Free Markets, Free People

Waxman Markey/Cap-and-Trade: 397 New Regulations and 1,100 New Mandates

This story slipped quietly under the radar last week as we had the UN speech, the Iran revelation and the G20.

An examination of the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade legislation finds it contains 397 new regulations and 1,100 new mandates. And you’ll be pleased to know it will simplify your life, make child birth pleasant and cost you nothing.

Not.

But you can rest assured there is most likely something for everyone because this isn’t just about controlling CO2 emissions.  This is about more control of your life via the radical green agenda.

Take homeowners for instance. If you thought selling your house was a pain in the kiester before, Mr. Waxman and Mr. Markey can’t wait to make it even more fun for you:

One of them would affect almost everyone who buys or sells a home. If Waxman-Markey becomes law, homes for sale that qualify as “federally related transactions” — which is almost all of them — would be required to undergo an environmental inspection.

[…]

Inspections are not free. Nor is fixing the inevitable violations. Compliance with new energy-efficiency standards would make homes, especially older ones, more expensive. Selling one’s home would become even harder than it already is in this down market if Waxman-Markey-style cap and trade becomes law.

And that is just one of the unintended consequences.

Suppose you have a window that isn’t quite airtight or your appliances are a little too old. Maybe they’re not Energy Star certified. You’d have to replace them before you would be allowed to sell your home.

Suppose you wanted to sell your house “as is” and let the person who buys it fix it up, for a suitable discount of course.

That is no longer a choice you’ll have. The buyer and seller wouldn’t be allowed to make that decision anymore.   The party that continuously claims that “choice” is important to them apparently believe that particular choice is one neither the buyer or seller should have. The transaction is subject to the regulations of Mr. Waxman and Mr. Markey’s bill and you’ll not sell anything government inspectors haven’t deemed “green” enough to sell and certified as such.

Nothing, of course, could go wrong with that, could it? And of course, the article deals with just one of the unintended consequences. Let me again point out that it includes 397 new regulations – that means there’s at least one unintended consequence for each of them (and possibly more) and it will most likely be a nasty surprise.

In fact, take a good look at what could be more of the unintended consequences from just the regulation requiring home inspections:

To sum up: Inspecting homes for sale for their environmental friendliness would raise home prices. Buying or selling a home would become an even more onerous process than it already is. And there’s an easy way to dodge the bullet: Rent instead of own. If enough people did that, the inspection requirement would fail to achieve its goal of making homes more energy efficient.

And that in the face of and in conflict with policy which seeks to increase home ownership.

When regulation becomes too arduous, what do people normally do? Adjust, avoid and do what is easier and cheaper.

Is there any reason, depending on what the other 396 regulations contain, that the same won’t happen with them?

This is where we’re headed – regulators literally telling you what trees to plant and how to plant them (that’s actually contained in the Waxman-Markey bill as pointed out in a previous post). Is this the government you want? Is this the level of government with which you’re comfortable?

If they can require you to plant your trees and fix up your home their way, what else might they figure they should have the power to do?

~McQ

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22 Responses to Waxman Markey/Cap-and-Trade: 397 New Regulations and 1,100 New Mandates

  • This is not the level of government I want, and it definitely isn’t the level of government with which I am comfortable. On top of this extreme government regulation, caap and trade could end up costing every American thousands of dollars a year. Write to your Senators and tell them that we can not afford cap and trade at http://tiny.cc/pxIgi.

  • Another crazy-@$$ law brought to you by the same guy who thinks CPSIA is perfect and there’s nothing wrong with having to test baby blankets for lead over and over and over. Oh, and he also wants to regulate the food supply chain in much the same way (HR 875).

    How did we end up with a system of government that puts this guy, against whom I cannot vote (I used to live in his district, though I never voted there), in charge of micromanaging my own personal life?

  • I wonder sometimes, just how many of the consequences of legislation like this are truly unintended. Because many of them seem to be too obvious.

  • You keep saying “unintended consequences.” I assure you, this isn’t “unintended” in any way. An entire industry has grown up around lobbying government for more, more, more environmental testing requirements. Without even looking, I’ll bet that the inspection will have to be done by someone who got a certain type of training (supplied, of course, only by a handful of firms), with a special license, doing testing that has to be done at a certified and licensed lab, and signed off on by someone with a certain type of credentials (supplied, of course, by a particular trade association.)

    Nothing unintended about any of this. They know it will raise the costs for homesellers. If it didn’t, then the gravy train wouldn’t be nearly as lucrative. They just don’t care.

    This is textbook rent seeking.

  • Ever hear the comment about how it’d cost 4 times or greater to replace a car by its parts than buying a replacement car? As a F-250 owner with 20″ wheels, I was reminded of the truth of that statement recently when I cracked a rim and was told by Ford that a replacement was a mere $1,000 (on a $50K truck).

