Look Carefully Before Investing Here

Published April 14, 2009

Your editorial “Henry Waxman Has a Plan . . .” of April 10 points out several problems with the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill and ends with the suggestion that we should all read the 648-page bill. I did as you suggest and I found more flaws.

“Nothing in this Act or any other provision of law shall be construed to limit or alter the authority of the United States [government], including the Administrator [of the EPA] acting pursuant to statutory authority, to terminate or limit allowances or credits.” The way this crippling and antimarket provision is established is to deny property right status to emission allowances, compensatory allowances, strategic reserve allowances and offset credits. There will be no recourse under the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution which prohibits government takings of property without compensation. The government is signaling in advance that it will refuse to be held responsible for its actions.

Do not listen to those who say that the government will never resort to such takings. It already happened in 2001 when the Regional Clean Air Incentives Market was abruptly eliminated by the South Coast Air Quality Management District. There was a similar denial of property rights in that government “market” in Southern California.

A careful reading of history and the Waxman-Markey bill ought to convince any intellectually honest person that the government’s carbon cap-and-trade “market” is fatally flawed.

Jim Johnston
Wilmette, Ill.