Sep 21, 2009

Cap-and-Trade Impact on Jobs

Cap and trade is an environmental measure that looks to cut down on pollution from U.S. companies. It would meet that goal by putting a "cap" on how much carbon businesses can emit. (And the 'trade' part is where companies that produce more than others can 'trade' the difference and the impact on the environment will be the SAME...the only difference will be in the money that brokers will charge to create a new commodity and we get to pay their wages by increased prices.)

Proponents say it needs to be done to protect the environment, but those against the measure say it will be far too expensive. A big concern is that the bill could result in job losses. (...for the little people, but not WallStreet types or the Al Gores that have been gearing up for this.)

The idea is to have a positive impact on greenhouse gas pollution, but many say government regulations would have a negative impact on the country. "It does control the carbon, but in effect people are going to end up paying for it. It's going to cost people somewhere. It's not free," said University of Nebraska-Lincoln agricultural economist Matt Stockton.

Changing to greener practices or paying the price to pollute would cost these corporations. Those costs could be handed down. "Really to consumers in general. It's a deliberate attempt to increase the cost of energy with the objective of coercing people into using less energy," said Representative Adrian Smith.

Using less energy drives demand down, something proponents of cap and trade say isn't a bad thing. "We need energy reform. We need to end our dependence on foreign oil," said Brad Johnson, climatologist at the Center for American Progress. (That being the case, than why not take stimulus money and build oil refineries and develop new oil fields here. OIL is the only commodity we rely on OTHER countries for. Don't mess with power plants and natural gas.)

But, becoming more efficient means some may lose their jobs. "There's less demand and there will be less growth in that industry. There's going to be loss of jobs," said Stockton. (Less growth period = domino effect)

Another concern is those jobs going to other countries. Countries that don't have restrictions. "If you put enough costs on production then production goes to another country. It goes to another place where it's cheaper," Stockton said.

Supporters say these companies are aleady employing less people as they find ways to do business at a lower cost. They also believe this plan would create jobs. Stockton isn't buying it. "I don't know if you create any new jobs. You just change where they work."

It's impossible to predict the number of jobs that could be lost. It's also impossible to predict if that number would equal the amount of new employment established. It comes down to personal conviction and deciding what price you're willing to pay. (and how much added expense going to that job makes it a loose-loose scenario)

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