Sep 8, 2009

Raining on the cap-and-trade green parade

by Tim Mattingly

There are only sunny days in Washington, as all of America’s clouds are being swept away by President Barack Obama. And under green-thumbed democratic doctrine, America wanders toward its future — a place where the air is clean.

As politics in Washington would seem, the Democrats are telling us how to get … how to get to Sesame Street. However, the means to America’s environmental end are not leaving everyone feeling as tickled as Elmo.

Such is the case with the curious little Cookie Monster called cap on emissions (a slightly euphemized way of saying “cap-and-trade”). The basic tenets of this capping concept, rolled into a tiny dough ball and popped into America’s mental oven, are that the government wants to gobble up greenhouse gasses by giving “incentives” for companies to reduce their emission of pollutants into the atmosphere.

While it sounds like political peaches and Pop-Tarts, there is a little mean to the green incentive.

Obama predicts that cap-and-trade will decrease U.S. emissions by 83 percent come year 2050, while smacking the whiskers off non-compliant companies to the tune of $646 billion between 2012 and 2019, according to Business Week. But companies are not the only ones harmed by cap-and-trade, as Kermit warns American taxpayers, “It’s not easy being green.”

“(The) cap-and-trade system will have some effects on households,” admitted White House Budget Director Peter Orszag, according to

To put it into perspective, cap-and-trade will have “some effects” on the companies that provide Americans with electricity, thus having “some effects” on our monthly electric bill. But, no need to fear — there are still a few daisies in this financial minefield, as Obama has promised cap-and-trade will provide $15 billion per year to assist middle and lower class households that make less than $250,000 as couples and less than $125,000 as singles, according to

While $15 billion seems like a large sum of money, it will be stretched thinner than Kermit’s scrawny green legs. As of 2000, there were about 105.5 million households in America, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. An estimated 3.1 percent of these households are considered “upper-class” by Obama, according to the Annenberg Political Fact Check (University of Pennsylvania). Rounding down, that still leaves 102 million households to split the $15 billion cap-and-trade kickback, resulting in only an extra $147 for each household per year.

It does not take Count von Count to see that these numbers do not add up to much in taxpayers’ favor.

The Democrats control both the House and Senate, making them the Big Birds in Washington’s political nest. Despite the facts, they are still chirping for green reform. And the bigger birds always get the worm, while the smaller, emaciated chicklet’s hunger-bulging eyes can only look upon the feast with contempt. It is simply the law of nature and politics.

Additionally, this course of clean nature is steering America toward more snuffleupagus-sized financial woes via expensive government reform. After all, Mr. Aloysius Snuffleupagus and Big Bird are best friends on Sesame Street.

During the Democrats’ quest for its own personal Sesame Street, the politicians have forgotten the everyday Burt and Ernies that made them the Big Birds they are today — the voting American taxpayers. And while purifying the planet for future generations to inherit is important, this kind of cap-and-trade clean-up is coming at the wrong time. On the back of the stimulus package and proposed health care reform, America needs something that will decrease their financial burden, not further it.

Not to be an Oscar the Grouch, but the green, clean air will do us little good if we are financially-forced to live in dumpsters. Also, America’s sunny environmental future could use some clouds, because without rain and reason, America’s Sesame Street will begin to look more like the Gobi Desert.

Contact Tim Mattingly at

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