    On houses, renovations and repairs can quickly exceed the market value of the house, especially in neighborhoods of lesser value. We looked at a mid-town Omaha house constructed in 1915 that had been used as a rental. It needed new HVAC (had the old boiler which was dying), required a 10×10 addition on the back to be torn off (it was built on dirt with no footings, two stories up), and had a basement wall bowing in 18″ and requiring immediate replacement due to freezing water upslope over the decades. Market value of the house: $50K. Cost of repairs: $40K. We offered $10K and the owner laughed and said he made more renting it annually than that. And yes, he’d let the furnace die and have the tenants heat with space heaters, and abandon the house when the back fell off or the basement collapsed.

    There’s your Obama option. Had we added the green improvements to the house (no insulation in the attic, insufficient in the walls, all windows and doors replaced, HVAC upgraded to green standard, water heater replaced with green spec, etc.), we would have spent well over $100K on a house the market only bears $50K for.

    If you think this mandate will increase the price the market will pay, you’re deluding yourself. Just visit Detroit and look at all the $5K houses that would need minimal improvements. Price is a function of demand, not of how much cost you pack into the asset to be sold. Just as you wouldn’t buy a $20K toaster when I’d added solar panels, backup generators and a flat-panel on the side with video of the toast inside cooking, you won’t buy a $100K house that only has $50K of utility.

    Obama’s remaking and wrecking of the economy is off to a great start.

    • HatlessHessian – I’ve redone several older houses myself. First, to your question, “do you think do-it-yourself will still be permitted?” Whether it is permitted or not, it will certainly become the rule, combined with underground cash-only repairmen. Remember that there is no problem officially until an owner self-reports, so this would drive all repairs into the undocumented, untaxed black market.

      The only alternative would be a surveillance regime that would make the Soviet system look lackadaisacle. Since most inspections are only done at the point of sale, the velocity of sales would slow dramatically taking a huge bite out of an already depressed real estate market and knocking the economy down even further. The realtors association’s are generally a left leaning lot, but don’t expect them to stay quiet once they realize that it’s their throats that are being cut.

      Also, per your owner of the rundown house who refused a fair offer – you left out the rest of the game. An owner like that gets an appraisal from a “sympathetic” (aka bribed) appraiser combined with the county tax records to “prove” the value is $50k. Then he goes and takes out a 100% equity loan from the bank (okay, so he’s going to try and play Mr. Responsible and only take out an 80% equity loan.) He keeps up payments as long as the rent comes in, to make it look good. Then, when the floor falls in or the back falls off, he simply defaults on the loan and lets the bank take the property. (non-recourse loan, of course) Through the wonder of the FDIC, sooner or later all of us get to pay for the $40K or so the unscrupulous slum lord just put into his pockets on that deal. And the people who are adept at this are often doing this with dozens of houses at a time – I know some of them.

      How do they do this and stay out of trouble? Rule #1 – Always make sure to give very healthy contributions to all of your local Democrat officeholders and local Community Groups, who will then call you a Partner for Progress or some such nonsense. No one ever investigates a Partner for Progress, why that would be racist, dontcha know. It never matters what you actually do as long as the right people are paid to say you’re wonderful – and they will, since that’s *their* game.

      Yessiree, that’s how the Game is Played.

  • One other comment… many are neglecting to realize that certain home systems, when disrupted, require extremely costly interventions to be conducted. For instance, replace an old boiler to bring the house up to green spec and you’re now hiring asbestos removal experts ($10K to $15K or more, for mere removal!).

    In one Omaha house we owned, we had asbestos roof tiles. While the majority of the roof was performing well, one small area was permitting some water incursion. We got a quote to remove and replace the roof: $18K to remove and dispose of the tiles. Another contractor would be required to install the new roof at a separate price. For a house in a neighborhood with the comps around $77K at the time, $25K on just the roof was extreme. Fortunately, we got the job done ourselves and avoided the majority of the cost.

    Do you think, in the world of green inspectors, that do-it-yourself will be permitted?

  • If it’s harder (too costly) to afford to buy/sell homes, rest assured that there will be a new or expanded govt. program to subsidize people for these costs (paid for by the “rich” of course!)

    Maybe Acorn or whatever they rename it to avoid scrutiny can handle disbursing the funds?

  • Old homes will become unmarketable. They will be abandoned and become a and easy breeding ground for crime. Entire subdivisions abandoned to After a few decades they’ll rot if they aren’t burned down first.

    This will drive new construction. How healthy will that be for the environment? And at first blush, ‘new construction’ is associated as being good for the economy. But that’s when its driven by voluntary demand and due to buyers having more money available to them. When its driven by mandatory demand, the result is negative. It eats away at consumer’s expendable income and its much like a tax.

    • “This will drive new construction.”

      But only for the wealthy. Increased costs for environmentally friendly construction will price new homes and even new apartments out of reach of most of us.

      I expect that these new regulations and mandates will eventually apply to all buildings, if they don’t already. We can therefor expect things like assisted living and nursing homes and hospitals, etc. to become more expensive, driving up the cost of health care.

      But have no fear! A resurgent Republican alternative will rectumfy the situation!

  • Rental housing still needs repair and maintainance. Once that becomes too expensive we can expect to see the entire country’s housing stock go the way of the inner cities.

