Farmers need Congress watching out for them
HUTCHINSON, Kan. -- We need farm-state members of Congress watching out for the interests of farmers in proposed climate change legislation. But everyone needs to expect that so-called cap-and-trade environmental legislation will come with an exp...
HUTCHINSON, Kan. -- We need farm-state members of Congress watching out for the interests of farmers in proposed climate change legislation.
But everyone needs to expect that so-called cap-and-trade environmental legislation will come with an expense, not just for farmers or any other single group, but for society at-large.
That isn't a tax, as some have characterized it. It represents the cost of environmental damage. The goal isn't to raise government revenue, but to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases.
Rep. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., says he is concerned about a significant increase in prices of gasoline, electricity, fertilizer, natural gas and propone -- all obviously important inputs for farming operations.
Likely, cap and trade would lead to higher prices for those commodities. And American consumers should expect those costs to be passed along and lead to higher prices in the grocery store. Again, damaging the environment is a societal cost for which we all will -- as we should -- pay.
We are glad Moran and others are pointing out the omission of agriculture in the bill, and we agree with concerns about rushing such important legislation to a vote without a thorough analysis.
But we disagree when Moran characterizes cap and trade as a "huge tax increase" on American farmers.
Carbon emitters will have higher costs of doing business, but that is a tax only in so much as tobacco companies have been taxed to pay for the health effects of their product. Regulation is effectively accomplished through allocation of the expense of the outcome to the producer.