It’s hard to say whether the Waxman-Markey global warming bill that will soon be debated and voted on in the House is the most intellectually- and morally-corrupt bill ever seriously considered by Congress. But I’d bet that there are 433 congressmen who are glad that this legislative atrocity is not named after them.
After years of fierce battling by greens and global warming skeptics, few Americans seem to buy into the bill’s premise — that manmade emissions of carbon dioxide are causing the planet to run a fever, as Al Gore is fond of saying. Just this week, a public relations firm advising House Democrats recommended that the notion of “global warming” be dropped as a primary message since “almost no one in our focus groups expressed such concern.”
So despite all the frantic global warming alarmism — and the vicious likening of skeptics to Holocaust-deniers by Gore and the legions of green fanatics in activist groups, the media, industry and government — the out-manned and out-gunned skeptics have largely succeeded in being heard by Americans.
Ironically, the wild claims of Gore and the greens may have actually damaged the “green” brand. The PR firm also advised dropping the term “green” since it has become “meaningless or confusing” in focus group-testing.
Though stripped of its intellectual pretense, Waxman-Markey nevertheless soldiers on to House debate and vote. How this has come to pass must be one of the great tragicomedies of American political history.
To compel Congress and industry to work together toward the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade regime, President Obama threatened both with EPA regulation of carbon dioxide, a move that would prevent Congress from reaping the political benefits of doling out $9 trillion worth of taxpayer funds to certain industries and special interest groups between 2012 and 2050. President Obama moved a step toward making good on this threat by ordering the EPA to declare carbon dioxide — what humans exhale and what plants need to grow — a threat to the public welfare.
Apparently even President Obama’s staff was somewhat embarrassed about that move. Obama climate czar Carol Browner ordered a “vow of silence” and issued an edict to “put nothing in writing ever” concerning White House staff deliberations on the matter.
When House Republicans Darrell Issa and James Sensenbrenner called for an investigation into Browner’s potentially “deliberate and willful violation” of the Presidential Records Act, Rep. Henry Waxman got Issa and Sensenbrenner to drop the subject with vague promises to “monitor the situation” and to “potentially” hold a hearing. None of Waxman supposed promises will be implemented before the House debate and vote on Waxman-Markey.
Competing for most-appalling character in the Waxman-Markey saga is Rep. Ed Markey. Immediately after the head of Warren Buffet’s electric utility unit testified against Waxman-Markey’s cap-and-trade provision, Markey fired off a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) specifically requesting that Buffet’s utility be investigated. After being rebuked by House Republicans for this blatant intimidation, Markey then asked FERC to expand the requested investigation to all investor-owned utilities, rather than appearing to single out Buffet’s. Now all utilities are under operating with a Markey-pointed gun to their heads.
Although many businesses have been coerced into supporting Waxman-Markey, much of big business has actively pushed for the bill. Many Wall Street banks hope to profit from the trading of the $9 trillion in emissions allowances to be created under Waxman-Markey. Goldman Sachs would be the preeminent global warming bookie as it owns the exchanges where carbon allowances would be traded.
General Electric, whose CEO sits on Barack Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board, was instrumental in putting together the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), a bizarre big business-environmental activist group lobbying consortium that is a primary driver of global warming legislation. USCAP has even taken credit for drafting parts of Waxman-Markey. GE, it seems, would like a federal law requiring electric utilities buy the wind turbines and other energy technologies manufactured by — guess who — GE.
Republican James Sensenbrenner recently asked the Department of Justice to investigate USCAP members General Motors and Chrysler for illegally using taxpayer bailout money to lobby for global warming legislation. AIG, the insurance giant that is now a ward of U.S. taxpayers, only dropped out of USCAP after Rep. Joe Barton pointed out the illegality of accepting federal money and then using it to lobby the federal government.
And then there’s Al Gore, who stands to become the first “carbon billionaire” through his partnership in the venture capital firm of Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers and the UK-based investment firm of Generation Investment Management. When Gore testified in favor of global warming legislation before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in January, he failed to disclose his personal financial interests and no Senator came close to asking him about them.
When he testified in April before the House Energy and Environment Subcommittee in favor of Waxman-Markey, Gore again failed to disclose his conflicts-of-interest. When Reps. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Steve Scalise (R-LA) probed into these matters, Gore feigned ignorance and pretended that he would not personally benefit from Waxman-Markey. Although Rep. Waxman made baseball players testify under oath to Congress about the comparatively petty issue of drug use in baseball, he did not subject Gore to penalty for perjury.
In addition to Waxman-Markey’s $9 trillion wealth transfer from taxpayers to special interest groups, the Brookings Institution also estimates that Americans will lose $2 trillion (present value) in purchasing power between 2010-2050. Al Gore dubiously counters that the per household cost of Waxman-Markey is about the value of a postage stamp per day.
But even that’s too much for a bill that will accomplish nothing for the environment while simultaneously making a mockery of our system of government.
Steven Milloy publishes JunkScience.com and is the author of the Amazon.com bestseller, Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Control your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them.