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Congressman Tom McClintock

Representing the 4th District of California

Our Generation's Smoot-Hawley (Cap and Trade Legislation)

June 26, 2009

House Chamber, Washington, D.C.  June 26, 2009.  Madam Speaker:  When we discuss Herbert Hoover’s mishandling of the recession of 1929, the first thing that economists point to is the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act that imposed new taxes on over 20,000 imported products.

The Waxman-Markey Bill is our generation’s Smoot-Hawley.  It imposes new taxes on an infinitely larger number of domestic products on a scale that utterly dwarfs Smoot-Hawley. 

At least Hoover could argue that Smoot Hawley made domestic products more competitive with imports.  Waxman-Markey disadvantages American products.

When California adopted similar restrictions three years ago, we, too, were promised an explosion of green jobs.  Instead, California’s unemployment rate has skyrocketed to one of the highest in the country.

If this bill becomes law, I believe history guarantees us two things.

One: the planet will continue to warm and cool as it has been doing for billions of years. 

And two: Congress will have just delivered a staggering blow to our nation’s economy just at the moment when it’s the most vulnerable.     


See also Special Order Speech