300-page “Manager’s Amendment to the 1,000-page Energy Tax bill” was at 3:00 in the morning. Not a single person had read the amendment when it was voted upon later that same evening.
So much for Obama’s vaunted transparency and his promise of “five days” for Americans to review each bill. Just as they did with the outrageous “Stimulus” package, Obama, Pelosi and the rest of the corruption-riddled Democrat Party jammed the most intrusive and un-Constitutional piece of legislation since the New Deal down the throats of the American taxpayer.
The climate bill’s passage was facilitated by a wild orgy that some called “an unrestrained exercise of raw political power, arm-twisting and intimidation.”
These tactics were necessary because if the American public had time to read and digest the bill, they would have marched on Washington with torches and pitchforks.
Consider some of the insane, Constitution-eradicating “features” of just the Waxman-Markey Energy Tax Manager’s Amendment, gleefully applauded by Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama upon its razor-thin passage.
• It creates massive new regulatory structures for all power generation and power transmission systems.
• It creates hundreds of new bureaucracies that benefit Obama’s contributors; for example, it creates a “Development Corporation for Renewable Power Borrowing Authority” that issues “Community Building Code Administration Grants” under a “Low Income Community Sustainable Development Capacity Grant Program”. This scam serves two purposes: it rewards failed housing programs like those run by Presidential Adviser Valerie Jarrett; it also provides yet another spigot of funds — in blocks of $1,000,000 — for groups like ACORN.
• It creates and regulates every building code in the country and will purposefully overrule any “city, county, parish, city and county authority, or city and parish authority having local authority to enforce building codes and regulations and to collect fees for building permits.”
• It reaches into every neighborhood by eradicating “any private covenant, contract provision, lease provision, homeowners’ association rule or bylaw, or similar restriction” to force localities to accept “green technologies” whether it fits in the neighorhood or not.
• It touches every aspect of water and sewer systems by regulating every “residential water efficient product or service”; ensuring those offerings are rated and forcing state government, local or county government, tribal government, wastewater or sewerage utility, municipal water authority, energy utility, water utility, or nonprofit organization to comply.
It creates revolving loan facilities for “Certified manufacturing clean energy facilities”, which provide $500 million blocks of taxpayer dough to promote green manufacturing. Of course, it does so using wages dictated by the Secretary of Labor under the Davis-Bacon Act, a New Deal-era payoff to the unions.
• It funds propaganda to ensure that generations of students are brainwashed to believe that carbon dioxide is a toxin. It directs the Secretary of Energy to issue grants to colleges and universities to “study consumer actions to conserve energy”, rate effectiveness of consumer education,** determine how best to regulate consumers, etc.
• It impacts civil aviation with new restrictions and regulations.
• It controls construction of all buildings, residential and non-residential alike, ensuring that every structure “complies with… energy efficiency requirements, standards, checklists or ratings systems…”
•** It mandates “Energy audits” to ensure that a “Green Gestapo” checks to ensure that homeowners and businesses aren’t bypassing regulations.
• Somehow, it also provides grants (welfare) for tenants in multi-family buildings.
• It defines “energy-efficient mortgages” (with our favorite GSEs, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, so what could possibly go wrong?) that** artificially boosts the income of the borrower based upon how much “green technology” is employed. In other words, the Democrats are socially engineering mortgage underwriting standards again, just as they did in the nineties, which will lead to yet another financial disaster.
• It also artificially raises maximum mortgage loan amounts based upon green improvements and can reduce down payment requirements.
• It will fund “tree planting organizations” (can’t you just smell the ACORN-scented fraud?), landscapers and others with taxpayer funds.
**• It creates new real estate appraisal processes, new training mandates for appraisers and, through an “Appraisal Subcommittee”, describes new standards for all real estate valuations based upon green considerations.**
• It creates an “Alternative Energy Sources State Loan Fund”, controlled by another presidential appointee (HUD), to loan money to states for alternative energy projects. Each state or Indian tribe is eligible to receive up to $500,000,000 of taxpayer dough.
• It creates “Green Banking Centers”, which mandates federal financial agencies and regulatory bodies to provide “green housing information” to anyone seeking a mortgage, a home improvement loan, a home equity loan, or similar products. A new, federal job role called “energy rater” will exist; and will be used to provide guidance and ensure compliance around energy efficiency.
• It will also require reporting by the GAO on “affordable mortgages”.
• It creates a “secondary market for residential renewable energy lease instruments” that will “encourage private investment in the green economy.” HUD will determine the residual value all “all renewable energy assets” in order to facilitate a secondary market.
• HUD will also “guarantee” the “green portion” of all mortgages issued under the guidelines, which will consist of as much as 10% of each mortgage.
• It empowers the Secretary of Agriculture to interfere with farming markets and processes to promote “green technologies”.
It defines trading systems of carbon offset credits, term offset credits, emission allowances, compensatory allowances, and similar “currencies” operated by new government-sponsored entities. These “carbon derivative markets” will support the taxation and monetization of all entities required to conform to the new rules.
• It affects every industry in America using “tonnage of production” measures; requiring each industry to calculate its “trade intensity” and “greenhouse gas intensity”. The administrators of the program will compare other countries emissions by industry (how those numbers are achieved aren’t spelled out) to U.S. industries in order to punish or reward companies on an industry basis.
• It will guide all treaty law with other countries, using measures such as “competitive imbalances that lead to carbon leakage” as trade levers.
• It will create — with the U.S. Customs Department — an “International Reserve Allowance Program” (IRAP) that will facilitate the trade, sale, purchase, exchange, transfer and banking of international reserve allowances. All material leaving and entering the country will engage with IRAP to ensure the equitable international balance of carbon leakage.
• It will create a “USDA Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction and Sequestration Advisory Committee” to oversee new regulation of farmlands.
• It will spend $150,000,000 on an “Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Worker Training Fund”, which will involve the Secretaries of Education, Housing and Labor, and appears to be a funnel of money flowing directly to union bosses.
• It will spend millions on a “Green Construction Careers Demonstration Project”, a boondoggle of the first order and another payoff to union bosses.
• It modifies the Earned Income Credit portion of the tax code, providing massive new welfare payments to the poor; and which adjusts for inflation.
• It moves these billions in new expenses into programs that govern every aspect of human life including, but not limited to, farming; fertilizers; animal husbandry and animal diets; feedstock; soil; land use (forested, cleared, wetlands, etc); “manure management”; and creates gigantic new government bureaucracies (unionized, of course) to regulate, monitor and control American citizens.
This bill was jammed through Congress by Democrats, sight unseen, using threats, favors, pork and payoffs without a whit of analysis as to what any of it might mean for the American economy or the citizenry.
We know it is anti-job, anti-business, anti-taxpayer and anti-prosperity. The only question is: just how much damage will it do?
Obama’s own words belied his claims. In January 2008, then Senator Obama bluntly said, “Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.”
Update: Buffett on Tax and Trade: “It’s a Huge, Regressive Tax”. Gee, I wonder what gave it away?