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Todd Hollenbeck

Senate Committee Passes Climate Tax without GOP Present


Posted by Todd Hollenbeck on Thursday, November 5th, 2009, 12:55 PM PERMALINK


Despite the Republican boycott of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee’s markup of the Kerry-Boxer Energy Tax bill. Despite not having a compete economic analysis of the bill. And despite opposition to the bill by key Democrat Max Baucus, Senator Boxer passed the bill anyway. This lack of bi-partisanship and transparency should worry not just the American people, but also other Senate Democrats.

Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform said, “backroom deals where packages are rammed through with no transparency seem like business as usual – didn’t America elect a guy that was supposed to stop that?”

 
ATR notes on their website the economic impact this would have on the nation’s oil refineries, claiming this bill will increase the cost per barrel $0.50 to $1.20: an average increase of 20% to 50%. Additionally, by 2030, the costs would increase to $14.80 to $32.00 billion – per barrel increase of $2.70 to $7.20, which is a 100%-300% increase.
 
ATR issued a press release today, a PDF can be found here.

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Kerry-Boxer bill in Trouble? There's No Need to Fear, Lieberman and Graham are Here!


Posted by Todd Hollenbeck on Wednesday, November 4th, 2009, 4:44 PM PERMALINK


The Associated Press is reporting today that John Kerry is teaming up with Senators Graham and Lieberman in an effort to rescue a bill that Senator Boxer can’t get out of her own committee. Yesterday, Republican members of the Environment and Public Works Committee boycotted markup of the bill because a complete analysis of the bill does not exist. As we have discussed here before, Boxer seems to have lost all control of her committee and bill. 

In light of this failure to move the bill forward, Kerry is running to Senators Lieberman and Graham to provide a nice “bi-partisan” flavor to the bill. The plan is to put a job killing, tax increasing, economy destroying bill into a big pot and mix in liberal-that-is-not-quite-liberal-enough-for-the-Democrats, and Independent for a “moderate” flavoring, heat at 350 degrees for 10 minutes per page, and then cram it down the American peoples’ throats.

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Cash for Clunkers, not just a Failure, but a Failure of Governmental Magnitude


Posted by Todd Hollenbeck on Friday, October 30th, 2009, 4:48 PM PERMALINK


We all know that when the government acts to solve a problem (that was probably created by fixing another problem the government created), it inevitably goes horribly, horribly wrong. The “solution” usually obscene amounts of money, creates new programs, entitlements, and bureaucracy, and creates even more problems than it solved. The Cash for Clunkers program, however, set a new bar for government failure.

The Cash for Clunkers program was a poorly planned scheme that was intended to help the newly socialized auto industry, the economy, and the environment. The idea was probably brainstormed something like this:
 
“Ok guys, what can we do to stimulate the economy, get evil gas-guzzlers off the road, and make sure we don’t look like idiots for bailing out GM and Chrysler?”
 
“What kind of budget are we looking at?”
 
“Haha, budget, that’s a good one; who cares, it isn’t our money.”
 
“Oh, right! Well then why don’t we just give people $3,000-$4,500 ‘Cash’ for their old car or ‘Clunker’ if you will, so they can buy a new car? We can then disable the old car so that no one else can ever use it again, and then ship it over to China to get melted down and sold back to us.”
 
“I don’t know, that sounds incredibly wasteful. Not only will that cost a lot of money, it will also waste perfectly good used cars that could be driven by people with low incomes that can’t afford new cars. Won’t it also hurt the environment more to junk the old cars and send them all the way to China than it would have if we had just let people keep driving them?”
 
“You just don’t understand economics. Trust me, it will be hugely ‘popular.’”
 
