First Establish the Bureaucracy, THEN Raise Costs

We have seen lots of good commentary over the last few days on Waxman-Markey shedding light on the political nature of the legislation: Sponsors of H.R. 2454 doled out political and economic favors to win passage of the legislation, postponing real pain and dislocation until the cap-and-command-and-control bureaucracy has a chance to establish itself.

Today’s Wall Street Journal editorial, “The Carbonated Congress,” contends:

The real story is what Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House baron Henry Waxman and the President himself had to concede to secure even that eyelash margin among the House’s liberal majority. Not even Tom DeLay would have imagined the extravaganza of log-rolling, vote-buying, outright corporate bribes, side deals, subsidies and policy loopholes. Every green goal, even taken on its own terms, was watered down or given up for the sake of political rents.

But judge for yourself. Here’s the 1,428 page bill as passed by the House. We’d encourage a close reading of the bill, or at least a word search or two. For example, searching for the word “volunteer” we came to the major section on federal tree-planting programs. Hadn’t read anything about it, but Section 205 (starting page 393) declares: “The purpose of this section is to establish a grant program to assist retail power providers with the establishment and operation of targeted tree planting programs in residential and small office settings.”

Stipulated, planting trees is a good thing, generally. (Not always, as the history of salt cedars teaches us.) But one doubts an expanded federal planning role the best way to accomplish this goal. Page 394:

The term ‘‘tree-siting guidelines’’ means a comprehensive list of science-based measurements outlining the species and minimum distance required between trees planted pursuant to this section, in addition to the minimum required distance to be maintained between such trees and—

(A) building foundations;
(B) air conditioning units;
(C) driveways and walkways;
(D) property fences;
(E) preexisting utility infrastructure;
(F) septic systems;
(G) swimming pools; and
(H) other infrastructure as deemed appropriate.

You’ll need federal oversight personnel to make sure the trees are the correct four meters back or whatever the “scientific” distance is. Enforcement authority will be required to ensure that the (already demonized) utilities aren’t cheating the public. And political appointees will ensure the dollars go to the correct volunteer organizations, the ones aligned with the legislation’s larger goals.

Just one example of the many items included in Waxman-Markey the public is probably unaware of. But then, it’s doubtful most of the members of the House know about it, either.

Read the bill!

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