Americans Can't Afford President Biden's Green Obsession
As if Biden’s push for green energy hasn’t hurt America enough with the cancellation of the Keystone XL Pipeline and rejoining the Paris Agreement on climate, it’s now fueling the rise in utility bills for hardworking Americans across the board. And his plan to hike taxes on corporate businesses will only make it worse.
Electric rates are increasing across the country as utilities incorporate funds for green energy. In Florida, three separate utilities are asking for electric rate increases: Tampa Electric is asking for a whopping 18%; Florida Power & Light (FPL) is asking for a $2 billion increase; and Duke Energy Florida is asking for a 3-4% rise in 2022, and 1% more in 2023 and 2024.
All of these proposed electric rate increases include paying for more green energy, yet for so long Americans have been told wind and solar are free. Um, no.
It isn’t just Florida residents who will be paying more in the near future. Michigan’s electric rates will jump 12%. New Mexico customers will see 9.2% bigger bills for the Sagamore wind project and its infrastructure. Dominion Energy in South Carolina is asking for 7.7% more and Louisville Gas and Electric is asking for 12%.
It's only a question of time before everyone will be paying more for their power, natural gas, and gasoline at the pump.
On top of these green-driven rate increases, Biden wants to also increase the corporate income tax, arguing companies will pay this and consumers will not.
This is simply dead wrong.
Americans enjoyed lower utility costs because of the corporate tax cut in 2017. There is a long list of utilities that passed their tax savings on to their customers or used the savings to offset planned rate increases.
When businesses save money because of a lower tax burden and lower utility rates, it’s a double win, because the savings are often passed along to consumers used to offset increased costs elsewhere. When a business saves money in one area, they can lower prices, increase investments, pay off debt, increase profits, pay their employees more and hire new workers.
Likewise, just as the tax savings of 2017 saw reduced electric rates or offset increases, increased taxes will have just the opposite effect. There will be more upward pressure on utilities and other businesses to increase their prices.
Everything goes up, not just utility bills. For instance, grocery stores are low margin businesses that make a profit of just 1 to 3%. They make their money from volume, after all everyone must eat. When a grocery store has to pay higher taxes and higher utility bills, (lights, refrigeration and freezer units, heat in winter and air conditioning in summer), they will pass these costs along to their customers.
When truckers have higher costs, they will pass them on to their customers, the food makers and grocery stores. They in turn will pass these increased costs to consumers.
When the food makers and grocery stores have to increase wages to a minimum of $15 dollars, they will also pass even more costs on to those that buy food.
Low-income people spend more of their budgets on food and utilities than middle income and wealthy people. Increasing gas, electric and food prices hurt the poor the most.
Single moms will then have to come up with more money to keep their families’ financial heads above water. That may mean a second or third job and more tough choices.
Does she now only fill her gas tank halfway in order to get to work or school, so that she doesn’t end up with more gas than food before the next paycheck? Or does she fall behind on her utility bills to put gas in her car or food on the table?
Covid, economic insecurity, and ever-increasing utility costs have hit hard. As of September, a million Florida customers were already in danger of losing their electricity. Nearly one million Pennsylvanians are behind on their utility bills, owing a collective $800 million, up 70% from a year earlier. In Wisconsin, they owed a collective $235 million on electric and gas, double from 2019.
Across the nation, low-income people, Latinos and Blacks often have suffered the most because of economic insecurity and Covid. Many were living on the edge and the pandemic pushed them off the cliff. These families owe thousands in gas, electric, water and sewer bills.
Raising taxes on companies -- especially during this fragile pandemic recovery -- is just tone-deaf bad policy. If the Democrats and Biden cared and listened to the art and science of economics, they would not be so quick to raise costs, taxes, and regulations on people at a time when the vulnerable are suffering the most.
Climate Envoy John Kerry or “Gulfstream Kerry,” after his private plane and who negotiated the Paris Accord, actually conceded whatever the US does, it will not matter. Because the rest of the world is increasing their emissions to supply themselves with low-cost, reliable abundant energy.
China just drilled the deepest oil well in Asia and is busy building and financing hundreds of coal plants in China, Asia, Africa and South America. Coal is the number one source of electricity worldwide, at almost 40% of all power.
Why should any single mom have to sacrifice when Gulfstream Kerry admits it won’t make any difference?
Putting environmental extremism over people will take America backward, and at the worst possible time.
Frank Lasee is a former Wisconsin state senator and former member of Governor Scott Walker’s administration. The district he represented had two nuclear power plants, a biomass plant and numerous wind towers. He has experience dealing with energy, the environment and the climate.