Morning Bell: Bailout’s Precedent Requires Vigilance
Conn Carroll /
According to the best sources on Capitol Hill, opposition to the financial rescue plan is wilting. This is good news for the American people. Action to address the credit crunch is urgently needed and both the addition of raising the FDIC insured funds cap to $250,000 and the SEC’s mark-to-market rule change make the total effort more effective. Unfortunately, the cost of getting enough votes to support the plan has been very high. The Senate bill contains “billions in earmarks” and Citizens Against Government Waste’s Tom Schatz told USA Today, “It’s a very transparent attempt to buy votes on a very controversial piece of legislation.”
Two aspects of the bill in particular represent a grave threat to the U.S. economy if they are not properly addressed. First, as we have detailed before, the legislation breaks new ground in granting the executive branch broad and unchecked powers over the economy. The language delegating power from Congress to the Treasury secretary does more to expand the secretary’s possible range of discretion than to define it. Our Constitution allows no czar with standardless discretion to prop-up or manage various industry sectors.
As bad as this new precedent is, it is even more worrisome when paired with a provision slipped in by the Senate in order to buy votes from the environmental left. Section 117 of the bill now directs the administration to conduct an audit of the tax code “to identify the types of and specific tax provisions that have the largest effects on carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions and to estimate the magnitude of those effects.” When completed, this audit will serve as a blueprint for the next administration to impose a crippling carbon tax on the U.S. economy.
In fact, the administrative process to remake our entire economy without any input from Congress is already under way. Earlier this year the Environmental Protection Agency issued an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that derives authority from the Clean Air Act to implement economy wide regulation of greenhouse gasses. If implemented, the EPA’s plan will touch every aspect of your life. Not even your places of worship will be safe from government bureaucrats.
But there is something you can do. The rulemaking process forces the EPA to take comments from the American people. The Heritage Foundation has set up a website, StopEPA.com that makes it easy for you to tell the EPA what you think about its proposed power grab. The site has links to the EPA’s plan, as well as analysis of it from concerned groups. Most importantly, it enables you to file an official comment with the EPA. The left is desperate to avoid the political accountability of having to pass economy-killing global warming policies through Congress. Our only hope is to stop the next administration’s power grab through the courts. Registering your opposition to the EPA’s plan is the best way you can help the cause.
- U.S. factory orders sank by the largest amount in nearly two years in August, and the number of workers filing new claims for unemployment benefits increased to a seven-year high last week.
- Leftist housing activists angered by being blamed for the housing crisis are pleading with Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to defend them.
- California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger informed Paulson yesterday that the state might need an emergency loan of as much as $7 billion from the federal government within weeks.
- A USA Today/Gallup poll finds 53% of Americans describing themselves as “angry” about the financial crisis.