An Added Benefit of Cut, Cap, and Balance — It Would Make Enacting Climate Legislation “Virtually Impossible”

by Marlo Lewis on June 17, 2011

in Blog, Features

Post image for An Added Benefit of Cut, Cap, and Balance — It Would Make Enacting Climate Legislation “Virtually Impossible”

Socialism is such fun — until the other guy’s money runs out. At that point, even spendaholics may sober up and make tough choices. Irony of ironies, Washington’s fiscal excesses may put the final nail in the coffin of cap-and-trade.

A new study by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities finds that GOP proposals to address the nation’s fiscal crisis, all of which cap federal spending at some percentage of GDP, would make climate legislation — whether cap-and-trade or a carbon tax — “virtually impossible to enact.”

The more severe the spending cap, the more it would “doom efforts to enact comprehensive climate change legislation,” even if the climate bill would not increase the deficit. The report’s authors lament the fact that spending caps would make the political obstacles to climate legislation “almost insurmountable.” It’s music to this non-socialist’s ears.

Between now and early August, federal spending will push the national debt up to its current statutory ceiling of $14.3 trillion. If Congress does not raise the debt ceiling, the U.S. Government will not be able to borrow additional money to fund federal programs and pay its creditors. 

Default — failure to pay the government’s creditors — is not really an option. Default would likely cause a massive spike in interest rates, a stock market crash, and liquidation of money market accounts — an economic crisis much worse than the one from which we are still trying to recover. 

President Obama and GOP leaders are wrangling over legislation to raise the debt ceiling. Obama wants a “clean” debt ceiling bill, by which he means “one that is not encumbered by any provisions that will limit the federal government’s ability to spend money now and in the future,” notes U.S. News & World Report reporter Peter Roff.

GOP leaders, in stark contrast, see negotiations over the debt ceiling as an opportunity to fix the overspending that is the root cause of the nation’s fiscal crisis. The most aggressive of these GOP solutions is called Cut, Cap, and Balance, devised by the House Republican Study Committee.  

In return for an agreement to raise the debt ceiling, GOP conservatives want the deal to include enactment of Cut, Cap, and Balance, the basic elements of which are:

  1. Cut – Make discretionary and mandatory spending reductions that would cut the deficit in half next year.
  2. Cap – Enact statutory, enforceable caps to align federal spending with average revenues at 18% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 2017, with automatic spending reductions if the caps are breached.
  3. Balance – Send the states a Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA) with strong protections against federal tax increases and a Spending Limitation Amendment (SLA) that aligns spending with average revenues as described above.

A milder version of this agenda, the Commitment to American Prosperity (CAP) Act (H.R. 1635), would put federal spending on a downward path to be capped at 20.6% of GDP by 2022.

Why would spending caps preclude enactment of future cap-and-trade or carbon tax legislation, even if deficit neutral? A climate bill would increase federal outlays by hundreds of billions of dollars. The Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill, for example, would have increased federal revenues by $751 billion to $873 billion over 10 years (from the sale of emission allowances), but would also have increased federal outlays by $732 billion to $864 billion (in the form of consumer relief on electric bills and ‘green’ energy ‘investments’). Federal outlays for 2011 in CBO’s baseline projection (p. 71) total $3.7 trillion, or 24.7% of GDP. It would be nearly impossible to increase spending by hundreds of billions and limit federal spending to 18% of GDP or even 20.6% of GDP. 

The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities explains:

Under a global [budget-wide] spending cap, such an approach [cap-and-trade, cap-and-dividend] would not be viable. Lawmakers would have to include very large budget cuts (likely hundreds of billions of dollars of cuts) in the same legislation in order to keep total federal spending within the spending cap. And these hundreds of billions of dollars of new budget cuts would come on top of the trillions of dollars in budget cuts in Medicare, Medicaid, numerous other programs, and possibly Social Security that already would be needed to shrink federal expenditures enough to fit within the global spending cap.  

The bottom line:

A global spending cap would all but doom efforts to enact comprehensive climate change legislation. Even if such legislation did not increase deficits, it would increase federal spending, and every dollar of additional spending would have to be offset by spending cuts, regardless of how much revenue the legislation generated.

Henri Suyderhoud June 20, 2011 at 10:33 pm

The death of cap and trade will prove to be the saving grace to many aspects of the budget crisis. It will also be the bitter pill people like Gore, Markey, Hansen and CO. will have to swallow. But swallow they must and will. And ultimately, the country will be better off, and truly viable green technologies will come to live. Industries will rise, and jobs will be created, right here in America in the first place..

