I read with great interest Congressman Boccieri’s explanation for his support for the “Cap and Trade Bill” in the July 8 Ashland Times-Gazette. Congressman Boccieri is a first-term Democratic Representative for the 16th Congressional District which covers Canton, Wooster and Ashland. It is very disappointing that he supported this bill against the expressed wishes of many of us living in his congressional district. I know many who wrote him requesting a “No” vote on this bill. This bill is not in the best interests of the people living in North Central Ohio. It will cause jobs to continue to leave Ohio. Even though this bill was generally supported by the Democratic Party, it was voted against by many Democratic congressmen from Midwestern industrial states. They understood something that Congressman Boccieri did not: the potential demoralizing effects of this bill on our region. This is why many of us thought Representative Boccieri would also join the vote against this bill. It passed because of overwhelming support of congressmen in the Sunbelt states and a minority of Midwestern congressmen who betrayed their constituents. It should be noted that Congressman Boccieri publicly stated (as reported in the Canton Repository) in April that he would not support this bill. This makes his change of mind a great disappointment and seems quite erratic.
It appears like Boccieri was bought off at the last minute by the availability of $30 billion loan fund for businesses. What small businesses can currently afford another loan? He argues this bill will not increase taxes, but it will indirectly raise taxes through increasing carbon emission costs and utility costs affecting all businesses that will necessarily pass the costs on to customers and raise everyone’s utility rates. In his comments in the Times-Gazette article Representative Boccieri maintained that he wanted one thing changed in the Senate version: the removal of a provision calling for a national building code that would place strict environmental requirements on homes prior to their sale. This will cause all of you to make certain your home is environmentally suitable prior to your selling it. It is hypocritical to say one opposes this expensive overwhelming section of the bill and want the Senate to adjust it, yet to vote for it in Congress. If he feels so strongly about this part of the bill he should have taken a concerted stand of conscience and voted against the entirety of the bill unless the change was made. When one votes for the entirety of a bill, one supports the bill. This will really stimulate the housing market by raising the costs to sell and buy homes (sarcasm). Has Representative Boccieri become a Pelosi puppet?
It is likely this bill will cause more manufacturing jobs to leave Ohio and the United States, increase costs for all Americans, boost utility rates, weaken the housing market, and will not improve the environment or decrease global warming , especially since emerging economic nations like China and India have chosen not to participate in emissions reduction. Forty-four Democratic Congressmen voted against this bill; Congressman Boccieri should have made it forty-five.
This bill was promoted as a partial solution to global warming and our dependence on foreign oil. Environmental issues should be a concern for all of us. The evidence for global warming is mixed; I’ve read scientific reports on both sides of the issue and believe it has become too politicized for most to really know the truth. It is, however, important to be good stewards and personally leave our environment in better shape than we found it for future generations, but these are personal moral responsibilities. But if Congressman Boccieri supports global warming issues so strongly we need an investigation into his own lifestyle, including what make of automobile he drives and what his utility bills are. Is he an environmentally good example for us all to follow? A good leader with strong convictions will consistently live out his views and start with himself prior to putting his values on others. I believe in personal stewardship of the environment and want to do all that I can to make the environment better as a good use of what God has graciously given me and to leave my personal environment better off than I found it for my children and grandchildren. There certainly must be a basic right to clean water and clean air. This is why I’ve had solar panels for a decade (for which I could receive no tax exemptions during the Clinton era) and had an efficient log home built two decades ago. We should understand the moral obligation for a safe livable environment for our children but it should be done incrementally with major tax cuts for environmentally friendly purchases to stimulate the economy and improve the environment not by taxing us for environmental usages.
Congressman Boccieri also voted for the 800 billion stimulus bill which has not yet stimulated the economy (and doubtfully ever will) as the unemployment rates continue to climb. This so-called stimulus is being used to plug financial holes in State budgets, not create the long-lasting solid jobs needed. This bill was also rushed through so it could bring immediate results which have not occurred and there has been a failure to provide adequate oversight to the spending. Did Congressman Boccieri “misread” the economy as Vice-President Biden has recently recognized? I think the spending philosophy of most of us in this part of Ohio runs contrary to the position and voting record of Mr. Boccieri. This impetuous spending will lead to disaster. Congressman Boccieri, SLOW DOWN, YOU’RE SPENDING TOO FAST!
Dr. Mark Hamilton is an Associate Professor of Philosophy, Ashland University and Chairman of the Institute for Principled Policy