Let's face it. The average individual American has little or no clout with Congress and can be safely ignored.
But it's a different story with groups such as Environmental Defense Fund, Sierra Club and the Nature Conservancy.
When they speak, Congress listens. Unlike the average American, they
are well-organized, loaded with cash and well-positioned to be a
disobedient lawmaker's worse nightmare. Their political and economic
success has been a near disaster for our nation.
For several decades, environmentalists have managed to get Congress
to keep most of our oil resources off-limits to exploration and
drilling. They've managed to have the Congress enact onerous
regulations that have made refinery construction impossible. Similarly,
they've used the courts and Capitol Hill
to completely stymie the construction of nuclear power plants. As a
result, energy prices are at historic highs and threaten our economy
and national security.
What's the political response to our energy problems? It's more congressional and White House kowtowing to environmentalists, farmers and multi-billion-dollar corporations such as Archer Daniels Midland.
Their "solution," rather than to solve our oil supply problem by
permitting drilling for the billions upon billions of barrels of oil
beneath the surface of our country, is to enact the Energy Independence
and Security Act of 2007 that mandates that oil companies increase the
ethanol mixed with gasoline. Anyone with an ounce of brains would have
realized diverting crops from food to fuel use would raise the prices
of corn-fed livestock, such as pork, beef, chicken and dairy products,
and products made from corn, such as cereals.
Ethanol production has led to increases in other grain prices, such as soybean and wheat. Since the United States is the world's largest grain producer and exporter, higher grain prices have had a huge impact on food prices worldwide.
Congress and the environmentalists aren't through with us. If you're
bothered by skyrocketing food and energy prices, wait until Congress
re-introduces its environmentalist-inspired Climate Security Act,
so-called "Cap and Trade." Cap and Trade is deceptively peddled as a
free-market solution to the yet-to-be-settled issue of manmade climate
change. Under its provisions, companies would be able to emit
greenhouse gases only if they had a government allowance. The Congressional Budget Office
estimates a 15 percent cut in emissions would raise the annual average
household's energy costs by $1,300. Since energy is an input to
everything we use, we can expect everything to become more costly,
resulting in a reduction in economic growth.
There's a hateful side to Cap and Trade that's revealed by asking
the question: How will it be decided who received how much allowance to
emit greenhouse gases? Congress could sell the allowances and/or give
them away to favorite constituents. You can bet the rent money that a
new army of lobbyists, with special pleadings, will descend on Washington
to lobby Congress. And you can be sure campaign contributions and
favoritism will play an important role in the decision of who received
what amount of allowances.
Much worse than that is the massive control government would have
over our economy and our lives. Congress might decide that since
tobacco use is unhealthy, it might not issue allowances to tobacco
companies. While many Americans might applaud that, how many would like
Congress to refuse to issue allowances to companies that produce foods
that some people deem unhealthy such as french fries, sodas, canned
soups and potato chips? Congress might deny, or threaten to deny,
allowances to companies that in their opinion didn't hire enough women
and minorities. The would be endless possibilities for controlling our
lives that could include nuisance edicts such a requiring permits for
barbecues in our backyards.
The thirst to wield massive control over our economy helps explain
the nearly religious belief in manmade global warming and the attacks
on scientists and others who offer contradictory evidence.