Opinion: Carbon tax bill would hurt job growth

Updated Feb 18, 2013

Shale Gas

That was fast.

The pundits hadn’t even stopped pontificating on President Obama’s State of the Union speech when it was announced that Senators Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Barbara Boxer of California will introduce legislation designed to tax carbon dioxide emissions tomorrow. (During his address Tuesday night, Obama challenged Congress to act and do more “to combat climate change” — or else he would take measures himself.)

The problem, as with so much of Obama’s speech last night, is that it contradicts the other goals set out in the speech. Obama justifiably focused on the need for better job creation. But a carbon tax (which he also endorsed) would undeniably torpedo any hopes at growing jobs in this country.

If it were not for the petrochemical industry, in particular the new drilling and fracking activity that has emerged in Pennsylvania, Texas and North Dakota in the last four years, job growth would be flat to negative.

I just got back from a trip to South Texas, and things are booming. Jobs go begging, 20 year old trucks are plying the highways trying to keep up with demand in the new oil patch. The Houston and San Antonio papers are full of help wanted ads and articles on the massive amounts of hiring planned by the drilling, construction and support industries. Mini-mansions are sprouting up in what used to be sleepy little Tex-Mex towns, towns so small they have to play seven-man football in high school.

USA Today ran an article in November noting that incomes in the United States were up 3.8 percent last year. The biggest contributor to that increase, according to the paper — shale gas.

A carbon tax would kill all that, or at least greatly reduce it. Look at Spain. That country bet big on green energy and is now completely bust, bankrupt, people digging in the dumpsters and protesting outside restaurants for lack of food. Green energy “investments” didn’t cause Spain’s economic collapse, but they helped, and they’re symptomatic of an economy that’s force fed by government bureaucrats rather than free market influences and thus becomes unsustainable.

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Spain also showed us how thoroughly corrupt the green energy business is, with massive amounts of fraud and missing money.

Even if you agree that carbon needs to be restricted, a carbon tax is unlikely to do that. More aggressive use of natural gas as a fuel has already reduced the carbon footprint of the United States and it did so without any government influence or interference.

Obama can’t have his cake and eat it too. The president painted a noble picture of what he wants this country to look like. But like so many liberal visions, it contains the seeds of it’s own destruction. Gun control has only made the crime worse in Chicago. And a carbon tax will kill jobs, hurt construction and do nothing for the environment.