On February 10, 2009, Congressman Mark Kirk appeared on the Roe Conn show on WLS in Chicago. He began expressing this same concern about where we were going to get the money. Kirk mentioned several fairly incredible figures in the interview. First and foremost, the amount of total money we are looking to borrow is six times the amount we've ever borrowed in one year ever before.
Almost more disturbing is the actual volume of borrowing we are going to need to pull off as a country. Kirk explained that a substantial amount of the government's debt issuances are a very short-term variety, only four weeks. This necessitates that the government actually borrow substantially more than initially necessary, since it will auction a new short-term security to pay off a previous one, similar to someone paying off one credit card by taking out another one. His estimate in regard to this process was that the country was going to need to average borrowing $150 billion every week for 52 weeks. Now, this works out to something on the line of $7.8 trillion, so I, as did Roe Conn, thought this number fairly dubious. However, when pressed, Kirk explained that it was due to that short-term nature of most government debt.
Mark Kirk was on that radio interview looking out for the American people, discussing the unfathomable debt to be unleashed upon us by the people who claim to represent us. He went on to vote against the stimulus. Fast forward to the afternoon of June 26, 2009, merely four months later, with the vote for the largest tax increase ever seen ready to take place in the House of Representatives. The tax increase imposed by the Waxman-Markey "clean energy bill" is regressive, affecting the lowest income earners most egregiously, as it looks to nearly double electricity prices, and to increase natural gas and gasoline by over 50%. To even get the bill out of committee and onto the floor for a vote, 85% of the money received had to be allocated to special interest groups. This means that for the estimated $5.7 trillion the bill could take in over the next 15 years (give or take), less than 1 trillion will even be available to be utilized by the federal government for anything useful. In the meantime, the bill leaves you and me holding the bag.
What are those costs? According to the analysis we conducted at The Heritage Foundation, which is attached to my written statement, the higher energy costs kick in as soon as the bill's provisions take effect in 2012. For a household of four, energy costs go up $436 that year, and they eventually reach $1,241 in 2035 and average $829 annually over that span. Electricity costs go up 90 percent by 2035, gasoline by 58 percent, and natural gas by 55 percent by 2035. The cumulative higher energy costs for a family of four by then will be nearly $20,000.
But direct energy costs are only part of the consumer impact. Nearly everything goes up, since higher energy costs raise production costs. If you look at the total cost of Waxman-Markey, it works out to an average of $2,979 annually from 2012-2035 for a household of four. By 2035 alone, the total cost is over $4,600.
Beyond the cost impact on individuals and households, Waxman-Markey also affects employment, and especially employment in the manufacturing sector. We estimate job losses averaging 1,145,000 at any given time from 2012-2035. And note that those are net job losses, after the much-hyped green jobs are taken into account. Some of the lost jobs will be destroyed entirely, while others will be outsourced to nations like China and India that have repeatedly stated that they'll never hamper their own economic growth with energy-cost boosting global warming measures like Waxman-Markey.
So, facing down a bill that can only be described as exponentially more destructive to the American people than was the "stimulus," one would have imagined a man like Mark Kirk to be one of the leading voices in speaking out against the travesty of Waxman-Markey. Instead, with the vote looming close, and Democrats defecting in droves, we find ourselves looking at a list of eight Republican representatives voting for the bill, and none more emblazoned on my mind than Mark Kirk.
Kirk's vote comes six months after his interview with Politico where he indicated his strong consideration of running for President Obama's former Senate seat, citing his desire to see a special election for the seat, given the corruption surrounding the governor's office.
“At this point, everyone is tainted. In order to restore the trust of the people of Illinois in their representatives, this decision should not be made by people connected to a corrupt government,” said Kirk.
“We should return this seat to the people who own it — not the corrupt government. In this state, trust has been broken between the state of Illinois and its people.”
There is no question that it is President Obama's agenda to grow our government. From the standpoint of rhetoric of policy, Obama has made "climate change" a major issue. In that respect, Waxman-Markey is a major step forward for him. With an eye toward his former Senate seat, it appears Mark Kirk has voted for the bill to garner the President's favor, in hopes to earn his future endorsement.
Moving beyond the rhetoric, and dealing in reality, there is no question that the Waxman-Markey bill is the largest power grab and move toward more stringent central economic planning by the federal government we have seen in our lifetime, furthering President Obama's true agenda. It is at such a time as this that the people of Illinois, and every other state, deserve the opportunity to trust their representatives. Unfortunately, Chicago politics has captured the national stage. One does not play if one does not pay. Apparently over the last six months, Mark Kirk has gotten this message loud and clear.
At this point, everyone is tainted.