A recent editorial about Energy policy manages to get the facts right and miss the point. It quotes President Obama as “determined to force utilities to reduce carbon emissions by making fossil fuels more efficient”. It misses the part about this being a tax. When the government purposely makes a commodity cost more, that is a tax. It is a tax on everyone and everything: the middle class, those earning over $250,000, people out of work, anyone that uses any electricity, anyone that buys anything that is made using electricity, or drives a car. The editorial looks to LIPA to make a choice as to how to keep costs down in the face of this energy tax and complains that there is no plan. The point is to oppose this tax. The proper response is to identify that this is a tax and inform people of the results of this ill considered energy initiative.
This would be a little less onerous if there were an immediately available alternative. But there is not. When will every power plant in the country be powered by a renewable source? When will everyone have a hybrid car or a windmill in every back yard except if it blocks Ted Kennedy’s view? With no viable alternative, Congress and the President are purposely raising the price of everything. Prices will rise, job creation will be adversely impacted and businesses will pass any increase on to their customers. The untaxed price of oil will come down as our demand lessens, so products from India and China (the world’s largest sources of pollution) will benefit. China and India will pollute even more, while all Americans get to pay more for everything. And how long will this situation last? The answer is that President Obama and this Congress do not care. They have an agenda and push it forward regardless of who is in the way. The reality is that the American public is in the way but they don’t care. If they are going to do this, it might be a better fit with economic conditions to reward those who meet standards rather than raising costs for everyone.