  • The two names on the bill are enough to tell you that it’s going to be a disaster. That’s before you even get to the fact that it’s hundreds of billions of dollars forcibly directed by government over the non-issue of CO2, an essential-to-life atmospheric gas that’s being portrayed as a pollutant.

  • The good thing is, is that Obama’s clueless re: leadership. Nothing will get passed on his watch. He’s a big blowhard. The Health Care bill will go down, and Cap and Trade will be a non-starter.

    Best thing about Obama is the left’s silliness and totalitarianism are on full display for those with open minds to see….

  • I keep reading that as ‘Waxman-Malarky.’ Freudian, I suppose.

  • Realistically if any of this crap gets put into law on top of our already very shaky financial situation, then we are looking at another great depression. That is not an exaggeration. We could not take such a hit right now on top of all our debt and the other problems.

  • This is a “piss or get off the pot” moment for small government types. And the general frame of mind is to “get off the pot”, deny that climate change is a problem. Doing nothing looks like small government has no solution to a problem like climate change, that small government is a bankrupt philosophy. As doing nothing will lose the indepedent electorate that is really concerned with climate change, doing nothing is not politically feasible for the Right and so we will see an increase in size of government facillitated in part by conservative aquiescence to big government solutions.

    This Waxman Markey ETS is the big government solution to climate change. It involves inspectors, expanded government and increased regulation, but that is big government so it is not exactly unexpected. Climate change is a crisis they offer a solution to. It won’t work obviously, because it is a big government solution and they never work, but its the only one on offer.

    We need to define a small government better solution and then ram down the throat of every Waxman Markey-ish advance that a big government solution does not do enough to tackle climate change.

    What the planet really needs is a high cost carbon VAT, offset by all income tax getting capped at 10%. And smaller government, much smaller government. And if it turns out that climate change was a hoax and all we end up with is a smaller government and lower income taxes, then we’ll just have to suffer these consequences of our misguided attempts to save the planet.

    • You forgot the obvious alternative, convincing the electorate that AGW is just a pack of lies invented to part them from their money.

      • That is really hard to do. Neither side of that debate has a lock on the truth, it becomes a risk assessment as to which side is more correct. And it is incredibly complex and technical (and boringly scientific) risk assessment.

        It is my opinion that climate change is occuring. And it is my belief that the best way to solve the problem is by placing a sales tax on carbon footprints of consumed goods (not on emissions). It is also my belief that because government is by definition immune to the motivational effects of taxation, its involvement in the economy needs to be reduced.

        If you are correct about climate change being untrue, then climate change “is a pack of lies invented to” reduce the size of government, slash state borrowing and give out the biggest tax cut* in a 100 years.

        * Plus the reaction of the MSM/liberal-o-sphere to social spending reduction becoming a core policy tool on climate change would be epic – a flip-flop at the speed of light. ACORN would be on your side, out there convincing the electorate it is just a big lie.

        • “It is my opinion that climate change is occuring”

          Climate always changes. The data that suggests that human beings have anything to do with recent trends is scant (1 degree F. over a century isn’t that significant and has no serious correlation with increased CO2), and even that data is falling apart (i.e., the 1 degree F. increase itself might not be confirmable).

          Global warming is a research industry driven by politics that drove a hoax.

        • “It is my opinion that climate change is occuring(sic). And it is my belief that the best way to solve the problem is by placing a sales tax on carbon footprints of consumed goods (not on emissions).”

          There are several wee items to remember on this:

          1) “Climate change” occurs both on an annual basis (it’s called “the changing of the seasons” – has to do with planetary tilt and cosmic progression – look it up) and on a greater-periodic-fluctuational basis (every so-many years, the globe gets warmer; then every so-many-more years, it get cooler – fluctuations used to be much greater, in ancient times, thus the various “ice ages” – caused by a variety of things: sun “spots” [solar prominences], earth-core temp variances, shifting tectonic plates, volcanic action, etc.)

          2) However, “anthropogenic climate change” is mostly pure bushwah, and is a teeny, tiny, itty-bitty increment at worst – anything supposedly “proven” beyond that is junk-science-based and has no useful credibility.

          3) Humans may sometimes seem “god-like” – at least, to themselves – but their effect upon the globe we inhabit, as mentioned, is marginal at best/worst. If we work at it much more diligently than we presently do, in perhaps another thousand years or so, we MAY manage to make most of the surface land-mass very difficult (or even impossible) for humans to continue to survive. We will NOT, however, destroy the planet, even if we manage to destroy most (or even all) of ourselves – we are NOT (and will not get to be) that powerful. The world will go right on – whether humans do so or not.

          Finally – 4) Cap-and-trade (aka: cap-and-tax, and other less-complimentary names) is a fully-politicized scam, perpetrated by Al Gore, et.al., for two purposes: a) personal wealth and b) increased power over others’ lives, by means of government control. It’s just the latest “green” lie, and would have no useful effect on environment or “climate change” while costing the U.S. enormously – all so some leftist politicians and similar socialist-minded dweebs make lots of bucks and get to control more. It’s just another con-game.