Ray Smith June 22, 2011 at 8:10 am

(LaHood Listened!)

Dear Scott Nathanson:

California was never the place in North America (to use as a model) for developing Clean Air Standards as they relate to automobile emissions, or Global Warming! Let me give you some plain facts that the Union of Concerned Scientist, are not going to change, no matter how hard they try! California is unique in its location to the extent that, all air pollution produced there, blows back in your face from the known process of inversion i.e. the never ending wind, blowing back on shore, from the ocean. All forms of air born pollution, filtered or unfiltered, that goes up into the atmosphere comes right back into your cities, through this known process.

1 This above issue is very important to your cause of concern, or for any scientist seeking to reduce automobile emissions in California (or for that matter the entire east coast) of the alleged pollutants from automobile exhaust systems. The key here is the EPA picked the wrong place, to set rules on the auto industry, it should have been done in the mid west, or some where, that they don’t have reversed air “inversion”, or outside interference. EPA’s laboratory in Ann Arbor Michigan would have been the most ideal spot, to run the tests, and set the emission standards and leave California out of the loop. Here are some intervening facts one needs to consider in attempting to set the EPA auto emission standards! When the average internal combustion engine is running, under normal operating conditions, you simply cannot restrict exhaust flow from the engine accept in an idle mode. Doing so would cause serious damage to the engine and valve systems. Catalytic converters, just do not work under real driving conditions the do not filter the exhaust under normal driving conditions! There are two types of catalytic converters used by the Auto makers today. Identified letters, (a) and (b); (a) is brief description of the components of the monolith converter, typically consists of a ceramic or metal honeycombed monolith substrate that carries precious metal catalysts. The coated substrate is in an Intumescent mat that expands when heated, securing and insulating the substrate which is packaged in a stainless steel shell and fitted into the engine exhaust system. (b) The second type converter incorporated into the exhaust system of an automobile that reduces the amount of pollutants in the automobile’s exhaust gases. Represents a catalytic converter consisting of an insulated chamber containing a porous bed, or substrate, of glass beads coated with catalytic material through which hot exhaust gas must pass before being discharged into the air. The catalyst is one of a variety of metal oxides, usually platinum or palladium, which are heated by exhaust gas to about 500º C (900º F, 737 K). At this temperature unburned hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide are further oxidised, while oxides of nitrogen are chemically reduced in a second chamber with a different catalyst. Problems with catalysts involve their intolerance for leaded fuels (lead-free gasoline must be used otherwise the beads in the catalytic converter will become coated with lead and cease to function properly) and the need to prevent overheating. However because of the conversion of carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide it therefore causes an increase in greenhouse gases and in the process of removing toxic gases to less non-toxic gases it causes an increase in the greenhouse effect. Neither device is constructed in such a way that they cause back pressure to the exhaust system, to the point that they would filter any gases coming out of the tailpipe, period. (Another) interesting tidbit of information about the development of these (two) devices which occurred about the same time the regulations were set by EPA. GM, General Motors recognizing a profit could be made on the devices, that in turn the cost of the devices could be passed onto the consumer, GM made a very lucrative wise business decision, traveling to South Africa, and purchasing all the rare earth minerals, in palladium and rhodium mines, in the country! This was a good deal for GM.

2 EPA initially, after viewing California’s smoggy situation, in the major cities arrived at the conclusion, that, the smog in the over populated cities was coming from the automobiles. (If in the end it is concluded the auto is responsible, stop driving vehicles their with gasoline engines in California)They arrived at this opinion after viewing what we call, i.e. (fugitive emissions using no instruments) just by making eye observations of the conditions by actually seeing the alleged smoke. Further, once EPA arrived at their conclusion, that, California’s major metropolitan Cities, were, polluted with a serious case of Smog, fog, or fugitive emissions. All of the experts originally involved in the investigation decided, that this, was a good place for EPA to start developing Air Standards, first, in California. With EPA placing the direct blame onto the Automobile for the above conditions. Back at EPA’S, Ann Arbor Michigan testing facilities, their first step was to develop a test to measure all of the various particulates and noxious gasses coming out the exhaust pipe of an automobile powered by a gasoline engine. As mentioned before, there were some known pollutants coming out the exhaust of an automobile, that EPA did not have instruments to measure. In efforts to keep up with the new clean air act laws, and meet the deadlines placed on them by EPA and California Air Quality people. The EPA had to act very quickly, to come up with some emission standards and set those numbers so the Automotive industry could comply with the New requirements of the law, themselves!