The program began on July 24th with a budget of $1 billion and by July 30th they were out of money. Giving people “free” money to buy cars is definitely popular. Congress then allocated another $2 billion that lasted almost until the end of August. That’s right, $3 billion in under a month. The program didn’t help the economy or auto industry. Despite a bump in the 3rd quarter to GDP and auto sales, consumer spending dropped 0.5% in September and the vehicle output bump was artificial and unsustainable, meaning it will drop off considerably in the next quarter as the market stabilizes to its real level. As Nick Gillespie and Veronique de Rugy pointed out today over at Reason, even the reported GDP bump is misleading, because is includes government spending. So if government spending increases it will increase the GDP, but that doesn’t mean any more was produced.
 
There are also the unseen costs of this program. By encouraging people to junk older vehicles, they lowered the supply of cheap used cars. When you lower supply and keep demand stable, the price goes up. With fewer used cars on the market, the prices for remaining used cars increases. This will make it more difficult for younger drivers or low income drivers to buy cars to get to work or school. (A video by Congressman Ron Paul further explains how it hurts the poor here.) At least the wealthy got a handout to buy their brand new cars though right?
 
Speaking of handouts, a new report from Edmonds.com found that the real subsidy for each car sold as a result of Cash for Clunkers is much higher than $4,000. During the program 690,000 new vehicles were sold, however, Edmonds found that 565,000 would have been bought even if we hadn’t done Cash for Clunkers. Only 125,000 vehicles were purchased as a result of Cash for Clunkers, meaning each car cost the taxpayers $24,000. According to the Department of Transportation, the Toyota Corolla was the top selling car under the program. The MSRP on a 2009 Toyota Corolla is $16,750. We spend $24,000 so someone else could get a discount on a $16,750 car, what a deal! Who says the government isn’t efficient?

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tonythemisfit/ / CC BY 2.0

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Demonstration for School Reform, Thursday at 9am


Posted by Todd Hollenbeck on Tuesday, October 27th, 2009, 4:21 PM PERMALINK


With everyone focused on health care and stopping evil invisible gases, we must stop and remember the immortal words of Helen Lovejoy, “Oh, won’t somebody please think of the children!” Well, Helen, that somebody is DC School Reform Now, they are thinking of the children. 

This Thursday, October 29, 2009 at 9am, DC School Reform Now will be holding a demonstration on the steps of the Wilson Building (1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW) prior to a City Counsel meeting with Mayor Fenty and Chancellor Rhee. They will be supporting the efforts of Chancellor Rhee and others on the City Counsel to improve DC public school standards through merit pay for teachers, renegotiating union contracts, and firing all teachers and rehiring only the best. These reforms have met with resistance from the teacher’s union which is desperate to keep its power at the expense of the schools and children. 
 
If you are in the DC area, we encourage you to attend and show your support. They also ask that you sign their petition located here. Even if you are not a DC resident you can sign the petition to show your support for better public schools based on merit not on union power.
 
This demonstration should be an inspiration for others across the country to stand up and demand school reform in all school districts.

Image of Elementary class used on 9/27/09 is credited to U.S. Army, photo by Dan Thompson.

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ATR Energy Tax Hike Series Analysis of "Outer Continental Shelf Drilling"


Posted by Todd Hollenbeck on Monday, October 26th, 2009, 2:52 PM PERMALINK


For this anaylsis in PDF form, click here.

For a PDF of the full report click here.

 

ATR Energy Tax Hike Series
Outer Continental Shelf Drilling
 
Current Law-
The Bush Administration lifted the executive moratorium on drilling on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) in July 2008 and Congress allowed their ban to lapse in October of that year.
 
Obama Proposal-
The Department of the Interior (DOI) and Minerals Management Service (MMS) are making a 5 year leasing plan for 2010-2015. Secretary Salazar appears to be delaying the process and has already increased the 60 day comment period to six months.
 
