Sunday, June 28, 2009

Radical Environmentalism – Congress Gets Radical (Part 6)

I decided to buy a new house yesterday. Normally, I would research houses and neighborhoods and make sure that I purchased one in an area that had the potential for a good living environment and increasing value. And I would typically go look at the house first – you know, walk around inside it and make sure that it was in good shape and was the style that my family wanted. But instead, I just picked up the housing section of the paper, picked one out, and made a call to my realtor with the instructions to buy it. No big deal.

Okay, okay – so that’s not true. But before you make a judgment about how stupid and unlikely such a decision would be, consider this - two-hundred and nineteen Congressman did something even more radical than that, with consequences far more reaching.

The Waxman-Markey energy bill made its way through the House of Representatives this week, by a vote of 219-212. Investors Business Daily called it an anti-stimulus package that in the name of saving the earth will destroy the American economy”. I won’t go into many details about it here, except to say that it will 1) likely cost each taxpayer hundreds or thousands of additional dollars each year through a new energy tax, 2) create new “green” jobs, but will likely kill twice as many “non-green” jobs at the same time, as has happened in Spain through similar legislation, and 3) will cause America to become more uncompetitive in the global marketplace by hamstringing our industries who use energy to create things. You would think the federal government might learn a lesson or two from the budget crisis going on in California – a state which leads the nation in economy-stunting environmental legislation (and home of the bill’s sponsor Henry Waxman). And at a time when the government has essentially taken over the US auto industry, they should be aware how such a bill will further cripple our chances of competing with other countries who haven’t adopted such severe energy restrictions. Hmmm, maybe the government isn’t very good at running a successful corporation after all.

But the real travesty is that Congress didn’t even read the whole bill before they voted on it. When the original bill came out of the House committee, it was right at 1,000 pages. Earlier this week, the House added another 201 pages – post-committee approval – to the whole thing. And then, the night before the vote, the Rules Committee added another 300 pages to the overall bill. Henry Waxman slapped the 300 pages down on the podium and called for a vote the very next day.

Does that sound like responsible government? Should we just roll over and assume that our Congressman have our best interest in mind when they wrote the 300-page amendment? The consequences of this bill are far-reaching, both to individual pocketbooks and to our overall national economic health. Shouldn’t we expect there to be time for both study and individual opinions to be heard?

You see, except for the voting process, we individuals have been effectively removed from our government. There was a time when federalism (state’s rights) overshadowed the national government. Individuals could influence their local government, who would then instruct their national representatives exactly how to vote. It’s true! See this previous article for examples of US representatives who quit their job in Congress because they were in conflict with how they were being told to vote by their constituents.

Did we get a chance to read the energy bill and advise our representatives on how we want them to vote? There was no time for that. Most of our federal representatives now get themselves elected to office, and then abandon us. We are no longer involved in the process. Their motivation is to 1) please their party leaders, and 2) get re-elected. How could we not be given the time to read the 300-page amendment before going to a vote? How could our representatives vote on it without reading it? Is it any different than my example of buying a house without researching it? It is different in the aspect that the consequences of what Congress did are much greater. I can always put an unwanted house up for sale and get something out of it. Can Congress do the same with our economy once they wreck it and send our wealth and prosperity to China and India?

I am exceptionally angry at the folly of our government. I want to completely disconnect from these dishonest, selfish, deceptive men and women who are driving our nation into decadence and poverty. Part of me is ready to board the next Mayflower and sail away to a distant island where we can start over with the sane, Christian principles that our founding fathers adopted. Does anyone want to go with me?


P.S. - If you’d like to do something about the climate change bill, please write your US Senators and ask them to read the bill…and then vote against it. The bill is not yet made law, and it will have a much tougher time making it through the Senate. But we need to make sure that it doesn’t see the light of day to cripple our economy. Tell them to vote “No” on the bill, or else you’ll vote that way when their name comes up for re-election. Here are some tips on how to write a short, meaningful note to a Congressman or Senator. The bill number you should reference is “H.R. 2998”.

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