3 To pursue this course of action, EPA had to develop a standard test naming it the (FTP) Federal Testing Procedure to be used for testing all vehicles for emissions output. This test consisted of a series of preprogrammed computerized test (driving cycles) that could be programmed into their computers. It was the intent of EPA to duplicate realistic driving cycles, so that, when an automobile was run on the dyno. The driving cycles used, were to represent the way the average driver drove his/her car on the street. When a vehicle is placed on a dynamometer for the FTP, test, is run, a flexible exhaust pipe is attached to the vehicle and the exhaust hose is attached to the instruments which takes readings of the emissions expelled from the test vehicle. These readings, measured the particulate matter and emissions (after the catalyst burn) that is coming out of the exhaust pipe. All of the automobiles being tested are all equipped with the newly developed catalytic converters. An EPA technician sets in the vehicle during a test, but is not involved in operation of the vehicle being tested; the operation of the vehicle on the dyno is all automated. The technician may at times if in an emergency situation, he/she may be required to apply the brakes if a safety cable broke?

4 Here is where the real EPA boondoggle begins at the EPA, which in my mind perpetrates the greatest case of fraud by a Government agency has committed against its people that I have ever seen. This case of fraud committed by authorities at EPA, and they condone these facts, and also convinced perhaps 35,000, plus or minus scientists, around the world who agree with them! That after spending all that money on emission devices, that the automobile is still responsible for most of the CO2 in the atmosphere? In my view, here’s what Detroit and EPA, and possibly California air quality experts took part in, to make it look like the emission systems were working after the vehicle went through a test! I mention Detroit meaning the auto manufacturing Industry, simply because they may have known the facts I have revealed here. When EPA had developed the faulty driving cycles used in the FTP, in the end, it benefited the auto industry. As the result of the faulty FTP test showed higher (MPG) miles per gallon, obtained on a vehicle and less pollutants put out the tailpipe? If the FTP driving cycles, were changed to reflect what goes on in the real world as far as driving is concerned, there would be a different set of circumstances if the driving cycles were more aggressive, so as to represent how the American consumer drives his/her automobile on the street. If EPA”S dyno’s were corrected to reflect real world driving conditions, no vehicle placed on the FTP test would pass the emission tests, and MPG would be reduced significantly. Beside this, certainly the auto industry did not complain or object to the faulty driving cycles developed by EPA. After all they stood to prosper and were set, to make billions of dollars on emission control devices that they were forced to use, by our government, in order to comply with the Clean Air Act, using the FTP. Everyone, up the chain of command knew that, if driving cycles were changed to represent the way the average person drove their car on the street. That the systems devised and put on every car in America, to reduce auto emissions, simply, in plain English, do not work in the real world like they are alleged to do! Under these conditions, some people in the chain have remained silent, in other words, why bite off your nose to spite your face, leave well enough alone? EPA set the Federal Air Emissions Standards for all Automobiles’ on the above proceeding basis. (As stated before, and of interest to some, the standards were set before EPA had instruments to measure some of the emissions). The testing procedures were developed by EPA to make it look like the emissions systems (specifically the catalytic converter was working) by using driving cycles that do not represent the way a person would drive their car on the street. These are very serious allegations I have made here, I have in my possession the EPA internal documentation, to prove the points I raise here.

4 Here is the bottom line, if Scientists really want to do something to help mankind and disprove the allegations I make, on the above subject, they should develop a “tracer” that can be mixed with gasoline, run through a vehicles engine! Then by some means, take a sample from the outer atmosphere and capture the specific CO2, that automobiles are emitting, and putting there, that is the easy part. Once you conclude from that samples brought back, is indeed CO2 with a “tracer” in it, you have proven the point. Sounds simple doesn’t it? It is not, and this is where the real work begins. Now you must determine what percentage of total CO2 in the upper, outer, atmosphere. Using the sample brought back, with the tracer in you can define the percentage that represents that attributed to being put there, by automobiles? Perhaps you could use some harmless radio isotope with a half life of 72 hours (such as sodium 24) could for this test. After such a test is conducted, if Scientist would conclude, that “xyz” proves to the world, that the automobile is responsible for contributing the most CO2 into the atmosphere, and not by some other source? I for one would then believe that, i.e. automobiles are responsible for most of the CO2 in our outer atmosphere. Until such time that a test of this magnitude is run, if I were a scientist, or a concerned environmentalist I would not make such assumptions or claims, i.e. that the automobile is responsible for most of the CO2 in the atmosphere!

