President Obama went to Pittsburgh yesterday, and when he wasn’t blasting Republicans in his hyper-partisan speech, he spent his time doubling down on the Democrats’ national energy tax. Trying to “take advantage of the national anger over the gulf oil spill…saying that his best chance to get such a bill passed is now,” as the New York Times put it, is one thing - but doing so in the heart of a region that would be so adversely affected by a massive tax on American energy is just tone-deaf.
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported today that:
The proposal continues to meet heavy opposition in coal-dependent regions such as Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia…Three of the state’s four Public Utility Commission members, two of whom still serve on the board, sent a letter to the state’s congressional delegation in May 2009 warning about ‘a profound adverse impact on the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,’ including ‘a net loss of as many as 66,000 jobs.’
And the Heritage Foundation’s Foundry blog noted today that, “In Louisiana itself, the effect of the [Democrat’s national energy tax] would mean a loss of over 15,000 jobs, gas price hikes and skyrocketing consumer electricity rates.” In fact, even the Obama Administration admitted last year that their national energy tax would cost families nearly $1,800 a year, “the equivalent of hiking personal income taxes by about 15 percent,” according to CBS News.
Yet the President said yesterday that “the only way the transition to clean energy will ultimately succeed is…by finally putting a price on carbon pollution.” In other words, the only way his “cap-and-trade” scheme will succeed is by making the price of carbon-based energy cost prohibitive - sending energy prices through the roof and American jobs overseas.
There is a better way. House Republicans have introduced the American Energy Act, the fastest route to a cleaner, more reliable and secure energy future. The GOP plan would increase environmentally-safe energy production here in America; promote the use of alternative fuels that will reduce carbon emissions, such as nuclear, clean-coal, and renewable energy technologies; and encourage conservation to preserve and protect our natural resources. It would also establish a renewable energy trust fund that would use revenues generated through increased American energy production to support innovation in renewable and alternative energy sources, like wind and solar technologies.
Unfortunately, President Obama didn’t embrace this common-sense approach yesterday. As House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) said:
It’s clear from his harsh partisan rhetoric today that President Obama has run out of excuses for his broken promises on the economy. Instead of creating the jobs and prosperity he promised, President Obama’s ‘new foundation’ consists of more spending, more debt, more job-killing policies, and more permanent bailouts, which is really no foundation at all.
The President talks about building a new foundation, but his promises of job-creation (see “stimulus“) have failed to live up to expectations, leaving many Americans asking the question, “Where are the jobs?“ One thing is clear about his “new foundation,” however: it will destroy the jobs and livelihoods of the very people he was addressing yesterday. How out-of-touch can you be?