By Peter Roff, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
In her remarks bringing the debate over the climate bill to a close, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California urged her colleagues to vote in favor of the cap and trade bill, saying the measure was about four things: "jobs, jobs, jobs, and jobs."
She was right—the House-passed version of cap and trade is all about jobs: jobs lost, jobs never created, jobs sent overseas, and, unbelievably, jobs people will be paid for doing long after they cease to exist.
According to Friday's Washington Times, the legislation includes language that provides, should it become law, that people who lose their jobs because of it "could get a weekly paycheck for up to three years, subsidies to find new work and other generous benefits—courtesy of Uncle Sam."
How generous are these benefits? Well, according to the Times, "Adversely affected employees in oil, coal and other fossil-fuel sector jobs would qualify for a weekly check worth 70 percent of their current salary for up to three years. In addition, they would get $1,500 for job-search assistance and $1,500 for moving expenses from the bill's 'climate change worker adjustment assistance' program, which is expected to cost $4.2 billion from 2011 to 2019."
Instead of being a the source of millions of new jobs of "green jobs"—as House Democrats are fond of saying over and over again—the provision is a hidden admission that their effort is a job killer, not just a massive new tax on energy.
Building a safety net into the legislation is probably the responsible thing to do. The government is going to be directly responsible for the destruction of millions of jobs if the bill passed by the House becomes law—anywhere from a net loss of .5 percent of total jobs over the first 10 years, according to the liberal Brookings Institution, to 3 million by the year 2030, according to the industry-backed Coalition for Affordable American Energy. But wouldn't it be better to leave the jobs alone in the first place? It would certainly be cheaper.