. Consequently, we can't go anywhere on public transportation; it is all automobile-based. That's why we consume more gasoline than other States, and that's why the effects of this tax will fall very heavily on people who live in rural areas, and also in areas with extreme climate changes or extreme temperature changes, places that must heat their homes in the winter and cool their homes in the summer.

So if you fall into any of those categories, you're going to see much higher expenses because all of the cap and trade taxes are going to be passed on to you. They are not going to be absorbed by the companies that are producing oil, gas and coal. However, there is going to be another impact on those businesses, and that is job loss, job loss at a time when this country is in recession, at a time when job losses are already driving us more deeply into recession. And that job loss looks like this: 2011, over 200,000 jobs lost; and each year thereafter, climbing to the year 2015, to about 1.5 million jobs lost due to this cap and trade tax. And once again, I'm going to write the word ``tax'' on this chart.

What's worse, this is being foisted on the American people in the name of climate change, in the name of global warming. And those who believe that global warming is man-made--and there are many, I would say a preponderance of people believe that climate change is man-made--believe that if Americans change their ways and consume less carbon-emitting substances, that they will be able to change climate. I learned last week in a Natural Resources Committee from an international expert on energy and climate that that is not the case, that America could cease all economic activity, that Japan could cease all economic activity, and that Europe could cease all economic activity, we could turn off our lights, we could quit using our cars, we could stay home, we wouldn't work, the factories would shut down, in all three of those large economies and it is not going to have one iota of influence on the amount of carbon in the atmosphere unless China, Russia and India change their climate policies.

China desperately wants each person in their economy to have a light bulb in their home. That is their goal, a light bulb in every home. And in order to put a light bulb in every home in China they are building one new coal-fired plant a week, and they will have to continue to do so for a very long period of time. No one can blame China for wanting a higher standard of living for every person in their country, and no one can fault them for wanting them to do it with resources they have--like coal, oil and gas--and for wanting to do it with the cheapest source, hydroelectric and coal. Consequently, the costs that will be borne by the American consumer are going to have not one single effect on carbon emissions in this atmosphere. That's where rational thinking goes out of the way and the American consumer foots the bill.

I want to close--and I thank the gentlelady from Illinois--I want to close with this thought: You can't tax and spend your way out of a recession. And taxes during a recession is the absolute worst consequence on a family in America in the 21st century with these problems.

155 Congr. Rec. 3100. (2009).