- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 5, 2009

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

It is perhaps not surprising that our bicoastal urban elite are more likely to own cars made by foreign manufacturers while people in the heartland are more likely to own cars made by Detroit’s automakers. What astonishes me is that General Motors, Ford and Chrysler are promoting policies that will impoverish their customer base more than their foreign competitors’.

Detroit’s three automakers all belong to the U.S. Climate Partnership - a coalition of some of America’s biggest companies and several big environmental pressure groups - which actively supports the (Henry) Waxman-(Edward) Markey energy-rationing bill that the House of Representatives passed by a 219-212 vote late last month.

The bill, H.R. 2454, is designed to lower greenhouse gas emissions by raising energy prices for consumers and manufacturers nationwide. California, New York and New England already have higher gas prices and much higher electricity prices than do the heartland states. Their electric rates will go up if Waxman-Markey becomes law, but not nearly as much as in states that rely mostly on currently inexpensive coal-fired power. Those coal-powered states are concentrated in the Mideast and the South, where GM, Ford and Chrysler buyers are concentrated.

Thus, Detroit’s automakers support legislation that would make the majority of their customers much less financially able to buy their cars and trucks. Since most of Detroit’s production also is concentrated in these regions, the cost of their products also will go up as their factories’ electric bills skyrocket. In addition, now that the federal government owns major stakes in General Motors Corp. and Chrysler Group LLC, it is not even clear whether their lobbying for this colossal new indirect tax increase, which will make their products less affordable, is even legal.

MYRON EBELL

Director, energy and global warming policy

Competitive Enterprise Institute

Washington

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