Just imagine all the hundreds of billions of dollars this country, and others, have thrown away on worthless devices, mandated by our government to be placed on all automobiles, powered by internal combustion engines, just to sell a car in America $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$. Just think of all the money used that was not cost effective, that could have been spent for useful purposes, like feeding the hungry, or providing the funds to assure that every American could collect social security, when they retire, just to name a few! Take a deep breath, all of you that are out there, quit predicting and making assumptions, tell the truth, man is not causing Global Warming? Our own Environmental Protection Agency, (EPA) at the moment, under the direction of the President of the United States of America, Barack Obama, has just put EPA in total control. Of massive unnecessary new regulations, that will now regulate emission controls, and stop Global warming, what ever that means? What I am reading about EPA’S plans to fulfill the Presidents newest request with new EPA regulations regulating these specific subjects scares the hell out of me! America is on a course of the greatest financial disaster we have ever seen (brought on by ourselves) when it comes to our efforts to fix auto emissions and stop Global warming! To embark on such a goal would take us back to the Civil war, and before it is all over, there might be another one, just to gain our freedom back. For EPA to enforce controls beyond where they are today, and comply with the presidents wishes, the projected cost to the US taxpayer, will exceed hundreds of Trillions of dollars. Where will the money come from? Not us, the average consumer cannot afford to pay for this nightmare? Will the Government print the money, and try and sell the debt to another nation, to pay the bill? Even considering how stupid this sounds, this would be our only alterative! Here is the bottom line on stupidity, after we spend hundreds of trillions of dollars, carrying out the presidents plan, the earth will be no cleaner or better off, and we will still have Natural born Global warming! Wake up America!!! For the president to appoint EPA to do this job, he is admitting EPA has failed in their past endeavors to clean up the environment, just consider for example these facts I bring to you, a total failure on EPA part when it comes to them regulating Automobile emissions, for all these years, this proves this point I make. Such a move to put EPA in charge of these all important matters is like putting the fox in charge of guarding the hen house!

Turning now to the future car that will obtain 60 miles per gallon?

Let the automobile manufactures alone, they are under pressure to build new cars and trucks that will obtain maximum efficiency and hopefully it will be a safe one! I am not so sure how safe they will be, given the fact in order to obtain Obama’s goals cars will be built out of, mostly plastics, and have an engine that has one cylinder in it. Uncle Sam or Obama does not need to tell Detroit how to build an Automobile! If so it would create another disaster that brought us to where we are today i.e. that because of the forced failed federal regulations of the past, we are now are being blamed for being the sole cause of Global Warming! The Auto industry will need to improve MPG to stay alive, in the market place, and they now get this point. Alternative fuels are a long way off, and electric cars and trucks are not an immediate answer to our problems. Most of us could not afford a hybrid, or electric car! Let the politicians in Washington DC stick to running our government, most on one side of the isle, could not build a soap box derby, or balance the budget? Let the Scientists keep mixing their chemicals and not trying to build emission free automobiles that run on fossil fuels. AMERICA cannot wait on new technology that will never be reasonably priced. What we can do is CONSERVE ENERGY & SAVE AMERICA until technology catches up and we tap all of our known sources of Energy!

In closing, the world is changing, and I do not believe Global Warming is caused by man. No scientist, politician, or automobile engineer skilled in his/her field will convince an intelligent person of this false doctrine! Changes have been happening as far as our environment is concerned for hundreds or thousands, or millions of years. It gets warmer, then colder, glaciers melt, earth quakes happen, and we have volcanic eruptions, which cause fallouts of particulate matter which goes into the atmosphere, and falls on the earth for thousands of years, and so on! Man cannot stop this, no matter what he tries to do!

Sincerely, Ray P. Smith
P.S get rid of the EPA!
—– Original Message —–
From: Union of Concerned Scientists
To: rpsmith662@verizon.net
Sent: Tuesday, June 14, 2011 5:16 PM
Subject: LaHood listened! Now let’s take clean cars straight to the top

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