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The commissars of cool

By Mark Alexander
web posted July 13, 2009

"Every new regulation concerning commerce or revenue; or in any manner affecting the value of the different species of property, presents a new harvest to those who watch the change and can trace its consequences; a harvest reared not by themselves but by the toils and cares of the great body of their fellow citizens." --Federalist No. 62

Recently, scores of Americans were mesmerized by an event they believed would have consequences of epic proportions for the nation. No, I'm not referring to the passage of the colossal CO2 "cap and trade" legislation, but the mainstream media’s endless and equally mindless tributes to, um, well I can't recall his name but I think he was a black artiste who somehow morphed into a white performer -- but then, hybrids are all the rage these days.

Meanwhile, as the masses slumbered, the House passed H.R. 2454, the Waxman-Markey version of Barack Hussein Obama's Orwellian legislation to regulate and tax CO2 -- a gas byproduct of cellular synthesis and industrial output, ostensibly responsible for global climate change. The measure, all 310 pages of it, passed by a narrow vote of 219-212. Some 44 Democrats voted against the legislation, but eight Republicans voted for it, giving Obama the first leg of a cap-n-tax victory.

The two most invasive means our central government has at its disposal to control American lives and livelihoods are taxation and regulation, and this bill is a double header. It authorizes Obama's government to collect substantial new taxes and to exercise unprecedented economic control via new environmental regulations, all against a backdrop of the worst economic decline since Jimmy Carter was at the helm. (Fortunately Ronald Reagan implemented the right formula for economic recovery -- Obama's "solution" is Carter's formula.)

Barack ObamaAfter the bill's passage, Obama trotted out this whopper: "Thanks to members of Congress who were willing to place America's progress before the usual Washington politics, this bill will create new businesses, new industries, and millions of new jobs, all without imposing untenable new burdens on the American people or America's businesses."

Of course, that depends on what the definition of "untenable" is. In January 2008, Obama proclaimed, "[U]nder my plan of a cap and trade [sic] system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket ... because I'm capping greenhouse gases, coal power plants, natural gas ... you name it ... whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was, they would have to retrofit their operations. That will cost money. ... [T]hey will pass that money on to the consumers."

Sidebar: Anyone interested in retaining what remains of the legacy of liberty bequeathed to us by our Founders might take pause to consider what Obama meant by "you name it," since you and everyone you know are emitters of CO2. Think about it: An American president is regulating and taxing carbon dioxide, the very thing we exhale, and the very thing that green plants on this planet use to generate the oxygen which sustains us.

Cap-n-tax requires American manufacturers to reduce by 2020 carbon dioxide and other "greenhouse" gases by 17 percent from their 2005 emission levels. Even more egregiously, it requires an 80 percent cut by 2050. Industries would be "allocated" government permits specifying allowances for these gases. About 15 percent of these permits would be auctioned to the highest bidders and the resulting revenues would be transferred to offset energy expenses for Obama's low-income constituents.

And you thought the U.S. Tax Code was convoluted?

Now, if you're still under the illusion that Waxman's Malarkey is about saving the planet, you're either: A) a card-carrying member of Obama's sycophantic socialists; B) a true-believing disciple of AlGore's eco-theology; or C) too distracted by coverage of that chameleon-guy's funeral.

Here, at least the socialists are intellectually honest about their objectives. Albert Arnold Gore's minions, on the other hand, are still hooked on phony assumptions about the relationship between CO2 and climate change -- as if our planet's climate is supposed to remain utterly unchanged for all time. (Of course, Gore's objectives are the same as Obama's.)

However, the climate debate (yes, there is one) is far from over.

It is not for me to suggest that the extremely complex ecology of our planet -- its trillions of organisms and ecosystems and its interaction with the Sun -- is beyond the scope of what human scientists can understand so conclusively as to project how the restriction of one small contributory element, among all environmental influences, will affect our climate 100 years from now. After all, my advanced degrees are limited to psychology and public affairs.

Instead, you can read what some of the planets most renowned scientists have to say about climate change in "Global Warming: Fact, Fiction and Political Endgame" (update coming soon).

Or start with an open letter to Congress delivered earlier this month, from academicians including Princeton physicists Will Happer and Robert Austin, and climatologist Richard Lindzen of MIT, in which they insist, "The sky is not falling ... the Earth has been cooling for 10 years [a trend that] was not predicted by the alarmists' computer models, and has come as an embarrassment to them."

Heritage Foundation Senior Policy Analyst Ben Lieberman aptly sums up the current state of climate change hysteria. "Both the seriousness and imminence of anthropogenic global warming has been overstated. [H.R. 2454] would have a trivial impact on future concentrations of greenhouse gases. ...[It is projected to] reduce the earth's future temperature by 0.1 to 0.2 degree C by 2100, an amount too small to even notice." (For the record, it would do this at an average annual cost of $2,979 per family of four. So much for Obama's pledge not to raise our taxes.)

A recent MIT study likewise concludes, "The different U.S. policies have relatively small effects on the CO2 concentration if other regions do not follow the U.S. lead. ... The Developed Only scenario cuts only about 0.5 °C of the warming from the reference, again illustrating the importance of developing country participation."

Two of the biggest producers of CO2, China and India, will continue industrial production unencumbered by this self-mutilating sham. Indeed, EPA administrator Lisa Jackson confessed in a Senate hearing this week, "I believe that ... U.S. action alone will not impact CO2 levels."

As former House Speaker Newt Gingrich explains, "The sponsors of Waxman-Markey are telling Americans that not only will the legislation save us from calamitous climate change, it will also produce new jobs and new prosperity by transitioning America to new forms of 'green' energy. In other words, there's no trade-off necessary to save the planet; no price to be paid. It's a win-win-win. Right. And 2+2=5. The reality is that the bill before the House today imposes what could be the largest tax increase in history on the American people. And every single one of us who heats a home, drives a car, and manufactures or consumes products made in America will pay the price."

Of course, Gingrich could be wrong. Obama's cap-n-tax plan could be as economically successful as his "stimulus" package. Oh, wait, that hasn't produced a single private sector job -- and the ranks of the unemployed have still soared. But maybe it "saved" some jobs that might have been cut, and it has certainly funded countless marginal government jobs occupied by the marginally employable in order to swell the ranks of government unions -- the Left's permanent constituency.

And at the expense of incomprehensible deficit accumulation that exceeds all previous presidents combined -- but I digress.

Cap-n-tax is nothing more than a well-executed piece of Obama's socialist playbook, which seeks to ratify central government administration of the economy by way of regulation and taxation.

This unbearable piece of legislation is now on its way to the Senate, where Obama has a filibuster-proof majority with the arrival of that "clown from Minnesota." It is likely to face opposition from some centrist Democrats, but, regretfully, there are still enough wayward Republicans left in the Senate to give Obama a victory.

Here, I would challenge the members of that august body to find anything in our Constitution's prescription for Rule of Law authorizing the central government to administer any and all elements of commerce that produce some amount of CO2. But then, who pays homage to the credence of that venerable old document, other than the 65 or 70 million modern-day Patriots standing at the ready to restore constitutional Rule of Law?

Next up -- ObamaCare -- and you thought cap-n-tax was bad. Again, I'm quite sure that there isn't a word in our Constitution authorizing the central government to administer healthcare, but then... ESR

Mark Alexander is the executive editor of the Patriot Post.

 

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