Fenger Pointing

Becky Fenger | October 21, 2009

Cap and Trade nightmare

Becky FengerAh, the pleasures of home ownership. Ouch, the pain of repairs. I started keeping count over the decades and have found that the average number of little things that need fixing in any household is just under three per day. (Unless one is out of town, in which case the number doubles.) That's just a normal part of life. What is not normal is the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (H.R.2454), better known as "Cap and Trade," and the provision contained within it that would forbid you to sell your home until you retrofitted it to comply with the water and energy efficiency standards of this wretched bill.

As most of you know, the Cap and Trade Act is the brainstorm of scientifically illiterate do-gooders who have decided (quite incorrectly) that carbon dioxide is responsible for what they call "man-made global warming." Since man does produce CO2 merely by breathing and also in burning fossil fuels, these regulators of our lives decided that man must be stopped from frying the planet (even though the earth has been cooling for the last decade.)

In order to punish productive man and make things right for the less fortunate, the crazy idea to put a cap on the amount of CO2 emissions that a company could release took hold in a cult that chooses to worship the Nobel Savage. After that, the offending company would have to purchase credits from another company which had not used up its emission allotment. There's a lot of other stuff involving the forced transfer of wealth to less-developed nations, but that's the nub of the Act as it is being argued in Congress right now. Not surprisingly, a few powerful individuals stand to get very, very wealthy from this cockeyed scheme.

The amount of our energy bills would double. If we were saving the planet, the suffering would make sense. But no benefits are to be derived from a scheme that is simply a means to feel good about ourselves. We'd be better off losing weight and getting a massage. (The massage industry is set to receive federal stimulus funds, by the way.)

The prohibition will begin one year after enactment of Cap and Trade. If you can't pay for the costly upgrades to your home, you're stuck between a rock and an empty wallet. Even mobile homes are subject to the "no sell until all is well" rule. Lots of us are going to be in a bind, since, in effect, one is prevented from selling one's home until obtaining permission from the EPA administrator, currently Lisa P. Jackson. (More on her at another time.)

Here is the way one reviewer described the steps: First, the hapless homeowner (HH) has to have the energy efficiency of his home measured. After the government tells HH what his new energy requirement is, HH must make modifications to his home under the retrofit provisions of this Act to comply with the new energy and water efficiency requirements. Then, HH has to have his home measured again in order to obtain a license. This so-called "label" must then be posted on HH's property for all to see his energy efficiency rating. If HH doesn't reach the magic number, he can't sell his home.

There's more. The EPA administrator has the authority to raise the standards every year! If the automatic energy efficiency increases built into the Cap and Trade Act are not as severe as she would like, she can raise them even further. Within five years of enactment, ninety percent of all residential homes in the U.S. must be measured and labeled. Swell. What could possibly go wrong here?