LA Times Confused by No Climate Tax Pledge
February 5, 2011
The Los Angeles Times recently published a story where they discussed the No Climate Tax pledge twice. Unfortunately, both times they distort the pledge and seem incapable of separating tax hikes from climate policy. Not an uncommon affliction on the Left.
In the third paragraph the Times notes:
Nine of the 12 new Republicans on the [House Energy and Commerce Committee] signed a pledge distributed by a Koch-founded advocacy group — Americans for Prosperity — to oppose the Obama administration’s proposal to regulate greenhouse gases.
But of course the pledge has nothing to do with the Obama administration’s bent to use the Clean Air Act to have EPA regulate greenhouse gases, something it was never designed to do. The pledge states lawmakers will “oppose any legislation relating to climate change that includes a net increase in government revenue.” So long as a climate bill does not grow the size of government it does not run afoul of the pledge, pretty simple stuff.
I’m sure the LA Times understands the difference between legislation and regulation, even if their fans at the EPA seem to think they can write new legislation whenever they see fit. (See: the Tailoring Rule)
The paper is right, nine of the twelve new Energy and Commerce Committee members have proudly pledged not to use climate change as an excuse to grow government. Those members are:
- Charlie Bass (NH)
- Cory Gardner (CO)
- Morgan Griffith (VA)
- Gregg Harper (MS)
- Adam Kinzinger (IL)
- David McKinley (WV)
- Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA)
- Pete Olson (TX)
- Mike Pompeo (KS)
The taxpayers are lucky to have these members on the committee, along with Chairman Fred Upton (MI) and ex-Ranking Member Joe Barton (TX) both pledge signers as well.
Deeper in the article, the authors profile AFP’s pledge efforts as follows:
In 2008, AFP began circulating a pledge asking politicians to denounce a Democratic-led effort to compel oil refineries and utilities to clean up emissions of greenhouse gases through a so-called cap-and-trade system. AFP said it amounted to a hidden tax increase.
First, I’m not sure you can “clean up emissions of greenhouse gases,” since they disperse evenly into the atmosphere and around the globe. Let’s assume they meant reduce. Second, it’s a laughable position to claim that cap-and-trade amounts to a hidden tax; there is nothing hidden about it. The Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill would have grown government by $846 billion. That’s a huge new tax, plain and simple. Not coincidentally, it’s also why the American people rejected the scheme and a key reason the voters booted the Democratic Party from control of the U.S. House.
It’s always a shame when an eminent paper like the LA Times distorts something as simple as a pledge not to hijack climate policy and use it to grow government. That’s what more than 500 elected officials from Speaker Boehner, to twenty senators, to seven governors to hundreds of state lawmakers have all pledged to do.