The Kool-Aid Congress

By Beacon Staff

Remember Jim Jones, the People’s Temple cult leader (and Communist) who convinced 900 of his followers to drink the Kool-Aid way back in 1978? Well, he’s got to be so proud of our new “people’s temple” … Congress. By a vote of 219 to 212, the U.S. House passed the so-called “American Clean Energy and Security Act,” sponsored by Henry Waxman (D-Hollywood) and Ed Markey (D-Mass).

The centerpiece of Waxman-Markey is a carbon “cap and trade” program. It would start in 2010 with a fixed number of “pollution permits.” By 2050, the total amount of carbon emissions permitted will be cut by 83 percent from today’s levels.

Like any suicide pact, the bill, all 1,200 glorious unread-as-usual pages including 300 pages of amendments released at 3 a.m. the morning of the vote, was an easy sell to the faithful. One shining example, according to ABC News, was the House leadership having pill-popping Congressman Patrick Kennedy (D-Mass.) “called […] out of rehab” to cast his vote.

Some yes votes needed a bit more sweetener. According to the New York Times, one favor stuffed in the 3 a.m. addition was $3.26 billion for an Ohio-specific revolving loan fund for renewable power, insisted upon by Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), who switched her vote to yes, along with 8 of 10 of her buckeyed colleagues.

Congress even had to buy off the power companies. During the 2008 Presidential campaign, Obama first declared carbon permits would be auctioned off at market price, with the revenue being redistributed in the form of $600 billion in “Make Work Pay” low-income tax credits. Obama’s bottom line, that “electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket” as a result, brought screams from the electric utilities.

So, as Bloomberg reported in May, Congress will instead make gifts of 85 percent of all carbon credits under the cap. Coal-power utilities got 35 percent of the freebies, which covers 90 percent of what they crank out. Who will take the hit for that last 10 percent? Customers!

Who will pay as the total number of carbon credits shrink and prices climb over time? Customers!

With their own necks safe from the guillotine, the Edison Electric lobby signed off.

How bad will this hurt you? Duke Energy promised one wishy-washy Ohio representative that power would only cost consumers 5-7 percent more. But Kansas City Power and Light, on the other hand, claims the Waxman-Markey regime will mean a 50 percent rate increase by 2012 and 70 percent more by 2020 … and goodness knows by 2050.

The Congress cultists didn’t care. An escape-clause amendment was introduced in committee that said if electricity went up over 100 percent then the deal was off. It was shot down. How about a five-year sunset clause, just in case this is all hooey? Shot down.

Even better, the evil oil companies will get only 2 percent for free. To cover the third of total emissions that are “their fault,” they’ll have to buy the rest at “market,” and as always, will pass the full cost on to you at the pump. Are you ready?

Wall Street sure is. As the Financial Times sniffed, the Congress is “keen to take the opportunities for gaming that cap and trade presents, and increase them tenfold.” Remember 10 years ago when Enron’s slimeballs were out front for “carbon credits?” D’ya want AIG’s geniuses to enjoy a second career of trashing the economy by trading carbon credits on commission? Sure.

Never mind that Reuters has reported that Al Gore is a partner in venture capital house Kleiner Perkins, which has invested $6 million in HARA, a San Francisco startup that will offer carbon-trading software. What a noble altruist Al is, right?

Waxman-Markey is not about “green jobs.” It’s not about the “saving the planet.” It’s about forcing America to commit economic and cultural suicide, all for the chimera of renamed-from-global-warming “climate change.”

Two-hundred-and-nineteen Congress cultists have deemed that the American way of life must die. If 60 senators and one president decide that, too, well, we’ll all be offered the Kool Aid on Election Day. I can’t wait to see who drinks it.