Monday, July 26, 2010

Cap-and-trade bill would make housing less affordable

From Wendell Cox and Ronald Utt of The Wall Street Journal on July 21:
In addition to the devastating economic effects of cap and trade, the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act (S. 1733)—introduced by Senators John Kerry (D–MA) and Joseph Lieberman (I–CT)—would likely lead to the same conditions that caused the housing bubble of a few years ago.
It would do this by providing financial incentives to the federally funded metropolitan planning organizations to shift transportation resources and passengers away from automobiles to public transit and forms of non-motorized transportation such as walking and bicycles. The bill further suggests that these be accomplished through "zoning and other land use regulations" that lead to a more crowded living environment. In turn, these communities of higher population density would be more amenable to forms of transportation common in the decades prior to the invention of the internal combustion engine.

The purpose behind the Senators' attempt to foster archaic living and travel arrangements (often called "smart growth") is the belief that this would lead to lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. As it turns out, there is scant evidence to suggest that this would be the consequence of such a strategy, and what evidence there is indicates that the Senators are proposing that Americans trade an empty gesture on the environment for a program that would contribute to restoring house prices to the unaffordable levels reached in 2006–2007.


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