The Economic Impact of the Waxman-Markey Cap-and-Trade Bill
by Ben Lieberman
Testimony before the
Senate Republican Conference
June 22, 2009
It is clear that cap-and-trade is very expensive and amounts to nothing more than an energy tax in disguise. After all, when you sweep aside all the complexities of how cap and trade operates–and make no mistake, this is the most convoluted attempt at economic central planning this nation has ever attempted–the bottom line is that cap and trade works by raising the cost of energy high enough so that individuals and businesses are forced to use less of it. Inflicting economic pain is what this is all about. That is how the ever-tightening emissions targets will be met.
Beyond the cost impact on individuals and households, Waxman-Markey also affects employment, and especially employment in the manufacturing sector. We estimate job losses averaging 1,145,000 at any given time from 2012-2035. And note that those are net job losses, after the much-hyped green jobs are taken into account. Some of the lost jobs will be destroyed entirely, while others will be outsourced to nations like China and India that have repeatedly stated that they’ll never hamper their own economic growth with energy-cost boosting global warming measures like Waxman-Markey.
Overall, Waxman-Markey reduces gross domestic product by an average of $393 billion annually between 2012 and 2035, and cumulatively by $9.4 trillion. In other words, the nation will be $9.4 trillion poorer with Waxman-Markey than without it.
It should also be noted that the costs are not distributed evenly. Low-income households spend a disproportionate share of their incomes on energy, and thus would be hit harder than average by Waxman-Markey.
In conclusion, it’s not surprising that support for Waxman-Markey is heaviest in those parts of the country, the urban centers in the West Coast and Northeast, that are least harmed by it. Even there, the economic damage would be bad enough, but the citizens in the rest of the country and their representatives should really be asking many tough questions about the economic impact of cap and trade. Thank you.
“Government does not create wealth. The major role for the government is to create an environment where people take risks to expand the job rate in the United States,”
George W. Bush