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Kerry-Lieberman Bill an Economy Killer

Like an indestructible monster from a low-budget horror film, cap and tax returned today for yet another "suspension of disbelief" sequel.

The Kerry-Lieberman American Power Act recycles the job-killing, energy-restricting provisions from prior global warming bills, and additionally recycles the comical talking points: statements designed to con the American public into believing that inefficient energy sources will somehow create jobs and benefit the economy.

The Kerry-Lieberman bill imposes the same draconian carbon reduction mandates sought under prior global warming bills. The legislation calls for a 17 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from 2005 levels by 2020, and a more than 80 percent reduction by 2050.

Forcing American consumers to abandon inexpensive energy sources such as coal, oil, and natural gas and to replace them with expensive, unreliable sources such as wind and solar power will ravage our already reeling economy. President Obama acknowledged the obvious -- and intended -- in a 2008 interview with the San Francisco Chronicle:

Under my plan of a cap-and-trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.

Kerry-Lieberman proponents argue that eliminating inexpensive conventional power sources will not burden consumers, because the government will charge carbon emitters a fee for each unit of carbon they emit and refund a portion of that fee to consumers. This promise by Washington politicians to -- for the first time ever? -- not raid an available money stream for pet projects and special interests lacks credibility, and is nevertheless irrelevant. If carbon dioxide emissions decline by more than 80 percent, as the bill envisions, government will be issuing very few carbon emission credits and thus collecting few carbon emission fees.

Instead, consumers will be purchasing inefficient wind and solar power, for which they will face sharply higher energy bills while receiving few carbon emission fee rebates.

Just how much will carbon dioxide restrictions cost American consumers? A recent Tufts University study found the production costs of nuclear power are 57 percent more than the production costs of coal power. Wind power costs 75 percent more than coal. Solar thermal is 570 percent more expensive, and solar photovoltaic, 887 percent. (Environmental activists prefer solar photovoltaic over solar thermal, because solar thermal consumes tremendous amounts of water.)

Given these economic realities, the Treasury concluded last September that carbon dioxide restrictions could cost the average U.S. household roughly $3,000 each and every year.

And the talking points asserting job creation? True, forcing people to purchase expensive solar and wind power will create jobs in the solar and wind power industries. But a far greater number of jobs will be destroyed in other sectors of the economy, since consumers will have less available money for food, clothing, shelter, health care, and durable goods -- you know, all those items that improve living standards and benefit human welfare. Forcing consumers to purchase expensive energy grows the economy in the same manner that encouraging mafia activity would create jobs in the extortion industry.

Our economy is already tattered -- the American Power Act guarantees worse.