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Steve Lunetta: Cap & trade bait & switch

Right About Now

Posted: July 12, 2009 9:59 p.m.
Updated: July 13, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 

When I was a younger fellow, I learned about a unique little marketing trick called "bait and switch."

This is where a business entices you to come into their store with the promise of a grandiose and great deal but then does not deliver on the offer, instead giving you a poor substitute.

Most people take the poor deal because they took the trouble to "come on down" and the thought of walking away empty-handed would be unacceptable.

Personally, any business that does "bait and switch" loses my patronage forever. To me, this is an attempt to deceive and cheat me, something I will not forget.

Something similar has happened in the world of politics recently.

While the country was engrossed in the passing of Michael Jackson on June 25, the Democrats pulled a "bait and switch" in Washington on June 26 that not many caught.

Fortunately, minority leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) was paying attention. Guess Boehner does not moonwalk.

The House was preparing to vote on HR2454, the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009.

Otherwise known as the "Cap and Trade Bill," HR2454 is an attempt by Congress to regulate the production of greenhouse gases that are supposedly causing global warming.

Or was that global cooling (remember 20 years ago)? Oh, yeah, now they call it "climate change." What will it be next year?

We're not going to spend time today in this column to discuss the merits of this bill.

It will take considerable ink and will get me so angry I could just spit.

What Boehner caught was the bait-and-switch attempted by Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) who tried to introduce a 300-page amendment to the bill at 3:09 a.m.

Now remember, this was introduced on the same day the vote was scheduled on the floor of the House.

The bill was sold as something that America would love, ending our dependence on foreign oil and making our planet a greener and more healthy place to live. That was the bait.

So, what was this 300 pages delivered at 3:00 a.m.? Simple - it was the "switch."

Through a brilliant piece of parliamentary-order use and oratory, Boehner exposed the legislation for what it truly was - a strange, fringe-oriented, job-killing, onerous piece of drivel that poses great danger to our nation.

Take a look on YouTube at his whole speech. Boehner called HR2454 the "most profound piece of legislation in 100 years."

He rightly asked why Congress was only given five hours to read and debate the bill before voting on it.

The answer is simple. The bill's sponsor, Waxman, was trying to muscle it through while everyone was distracted.

The bill is simply wacky. Boehner went through the amendment point-by-point and listed them. Here are a few of the more disturbing excerpts.

On page 10, the bill requires the federal government to acquire renewable energy through contracts of "not more than 20 years."

So, we could sign a 20-year contract for buying energy.

But, what if the price of energy goes down? Doesn't this sound oddly familiar? Didn't we recall a governor for this same bone-headed plan?

On page 16, all vehicles must be capable of using a renewable energy fuel. Does this mean my '66 Mustang must be scrapped? Is the federal government going to buy back all cars that do not fit the standard? Maybe this is their master plan for keeping GM alive.

On page 26, the legislation creates different energy rates for different parts of the country.

Why would this be needed? Let me guess - rural, underdeveloped and industrial areas (read: red states) will be hit with higher rates for energy than urban, densely populated areas (read: blue states).

On page 45, California housing construction standards will be imposed on all communities throughout the United States.

This means that the same crazy standards that prevent school districts from building permanent structures (so they have to resort to portables) will be imposed on small farming communities in North Dakota and Iowa.

Probably most egregious of all, this legislation would require that all homes sold within the United States be given an energy rating.
An inspector will come in and evaluate everything in your home - insulation, windows, weather stripping, appliances, lawn sprinklers and gases emitted from Uncle Earl on the sofa.

If your home is not up to standard, the federal government can require you to upgrade your home before you sell it. After all, you can't sell someone a house that wastes energy. That is simply unAmerican.

Unfortunately, HR2454 passed in the House by a vote of 219-212. Fifty Democrats crossed the aisle and voted against the bill while eight Republicans went the other way and voted for it.

It is truly remarkable that 50 Democrats recognized the danger and lunacy of this legislation and voted for sanity.

According to www.govtrack.us, the bill is now waiting for consideration in the Senate. Folks, we cannot allow this "bait and switch" to continue.

Clean energy is a laudable goal but this bill is simply poison to the American people and economy.

Please contact Sen. Barbara Boxer and Sen. Dianne Feinstein and urge a firm "no" vote on the American Clean Energy and Security Act.

Steve Lunetta is a Santa Clarita resident. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal. "Right About Now" runs Mondays in The Signal.

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