The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Call It What It Is - A Tax

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted June 25, 2009

The media are handicapping the upcoming vote on the Waxman-Markey bill as though it were The Kentucky Derby. In today's 24-hour-a-day news cycle, reporters, anchors and pundits are asking whether House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has the votes for passage, whether the bill could be more costly than previously anticipated by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), and they are dissecting President Obama's comments delivered in the Rose Garden this afternoon.

Speaking to reporters, the President called on members of Congress to support the bill, calling it "balanced and sensible" and "a jobs bill." The President added that the cost of the bill would amount to only the price of one postage stamp a day for each American.

API's careful examination of the Waxman-Markey bill has reached markedly different conclusions. Here are the facts as we see them:

  • The CBO's analyses of the bill greatly underestimate the potential cost. When the flaws in the analyses are corrected, the studies indicate the cost could be more than $278 a month per average American household.
  • A recent study by CRA International for the National Black Chamber of Commerce estimates the bill could cause a net loss of more than two million jobs a year.
  • The bill is not "balanced." Waxman-Markey provides only two percent of free emission allowances to refiners, but holds them responsible for 44 percent of all carbon emissions. This inequitable system of allocations will have a disproportionately adverse impact on consumers as well as producers of gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel, crude oil and natural gas.

Warren Buffett, one of the most successful and respected voices on the economy today, calls the bill a tax. In a CNBC interview yesterday, Buffett said:

"...it's a huge tax and there's no sense calling it anything else. I mean, it is a tax. And it's a fairly regressive tax. If we buy permits, essentially, at our utilities, that goes right into the bills of the utility customers and an awful lot of people in Iowa, in Oregon, and Utah, and places where we are, very poor people are going to pay a lot more money for electricity. So I think that can be improved."

API believes the Waxman-Markey bill is too flawed to be improved, and should be replaced with legislation that actually helps the environment without further damaging the economy.

If you agree, take action and use the SocialCapital widget here to contact Congress. Tell your representative to reject the Waxman-Markey bill.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jane Van Ryan was formerly senior communications manager and new media advisor at the American Petroleum Institute (API), where she wrote blog posts and produced podcasts and videos. Before coming to API, Jane managed communications for a large science and engineering corporation, and for a top-tier research and engineering university. A few years ago, you might have seen her in your living room when she delivered the news on television. Jane officially retired from API in 2011 and now freelances as an independent communications consultant when not gardening at her farm in Virginia.