Instead of offering real, grown-up debate about President Obama’s proposal to curb carbon emissions, FOX News’ Saturday business show, Bulls and Bears, did what it usually does, engaged in a shout-fest with unsubstantiated accusations and no independent investigation. Also as usual, the panel was stacked heavily against Obama.
Host Brenda Buttner opened the discussion on the 4/25/09 show by saying, “Happy Earth Tax Day,” a blatant attempt to scare people into believing President Obama will tax us to death.
Eric Bolling typified the shallow, glib approach when he said, “Either you produce a gallon of gasoline, a kilowatt hour of electricity, or a bag of Fritos, you’re going to pollute a little bit in the process. You get taxed, you’re going to do one of two things; Number one, you’re gonna pass that on to the consumer – bad. Or, number two, you’re going to move to China or India where there is no cap and trade tax – badder.”
Tobin Smith said the idea has been proven not to work in Europe and, he dubiously claimed, “the prices collapsed” as a result. He was also annoyed that “it’s going to be a whole new set of taxes.” He called it “dead on arrival.”
What he and most of the rest of the panel, including host Buttner, ignored is a 2008 study by MIT which concluded that while not perfect, the European system is “a technical and political success.” Also not mentioned on the “we report, you decide” network is that the United States already operates a similar “cap and trade” system to control sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide output. Funny how you never hear any howls about that on FOX News.
Nancy Skinner was the lone progressive voice. She said that Obama’s plan is “free maket nirvana…. It’s taking all the powers of the market to find those technologies to incentivize green technologies. It gives companies plenty of time to really put profit in inventing those technologies. We did it back with the Clean Air Act and it worked brilliantly. It’s not a government control-and-command kind of thing. It’s free market, it’s profit, it’s green jobs, it’s perfect.” She garnered howls of protest when she (correctly) stated that the program is working in Europe.
Panelist Gary B. Smith said that the plan will have the same effect on the economy as last summer’s record high gasoline prices. “It’s not going to affect the environment… What it’s really going to do is hurt the economy, put more money in the government’s pocket.” He offered no statistics, no studies, no evidence to support that claim.
Comment: President Obama’s proposal is for a market-based system that “create(s) a market where companies could buy and sell the right to produce a certain amount of carbon pollution. And in this way, every company can determine for itself whether it makes sense to spend the money to become cleaner or more efficient, or to spend the money on a certain amount of allowable pollution.” The president is not proposing any specific taxes on cap and trade. If anything, corporations decide whether or not to pass on costs to the consumers, not Obama. But don’t hold your breath waiting for a complete report about the plan’s effects on businesses on FOX’s Saturday business block.
(Also on News Hounds)