I noted in an earlier post that GOP Senator Roy Blunt and Rep. Ann Wagner (R-2) have teamed up to produce some glossy mailers detailing their joint policy positions. Admittedly, such mailers provide a limited canvas upon which present complex issues to voters – although this oversimplification is likely considered a feature rather than a bug by many politicians including, one suspects, Blunt-Wagner. Nevertheless, the mailers are so misleading that it might be useful to shovel out some of the muck that they’re trying to spread.
In the first mailer that I received, images of a benignly smiling Wagner and a manically grimacing Blunt doing his best to mimic the act of smiling are juxtaposed with their promise to fight for “affordable American energy.” The reverse side identifies the object of their pugilistic posture as “the Kander-Clinton energy agenda,” obviously aiming at Blunt’s senate election opponent, Jason Kander.
Silly me – I didn’t know that Kander shared top billing with Clinton when it comes to her energy agenda. I hope this means that Kander, unlike other Missouri Democrats (do you hear me Claire McCaskill?), will be on board with Hillary Clinton’s smart proposals to curb climate change – which are very heavy on investing in clean, renewable energy sources while supporting those whose livelihoods could be will be disrupted by the transition from fossil fuels.
The mailer suggests that Blunt-Wagner are in some type of time warp, busily relitigating the 2009 Waxman-Merkey energy bill. It agonizes about a “type of radical cap-and-trade energy tax favored by Hillary Clinton” – although her Web pages dealing with climate change do not mention cap-and-trade, nor has she endorsed the concept elsewhere. The Waxman-Markey bill did include cap-and-trade provisions, and it seems to form the basis for the Blunt-Wagner scaremongering about “radical” energy policy.
Oddly, the mailer claims that Kander voted for cap-and-trade three times. But Vote Smart does not record any votes by Kander on energy policy from his time as a state senator. Nor, as a state Senator, would he have voted on the federal-level Waxman-Markey Bill.
What the “three votes” probably refers to was Kander’s vote in the State Senate against HCR 46, a non-binding resolution that encouraged Missouri’s Congressional Delegation to vote against cap-and-trade. If so, I, along with many Missourians, say “good on ya, Jason. ” Somewhere down the road, Missouri, as an agricultural state, is going to have to come to terms with the fact climate change will, over time, hurt farmers more than higher energy prices. We call it foresight as opposed to short term thinking and it’s supposed to be highly desirable in governance.
Nor, to be honest, would cap-and-trade, were it a part of the Clinton energy proposals, necessarily pose an insurmountable problem for Missouri farmers. California, another agricultural power-house, made the transition to cap-and-trade three years ago and the results have been far from the catastrophe promised by the Blunt-Wagner duo and their fellow partisans:
“We think we do have a good story to tell,” says Mary D. Nichols, chairwoman of the California Air Resources Board, which administers cap-and-trade.
The program’s quarterly auctions of emissions allowances have gone on largely without a hitch. The program has fit in, as was expected, with other emissions reduction programs implemented under AB 32, the state’s landmark greenhouse gas legislation, including mandates for renewable fuels sources for electrical utilities and emissions standards for new cars and trucks.
It has done so without a measurable drag on economic growth. The program generated $969 million in revenue for the state through the end of 2014, and is expected to generate $2 billion a year or more in the future. The money must be spent on efforts to reduce carbon emissions.
“What we’ve learned is that a cap-and-trade system will not kill the California economy,” says Stanford economist Lawrence H. Goulder, who advised the ARB on the program’s design. “The economy has continued to flourish.”
The mailer includes some cost estimates that first turned up in 2009 when the GOP was fighting tooth-and-nail to kill Waxman-Markey. Needless to say, all of the estimates were shown to be bunkum at the time (see also here). They’re still bunkum.
Borrowing discredited arguments from seven years ago to address an imaginary cap-and-trade agenda only proves how bankrupt the energy policy espoused by Wagner-Blunt is. Contrary to their claims, cap-and-trade is proving to be viable where it has been implemented although it does not, at this time, seem to be the main mechanism endorsed by Hillary Clinton to address climate change. Additionally, clean energy alternatives, which Clinton does emphasize, are currently creating numerous jobs while the industry as a whole is booming.
What this all means is that maybe Missourians should take the Wagner-Blunt duo with a very big pinch of salt.