June 6, 2008 | Commentary on Political Thought
Well, isn't it just like Congress to take the latest fad-- in this case,"global warming" -- and use it to try to usher in yet more government control of your life?
The "Lieberman-Warner" bill (named after its Senate sponsors, Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., and John Warner, R-Va.) is based on unproven "science," represents massive government intrusion, and oh, yes, it could crippletheeconomy.
But never mind that. Who cares if the plan severely damages the economy? Who cares ifthere are staggering job losses and an increase in the price of virtually everything? We must save the planet from the evil empire of capitalism and the looming threat of meltdown!
In the course of placing strict limits on the production of greenhouse gases, the proposed legislation would torch our economy faster than you can melt an iceberg. According to a new study from The Heritage Foundation, Americans would see their incomes drop and employment growth slashed.
Oh, not everything would go down. Energy prices would rise nearly 20 percent from 2012 to 2030.
And all this to possibly gain a tiny change in the earth's temperature. How tiny? In the words of the Heritage study, "perhaps even smaller than the .07 of a degree Celsius drop in temperature that many scientists expected from worldwide compliance with the Kyoto climate change accords." That's worth wrecking our economy and placing yet more regulations on you, your work and your life in general?
Now the crack researchers in Heritage's Center for Data Analysis have gone one step further: They've broken down all the national numbers and shown us exactly how the Lieberman-Warner bill would affect each state. So let's take a quick trip around the country to view seven sample states and see what we can expect if the bill becomes law. (And if we miss your home state, just go to heritage.org.)
California: Residents of the Golden State would say goodbye to 15,341 non-farm jobs in 2012, the first year the Lieberman-Warner restrictions take effect. By 2025, that number would rise to 62,795. Personal income would decline by $2.6 billion in 2012, and end up with a loss of $13 billion in 2025.
Non-farm jobs lost in 2012: 4,130
Non-farm jobs lost in 2025: 16,906
Income lost in 2012: $753 million
Income lost in 2025: $3.6 billion
Non-farm jobs lost in 2012: 407
Non-farm jobs lost in 2025: 1,667
Income lost in 2012: $48 million
Income lost in 2025: $234 million
Non-farm jobs lost in 2012: 3,232
Non-farm jobs lost in 2025: 13,229
Income lost in 2012: $557 million
Income lost in 2025: $2.7 billion
Non-farm jobs lost in 2012: 5,928
Non-farm jobs lost in 2025: 24,264
Income lost in 2012: $918 million
Income lost in 2025: $4.4 billion
Non-farm jobs lost in 2012: 7,379
Non-farm jobs lost in 2025: 30,202
Income lost in 2012: $1.2 billion
Income lost in 2025: $6 billion
Non-farm jobs lost in 2012: 2,574
Non-farm jobs lost in 2025: 10,537
Income lost in 2012: $369 million
Income lost in 2025: $1.7 billion
Lieberman-Warner, by itself, also drives up the price of gasoline. By 2030, not a single state would see pump prices below $5 a gallon. Many would be at $5.50 and above, and one (Alaska) would be above $6.
But that's just fine, as far as many environmentalists are concerned. They want all of us to pay more -- lots more -- for gasoline. Their theory is that most of us will ditch our cars and start taking buses and subways. Or riding our bikes to work. (Though, as Heritage's Ben Lieberman has noted, gas prices of $8 a gallon have done little to curb driving in Europe. They just drive miniature cars -- and endure sluggish economies -- to ease the pain.)
There's nothing wrong with traveling by bus, bike or subway. But should we be forced to make that choice by finger-wagging environmentalists -- in the name of dubious science and all to cool the earth by a tiny fraction of one degree … at best?
The list of ill effects in the Heritage study goes on and on. No state emerges unscathed. The only thing that changes from state to state is the amount of the damage.
And this, mind you, is what would occur under a mild bill. Mild, that is, by the standards of environmentalists who urge even more draconian measures to check the alleged global emergency posed by climate change. Indeed, some environmentalists have been criticizing the Lieberman-Warner bill for not going far enough.
And believe me, if this bill becomes law, they'll be baaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!
Rebecca Hagelin, a vice president at The Heritage Foundation, is the author of "Home Invasion: Protecting Your Family in a Culture That's Gone Stark Raving Mad" and runs the Web site HomeInvasion.org.
First Appeared in Townhall.com