On Fox & Friends Thursday morning, hate-radio and right-wing television personality Bill O’Reilly argued that clean energy legislation is a “cap and con” on behalf of “fat cat corporations.” He singled out General Electric — parent of MSNBC — and Goldman Sachs for his outrage against the carbon cap-and-trade market that is part of the Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security Act. O’Reilly continued to question the science of climate change, claiming only “the deity” knows why the planet is getting hotter:
Nobody knows why the earth is warming except the deity, so I’ll leave it to him or her, okay? But once you get into a system whereby the American worker is going to get hurt and the fat cat corporations are going to make money, and it’s not going to make much of a difference to the earth’s atmosphere, then you have to say, “This is not good!”
In reality, the effect of burning billions of tons of fossil fuels on our atmosphere is unequivocal, and only rapid and concerted action by the United States will prevent planetwide catastrophe. The United States is both the greatest emitter of greenhouse gases, and the only major nation not to have ratified the Kyoto Protocol. And as the European Union has proven, a carbon cap-and-trade system is an effective means for ensuring real reductions in greenhouse gases while securing the economy.
O’Reilly, who makes $10 million a year from the multinational News Corporation conglomerate, is probably not the most reliable advocate for the “little guy.” Organizations and activists not beholden to ExxonMobil or the corporate right, however, from the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities to the NAACP, from the AFL-CIO to the League of Women Voters, support strong climate action. Our pollution-based economy hurts the “little guy” to the benefit of “fat cat corporations,” and clean energy reform is a critical step to redressing that injustice. And as venture capitalist John Doerr testified yesterday, only by joining the rest of the world with a plan to tackle this threat will U.S. workers have a shot in the 21st century economy.
O’Reilly concluded that he would be “stunned” if the bill “gets through the Senate,” because “you’re going to be able to, in the next election, hold these people accountable.” If the American public believes his lies, then he may be right.
CARLSON: President Obama campaigned on the promise of change, but with an energy bill that threatens to cripple American business and a tax on the rich for health care as well, is President Obama delivering the wrong kind of change?
MORRIS: Joining us on is phone is the culture warrior himself, on Fox and Friends this morning, Bill O’Reilly. good morning. So who’s going to profit the most from this climate bill?
O’REILLY: On Monday we broke a fairly significant story that the Obama administration would like you not to know. And that is that the cap and trade situation that they would like to pass into law really isn’t going to do much for global warming. Number one, because India, China, and Mexico won’t participate. And, number two, because you basically have a system which is going to be gamed by big corporations like Goldman Sachs, General Electric. They’ve already bought into companies that are going to do the trades, and on each trade they’ll get a commission.
So Goldman Sachs, for example, paid zero, nothing to the federal government in corporate tax last year, 2008. They made two billion dollars. Where’s Goldman Sachs when it comes to health care? Nothing, zero. They don’t pay in. Okay. So it becomes a con. It’s cap and con. Once you get this into law, the prices for everything are going to go up. Because the companies that have to pay more to admit are going to pass that on to the consumer, so the consumer pays more for electricity, for power in every sense, to heat their home, cool their home, everything, manufacturing, everything goes up. But Goldman Sachs, they make hundreds of millions of dollars, and they’re not paying any taxes. So I’m saying is this change I can believe in? The little guy gets hosed, but the big corporation gets richer? Come on.
DOOCEY: Good point. And you make a good point about India and Mexico and China still able to pump that gunk, whatever it is, into the atmosphere, so whatever we do could completely be marginalized. But do we even know, Bill, whether or not these carbon credits actually can do anything? I mean, it’s an exchange of money . . .
O’REILLY: There have been studies that say they’ll do a little bit. They’ve tried it in Spain and things like that. Look. I think most Americans want a cleaner country and a cleaner planet, all right?
O’REILLY: All right. There are some hard core right-wingers who don’t believe in global warming even though the temperature shows that the earth has warmed in the last 30 years, three times faster than the previous hundred. That’s in stone. You don’t debate that. But there are people that say it’s a big con, nuh nuh nuh nuh.
Nobody knows why the earth is warming except the deity, so I’ll leave it to him or her, okay?
But once you get into a system whereby the American worker is going to get hurt and the fat cat corporations are going to make money, and it’s not going to make much of a difference to the earth’s atmosphere, then you have to say, “This is not good!”
So I think that the American people are catching on to this, I think . . . I know they’ve caught on to the cap and con. I know that, and I don’t expect that to get passed, by the way. The health care is much more complicated, but we can do it, but we have to do it smart.
CARLSON: All right, well it passed the House after Michael Jackson died, so we’ll have to see what the Senate does with cap and trade as well as health care.
O’REILLY: Yeah, I know it passed the House. But it’s not going get through the Senate. I would be stunned if it does. Because, uh, then you’re going to be able to, in the next election, hold these people accountable.