ATR Analysis-
The DOI and MMS need to begin issuing permits as soon as possible so that exploration and drilling can begin. “The No Cost Stimulus Act of 2009” H.R. 1431, which is sitting in committee, would expedite the environmental review and lease sale process by reducing regulatory red-tape.[1]
 
According to the Consumer Energy Alliance, “The undiscovered resources in federal water are estimated at 420 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and almost 86 billion barrels of oil. For perspective, that is equivalent to three times the oil resources of Canada and Mexico combined and almost 6 times the natural gas resources of these two countries.”[2]
 
Even while 85% of the OCS was off limits, the DOI reported, “In 2007, the OCS accounted for 14 percent (2,860 billion cubic feet) of the Nation’s natural gas production and 27 percent (492,329,179 barrels) of its oil production.”[3]
 
The U.S. consumes approximately 7.5 billion barrels of oil every year. These reserves contain over 900 billion barrels of oil. This new access will create over 600,000 jobs and provide increased supply to reduce energy costs. 
 
In order to provide for increased energy needs and to promote energy independence, bureaucratic red-tape and restrictions need to be lifted, so that OCS drilling can take place. Utilizing our national resources will lower energy costs, promote productive growth, and create jobs.


[1] Nicolas Loris and Ben Lieberman, “No Cost Stimulus Expands Energy Supply and Creates Jobs.” The Heritage Foundation. March 11, 2009. Http://www.heritage.org/Research/EnergyandEnvironment/wm2336.cfm
[2]“OCS Fact Sheet.” Consumer Energy Alliance. May 2009. http://consumerenergyalliance.org/primary/fossil-fuels/outer-continental-shelf-exploration/ocs-fact-sheet/
[3] U.S. Department of the Interior, “Survey of Available Data on OCS Resources and Identification of Data Gaps.” 2009. http://www.doi.gov/ocs/ExecutiveSummary-final.pdf. P. 4.

 

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How Cap and Tax will Hurt Wyoming


Posted by Todd Hollenbeck on Monday, October 26th, 2009, 9:38 AM PERMALINK


In our continuing, daily, state by state, look at the financial impact of the Waxman-Markey Cap and Trade Tax Bill, we will show you the projected losses in Gross State Product, Personal Income, and Non- Farm Jobs in Wyoming.  

Detailed information on this and other energy taxes can be found in the Americans for Tax Reform Energy Tax Analysis, May 2009.
Wyoming:
 
According to a study by Karen Campbell, Ph.D. and David Kreutzer, Ph.D. at the Heritage Foundation, Wyoming will suffer the following losses in 2012 as a result of Cap and Tax: 
  • A decline in Gross State Product of $362,170,000
  • Total Personal Income Loss of $452,310,000
  • Non-Farm Job losses of 3,106 
An update to the Heritage Foundation’s study further shows an: 
  • Increase in Electricity Prices from 2012-2035 of $428.85 per household.
  • Increase in Gas Prices from 2012-2035 of $0.62 per gallon. 
Contact your Senators today and tell them to VOTE NO on the Waxman-Markey Energy Tax.
Senator John Barrasso: (202) 224-6441
Senator Michael B. Enzi: (202) 224-3424

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How Cap and Tax Will Hurt Wisconsin


Posted by Todd Hollenbeck on Friday, October 23rd, 2009, 9:40 AM PERMALINK


In our continuing, daily, state by state, look at the financial impact of the Waxman-Markey Cap and Trade Tax Bill, we will show you the projected losses in Gross State Product, Personal Income, and Non- Farm Jobs in Wisconsin.  

Detailed information on this and other energy taxes can be found in the Americans for Tax Reform Energy Tax Analysis, May 2009.
Wisconsin:
 
According to a study by Karen Campbell, Ph.D. and David Kreutzer, Ph.D. at the Heritage Foundation, Wisconsin will suffer the following losses in 2012 as a result of Cap and Tax: 
  • A decline in Gross State Product of $2,669,570,000
  • Total Personal Income Loss of $3,570,950,000
  • Non-Farm Job losses of 33,471 
An update to the Heritage Foundation’s study further shows an: 
  • Increase in Electricity Prices from 2012-2035 of $486.57 per household.
  • Increase in Gas Prices from 2012-2035 of $0.68 per gallon. 
Contact your Senators today and tell them to VOTE NO on the Waxman-Markey Energy Tax.
Senator Russell D. Feingold: (202) 224-5323
Senator Herb Kohl: (202) 224-5653

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How Cap and Tax Will Hurt West Virginia


Posted by Todd Hollenbeck on Thursday, October 22nd, 2009, 10:16 AM PERMALINK


In our continuing, daily, state by state, look at the financial impact of the Waxman-Markey Cap and Trade Tax Bill, we will show you the projected losses in Gross State Product, Personal Income, and Non- Farm Jobs in West Virginia.  

