William Crandell: No climate tax pledge bad for countryPublished 2:14pm Friday, July 12, 2013
By William Crandell, The Democratic Voice
Americans for Prosperity (AFP), the nonprofit group that is funded by the Koch Brothers, has devised a new pledge that it has been bullying politicians into signing the “No Climate Tax Pledge.”
As with the Grover Norquist anti-tax pledge and the anti-gay pledge from the National Organization for Marriage, it is rumored that Republican members who refuse to sign are threatened with primary challenges and the loss of campaign funding. These pledges are undermining the ability for our politicians to work out compromises and destroying the American political system as we know it.
The “No Climate Tax Pledge” was started in 2008 after the United States Supreme Court ruled that greenhouse gases were a form of pollution, but has just recently come to light. The signers of the pledge vow to oppose any legislation relating to climate change or pollution that will increase government revenue. For instance, fines or requiring the purchasing of licenses and permits that regulate emission standards, unless the bill is accompanied by an equivalent amount of tax cuts which will probably end up hurting social services. This will guarantee that any legislation that is passed will hurt the general public as well as the corporate polluters and ensure public opposition to any environmental legislation. And, if it does pass, the Koch brothers and their corporate allies will get a tax break.
An example of the type of legislation that this pledge has been designed to eliminate is the EPA’s Cap and Trade Policy, which is designed to lower air pollution and places a cap on the amount of coal, oil and natural gas that can be used. It also requires companies to pay for pollution emission permits, which the AFP sponsored pledge refers to as a tax. Cap and Trade controls the amount of pollution we breathe in everyday and is designed to push companies into lowering pollution levels.
So far, 411 politicians across the country have committed to the pledge, and the signers here in Michigan include: five state senators, 17 state representatives including Al Pscholka of the 79th State District and six United States Representatives, one of whom is Fred Upton, our 6th District Representative and the Chairmen of the House Energy Committee, and longtime opponent of the EPA. According to the Clean Air Task Force, Michigan is still ranked fifth in the nation for air pollution deaths, averaging about 13,000 a year, and our own politicians have pledged to do nothing about it.
This pledge was kept quiet for five years and if our leadership really thought it was the right thing to do, why was it hidden from the general public? The answer is simple, they know it is wrong and they know it could lead to horrific consequences for future generations.
Americans for Prosperity is nothing more than a front group for Koch Industries and they are more than willing to recklessly put the safety of Americans in danger to make a buck.
William Crandell is a community activist and active member of the Michigan Education Association and the Michigan Democratic Party. He is also a member of the South County Democratic Club where he has served as their communications director and as the chairperson of the SCDC Blue Tiger Community Action Committee.
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