Kerry pushes job-killing cap and trade despite Democrat push on job-creation 

Voters need to get angry about "the fact that they're being killed and our planet is being injured" because of how we go about energy production, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., said in a conference today:

"You know if the Tea Party folks can go out there and get angry because they think their taxes are too high, for God's sake, a lot of citizens ought to get angry about the fact that they're being killed and our planet is being injured by what's happening on a daily basis by the way we provide our power and our fuel and the old practices we have. That's something worth getting angry about."

Kerry's remarks come as a response to a New York Times story suggesting that Democratic efforts for cap and trade are being scaled back.

But as Simon Rosenberg of NDN notes, the push on climate change is a bit awkward if it doesn't address the concerns of a public that is currently more concerned about the economy.

It is not surprising that other issues like health care, energy policy and climate change are being seen through a prism of "will this make my life, my economic struggle better today?" because so many families have been down so long, and things have gotten an awful lot worse over the last year.

In that case, Kerry's way off message -- "hurting Earth" isn't speaking to those fears, but it's only slightly worse (or perhaps more ideologically honest) than suggesting that the green jobs revolution will fix our economic problems, and idea that Nick Loris at the Foundry rebuts:

With enough subsidies and government mandates in place, cap and trade could ostensibly create 1.7 million jobs. But according to calculation from Heritage Foundation economists, cap and trade legislation would destroy far more jobs than the policy would create. The Center for Data Analysis study on the Waxman-Markey cap and trade bill found net job losses (after green job creation) approach 1.9 million in 2012 and could approach 2.5 million by 2035. Manufacturing loses 1.4 million jobs in 2035.

Even the Congressional Budget Office noted the potential for job loss based on the legislation

[Cap and trade] would slow the nation's economic growth slightly over the next few decades and would create "significant" job losses from fossil fuel industries as the country shifts to renewable energy, the head of the Congressional Budget Office told a Senate energy panel Wednesday.

Hurting workers over hurting Earth seems like a losing proposition. And most Americans don't buy it. A Pew Research Center poll shows "few Americans consider global warming to be a top priority, so few that global warming came in dead last among 21 issues. ... At the very bottom was dealing with global warming (28 percent)."  And another poll released yesterday by Yale and George Mason Universities found U.S. concern about global warming has "dropped sharply" from 63 percent in 2008 down to 50 percent. 

If Democrats are serious about addressing the concerns of working Americans, cap and trade certainly isn't among the important issues.

About The Author

J.P. Freire

J.P. Freire is the associate editor of commentary. Previously he was the managing editor of the American Spectator. Freire was named journalist of the year for 2009 by the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). You can follow him on Twitter here. Besides the Spectator, Freire's work has appeared in... more
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