Detailed information on this and other energy taxes can be found in the Americans for Tax Reform Energy Tax Analysis, May 2009.
West Virginia:
 
According to a study by Karen Campbell, Ph.D. and David Kreutzer, Ph.D. at the Heritage Foundation, West Virginia will suffer the following losses in 2012 as a result of Cap and Tax: 
  • A decline in Gross State Product of $663,220,000
  • Total Personal Income Loss of $961,290,000
  • Non-Farm Job losses of 8,509 
An update to the Heritage Foundation’s study further shows an: 
  • Increase in Electricity Prices from 2012-2035 of $500.67 per household.
  • Increase in Gas Prices from 2012-2035 of $0.70 per gallon. 
Contact your Senators today and tell them to VOTE NO on the Waxman-Markey Energy Tax.
Senator Robert C. Byrd: (202) 224-3954
Senator John D. Rockefeller, IV: (202) 224-6472 

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How Cap and Tax will Hurt Washington


Posted by Todd Hollenbeck on Wednesday, October 21st, 2009, 1:27 PM PERMALINK


In our continuing, daily, state by state, look at the financial impact of the Waxman-Markey Cap and Trade Tax Bill, we will show you the projected losses in Gross State Product, Personal Income, and Non- Farm Jobs in Washington.

Detailed information on this and other energy taxes can be found in the Americans for Tax Reform Energy Tax Analysis, May 2009.
Washington:
 
According to a study by Karen Campbell, Ph.D. and David Kreutzer, Ph.D. at the Heritage Foundation, Washington will suffer the following losses in 2012 as a result of Cap and Tax: 
  • A decline in Gross State Product of $3,576,850,000
  • Total Personal Income Loss of $2,376,080,000
  • Non-Farm Job losses of 35,922 
An update to the Heritage Foundation’s study further shows an: 
  • Increase in Electricity Prices from 2012-2035 of $494.90 per household.
  • Increase in Gas Prices from 2012-2035 of $0.70 per gallon. 
Contact your Senators today and tell them to VOTE NO on the Waxman-Markey Energy Tax.
Senator Maria Cantwell: (202) 224-3441
Senator Patty Murray: (202) 224-2621

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Cap and Tax Will Hurt Virginia


Posted by Todd Hollenbeck on Tuesday, October 20th, 2009, 10:19 AM PERMALINK


In our continuing, daily, state by state, look at the financial impact of the Waxman-Markey Cap and Trade Tax Bill, we will show you the projected losses in Gross State Product, Personal Income, and Non- Farm Jobs in Virginia.  

Detailed information on this and other energy taxes can be found in the Americans for Tax Reform Energy Tax Analysis, May 2009.  
Virginia:
 
According to a study by Karen Campbell, Ph.D. and David Kreutzer, Ph.D. at the Heritage Foundation, Virginia will suffer the following losses in 2012 as a result of Cap and Tax: 
  • A decline in Gross State Product of $3,812,700,000
  • Total Personal Income Loss of $5,683,580,000
  • Non-Farm Job losses of 42,414 
An update to the Heritage Foundation’s study further shows an: 
  • Increase in Electricity Prices from 2012-2035 of $532.18 per household.
  • Increase in Gas Prices from 2012-2035 of $0.64 per gallon. 
Contact your Senators today and tell them to VOTE NO on the Waxman-Markey Energy Tax.
Senator Mark R. Warner: (202) 224-2023
Senator Jim Webb: (202) 224-4024

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