Sept. 21, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Why the Business Community Is Wary of Cap-and-Trade: a View From Virginia

This also gets us back to the initial concern about emerging countries such as China and India not participating in a similar system. Because we have seen literally millions of U.S. jobs move to foreign countries — largely because of lower wages and operating costs — the House-passed plan will lead to more job losses in the manufacturing sector. The U.S. already has much tougher environmental, safety and tort laws than those of competing countries. Passing the House-backed plan would create an even more unlevel playing field in the manufacturing sector.This is a global problem that requires a global solution. China alone is scheduled to build so many new coal plants in the next few years that it will more than offset progress in the U.S. Once we pass legislation, we will have surrendered our leverage to bargain effectively to create a truly international solution to the issue. In the meantime, energy prices will increase across the board, which will bring about a higher cost for goods and services throughout the economy. This will fundamentally change Americans’ quality of life. Economists have also pointed out that passing along the increased energy costs is highly regressive and will disproportionately affect our nation’s most vulnerable citizens. The bottom line is that poor people — and even unemployed people — still need to drive cars and pay electric bills.Rather than hastily passing a bill that penalizes American businesses and citizens, let’s work toward an outcome that addresses the issue without costing our country more lost jobs and lowering our standard of living.Joseph C. Farrell served as the chairman, president and CEO of the Pittston Co. (now the Brink’s Co.) from 1991 to 1998, a Fortune 500 coal, mineral products, transportation and security services firm headquartered in Richmond, Va.

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