Testifying on Capitol Hill yesterday, Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Transportation Secretary Roy LaHood, and EPA administrator Lisa Jackson all pitched the latest cap and trade bill in the House as a “jobs bill.” Jackson told the House Energy and Commerce Committee, “This is a jobs bill, and it is a jobs bill that focuses our country’s energy on the growth industry of the future.” But when Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) asked Jackson how her agency was able to release a cost estimate of the bill after she admitted she had not even read it, Jackson replied: “We had to make assumptions.” You know what happens when you make assumptions, don’t you?

The “preliminary analysis” released by Jackson’s EPA found that cap and trade would cost the average American household an extra $98 to $140 a year. These numbers are far below most academic studies of cap and trade legislation. For example, a study done by MIT Professor John Reilly found that a scheme modeled after the far more lenient Warner-Lieberman cap and trade bill would cost the average American household a combined $3,900 every year in higher energy costs and taxes. Our own Center for Data Analysis shows Lieberman-Warner would have cost the U.S. economy $4.8 trillion by 2030.

And then there are the Americans that will lose their jobs completely due to cap and trade. Affirming his belief that carbon taxes would create jobs, Secretary LaHood emphasized “especially green jobs.” And what exactly are green jobs? No one knows. An academic study of eco-leftist rhetoric released earlier this year shows that there is no standard definition of what a green job is, and most studies that purport to show green job creation ignore the other jobs that are destroyed by energy taxes. When “green jobs” are well defined, studies show that alternative energy policies kill more jobs than they create. President Barack Obama loves to cite Spain as an example of his preferred green job future but a study released last month by researchers at Universidad Rey Juan Carlos shows that for each job created in Spain’s renewable energy industry, 2.2 jobs were destroyed elsewhere in the economy.

We live in a fiercely competitive global marketplace. If carbon taxes were a sound way of creating jobs and economic growth our global competitors would be jumping at the chance to adopt them. Instead we see the opposite: China has said they will never sacrifice their economic growth to reduce carbon emissions and India has called the trade off between carbon caps and economic growth “morally wrong.” The smarter way to insure against the possible risks of global warming is to enact policies that will ensure robust economic growth. History shows that richer is greener.

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