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Energy Insanity and Border Insecurity

Heritage has the answers on energy and border security problems.

Cap and Trade Energy Insanity

Cap and trade is a system that caps the amount of carbon dioxide and requires energy producers to buy permits for this limited output. The permit price is passed on to consumers in higher energy costs. Its essentially a complicated, hidden tax designed to force people to stop using energy in order to prevent the supposed disastrous effects of global warming.

And what would be the consequences of such a tax? Less income, more government, and fewer jobs. Because higher energy costs kill profits in energy-intensive industries, those firms have to lay off workersand not just a handful. Heritage research found that if it had passed, last years Senate cap-and-trade bill would have destroyed over 3 million jobs in the manufacturing sector alone.

But it gets worse. The national GDP loss under that bill would have been $5 trillion over the first 20 years. For comparison, this is equivalent to the damage caused by more than 600 hurricanes!

While scientists do estimate that this cap-and-trade scheme would lower the earths temperature a few tenths of a degree Celsius, this meager temperature change is hardly worth the economic catastrophe that the policy would cause.

Border Insecurity

Drug cartels and gangs are rampant in Mexico, and the risk they pose to the United States is more than you think. The terrorists rampaging in Mexico today are members of drug cartels and transnational gangs who are fighting to control the smuggling corridors that carry people, guns, money, and drugs into the United States.

Local law enforcement in border towns is overwhelmedcrime has increased and local law enforcement needs help to combat the escalation in crime. The smuggling business is a $25 billion per year business, and almost every type of drug including marijuana and cocaine is on the rise. To make matters worse, border jails are overcrowded with illegal immigrants. Harris County outside of Houston was shipping over 600 inmates per month out of state because they could not house them all in 2008.

Heritages solution to our border security problems:

1) Deploy technologies, infrastructure and manpower at the right place to do the right thing at the right time. Right now local law enforcement simply does not have equivalent armor to match the weaponry and technologies being used by drug cartels, and they are overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of criminals coming into the U.S. Additional investments in these areas should be made on the basis of needs as determined by the Department of Homeland Security, and not Congressional politics.

2) Work to help Mexico tackle the drug cartels and facilitate economic development in Mexico and Central America. President Barack Obama needs to support the Merida Initiative, which helps train Mexican law enforcement to fight back against the drug cartels. And President Obama must carry on NAFTA and other free trade initiatives that make Mexicans and Americans more prosperous.

3) Make Border Security a team effort that brings together the federal, state and local governments, as well as private citizens. No single organization will beat this problem alonea coordinated effort that utilizes all resources is necessary.

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