By Michael Bryan
Jesse Kelly's latest salvo criticizes Ron Barber for support of a bill (Waxman-Markey's cap and trade bill) that he's never (that I can find) taken a position on, and which has been as dead as a doornail since 2010.
Gabby Giffords did support and vote for Waxman-Markey when it passed the House in 2009. I assume that Kelly is basing his allegation that Barber supports it on Gabby's vote. That might be a fair assumption, or it might not. But it is certainly deeply irrelevant to any possible current cap and trade bill before the House: there is none.
Is Kelly swinging at a strawman, or is he just stupid? A bit of each, perhaps?
Kelly's ad claims that cap and trade would cost consumers an additional $1000 a year in energy costs and destroy 40,000 jobs. Given that no cap and trade legislation is pending, I suspect that Kelly is freaking himself out by playing Fantasy Congress, only with the Dems in charge. I certainly would like to see Jesse's little nightmare come true...
Kelly's newest ad is simply not relevant to the real world, but let's take a quick look at the numbers anyhow, just to see how accurate his fantasies are.
When Waxman-Markey was still pending legislation with a chance of becoming law, the non-partisan Congression Budget Office scored its likely economic impact, concluding that it would have negligable impact on jobs, and only a very slight impact on energy prices for most consumers because the revenues from cap and trade would be redistributed to consumers to offset price increases. Further, given the likely very substantial costs of climate change in future years, the ecnomic impact of not avoiding those costs by passing such legislation could be catastrophic.
Of course, fossil fuel industry shills (like Kelly) spared no expense in attacking Waxman-Markey as a job killing nightmare that could cost the U.S. as many of 2.4 million jobs. Spread that number out proportionately over the country somehow, and I'm guessing that is where Kelly got his 40K job loss claim. I'm sure some right-wing or energy industry scoring is behind the $1000 annual cost claim. Something like ALEC's hit on cap and trade (though it claims more like $1,500 to $3,000 annual cost). The sort of impacts that Kelly's ad claims are, of course, the most pessimistic estimates by hacks in the pocket of the energy industry.
Independent FactCheck.org indicates that the jobs impact of a cap and trade regime is uncertain and really depends on exactly how the bill is structured and how quickly the green energy sector would expand to replace jobs lost in the dirty energy sector. In any case, the impact would be much more moderate than any of the industry scare scenarios.
So, Kelly is misleading voters again about the effects of Democratic policies on climate change and carbon emissions, just like he does about Obamacare's impact on Medicare. His consistent modus seems to be to scare voters into casting their ballots for him, which is the lowest and most deceitful form of political campaigning: and just so happens to be what wingnuts like Kelly are really good at.
But that's all pretty much beside the point. Waxman-Markey is dead, dead, dead. Republicans and Blue Dog Dems killed it. Barber hasn't taken a position on it, and doesn't really have to. America is (unfortunately) not passing any legislation to address climate change any time soon with the do-nothing GOP in charge of the do-nothing House.
Electing Jesse Kelly, who denies the existence of anthropogenic climate change due to CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions, is certainly going to continue gridlock on this particular issue, among others. So, to the extent that Kelly's ad is really just saying, "vote for me and I will do my best to make Earth look like Venus by ensuring the energy industry pumps out unlimited CO2 emmissions," I guess it might contain a sliver of truth.
See the ad after the click, if you can stomach it...