Attack of the Energy-Rationers

Whomever is elected tomorrow will face — and probably support — the next enviro-whacko catastrophe, the Dingell-Boucher bill. If you liked McCain’s global warming bill, you’ll just love this.  

Dingell-Boucher — i.e., Energy and Commerce Committee chairman John Dingell (D-Mich.) and subcommittee chairman Rick Boucher (D-Va.) — call McCain’s bet on “cap-and-trade” and raise his energy tax.  And worse.  

In the face of a sustained global cooling trend, Al Gore is spending $300 million — received from whom, he will not say — in a re-branding campaign to convince you of a “climate crisis.”

The point of all of these machinations? In October, amid media absorption with the financial crisis, economic woes and electoral horse-racing, congressional Democrats circulated the draft legislation representing their agenda for next year. Now that it’s out there, expect claims to a mandate for such monstrosity. After all, they made clear their plans and are about to be given a bigger majority.

This was the “Dingell-Boucher” bill, a 461-page beast nearly as big, and likely far more expensive, than the recently-passed $700 billion bailout bill. Here is a quick summary of what you face, either in a lame-duck congressional session, or early next year.

First, this imposes an energy tax in the form of creating artificial scarcity in something that is today free — emissions of the odorless, colorless benign gas necessary for photosynthesis called carbon dioxide. You will now need a permit for it, when the CO2 is emitted from producing or using energy.

The draft bill offers a moving target in that it casts four possible formulas for how many of the ration coupons which it makes necessary are sold, and how many are given away to the “rent-seeking” industry coalition pushing for these goodies.

This matters little to you, the consumer and ratepayer, in that you pay increased costs either way. Europe’s failed experiment proves this beyond any doubt. The only tweak is how much of this energy tax goes into private pockets and how much goes to the state.

We know the tax will be big, however it is distributed, because the state’s take has to be large enough to support eleven different funds the bill creates in the U.S. Treasury. Take a look at Section 731, “Auction proceeds”:

‘‘(a) FUNDS ESTABLISHED. — There are established in the Treasury of the United States the following funds:
‘‘(1) The Climate Change Management Fund.
‘‘(2) The National Energy Efficiency Fund.
‘‘(3) The Low Income Consumer Climate Change Rebate Fund.
‘‘(4) The Consumer Climate Change Rebate Fund.
‘‘(5) The Supplemental Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund.
‘‘(6) The Low-Carbon Technology Fund.
‘‘(7) The Green Jobs Fund.
‘‘(8) The National Climate Change Adaptation Fund.
‘‘(9) The Natural Resource Climate Change Adaptation Fund.
‘‘(10) The International Clean Technology and Adaptation Fund.
‘‘(11) The Strategic Reserve Fund.

That “Green Jobs Fund” pays for absurdities such as the “Energy Efficiency Engineers Apprenticeship”, a two-year program to, as Sen. Obama put it in a speech earlier this year, “hire young people who don’t have a trade and give them a trade making homes more energy efficient, insulating homes, changing light bulbs, reducing our dependence on dirty power plants.” Unionized slacker bulb-changing bureaucrats. Classic.

A closer reading of those “low income consumer climate change rebates” (Sec. 701) — which also amends the Earned Income Tax Credit of the Internal Revenue Code, giving more checks to people who don’t pay income tax — reveals that this provides a key Democrat constituency with monthly “compensation, through the issuance of a monthly rebate, for the loss in purchasing power resulting from this Act and the amendments made by this Act.”

Isn’t this the legislation that will make us all rich from selling windmills to each other?

Which brings us to how adaptive the energy-rationers are. With the government broke, they have just flipped from defending the massive economic drain of these programs — also demonstrated beyond dispute in Europe — to the preposterous claim that this scheme will spawn a “green jobs” revolution, turning the economy around and bringing untold economic wealth and prosperity.

The question is whether we will accept this, or cause another political revolution, like the last time the same crowd tried this with Al Gore’s BTU tax. Gore said that effort at going through the front door of direct taxation cost his party control of Congress. Team Gore know better this time. That sound you hear is them trying, yet again, but this time through the back door of a “cap-and-trade” tax.