Myron Ebell

Of all the proposals in President Barack Obama's breathtakingly ambitious agenda to foster long-term economic decline, by far the biggest is the Waxman-Markey energy-rationing bill, which the House of Representatives passed with the narrowest of majorities late Friday evening. This bill by House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Beverly Hills) and Representative Edward Markey (D-Mass.) is more damaging than the $787 billion stimulus, the proposed huge increases in federal spending and corresponding increases in the national debt, the takeover of GM and Chrysler, and the proposed tax hikes on the wealthy - combined.

Enacting Waxman-Markey (H. R. 2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act) would almost certainly make America a second-rate economic power. However, the bill is full of ironies and amusing touches. Were it not a looming disaster, the whole situation would be hilarious.

The bill is supposed to be about saving us from global warming. Yet its supporters have stopped talking about global warming. This might be because global temperatures stopped rising a decade ago. More likely it's because the pollsters have told Democrats to shut up about global warming and green jobs. The new slogan: get America running on “clean energy.”

The bill’s advocates view it as merely a first step, as former Vice President Al Gore told “super-activists” (all 11,500 of “us”) on a conference call Tuesday night. It’s the biggest tax increase in the history of the world, the largest government intrusion in people's lives since the Second World War (which was the last time gasoline was rationed) and, at 1,201 pages, a whopper of a bill. Requiring that greenhouse gas emissions be reduced by 83 percent below 2005 levels by 2050 is just the beginning.

The reason given for why it has taken years to pass major climate legislation is the bajillion dollars spent by fat cat corporate special interests--Big Oil, King Coal, etc. But a major push behind Waxman-Markey is the United States Climate Partnership (USCAP), whose members include two dozen or so major corporations (including Duke Energy, Dow, GE, Shell, BP, Ford, GM, Alcoa, PG&E, Exelon, DuPont, PepsiCo, even Caterpillar) and some of the same environmental pressure groups that blame big business for stymieing energy-rationing legislation.

Myron Ebell

Myron Ebell is director of energy and global warming policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
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