Thursday, March 12, 2015
Dems Screwed Us on Our Commons
Extra money for low to moderate income families for use of our Commons was almost realty until the lobbyists swarmed Capitol Hill like locust on crops. This rent for our Commons was about to be voted upon as recently as 2009 with President Obama in the White House and Democrats controlling both the Senate and the House—and then the legislative process began …. California Congressman Henry Waxman joined with then Massachusetts’ Congressman Ed Markey, who is now a senator, to draft a climate bill and get it passed. Both congressmen are long-time environmentalists. In 2008, Markey introduced a carbon-capping bill that would have auctioned off 94 percent of the permits and the money made would be divided between low and moderate income families. Markey declared at the time the atmosphere—the air we breathe—is a sacred public trust that belongs to all of us. It is one of our Commons. Its use shouldn’t be used to enrich corporate polluters at citizens’ expense. One year later all that Markey-Waxman sentiment changed as lobbyists overwhelmed Capitol Hill and the two politicians aligned themselves with U.S. Cap (U.S. Climate Action Partnership), the architects of the bill, which would not be as President Obama proposed with 100 percent of the permits auctioned off and rebates to the middle class and low-wage workers. Instead, permits were given free to utility and manufacturing companies and the polluters are allowed to continue polluting our air by buying offsets Waxman and Markey believe, after the lobbyists’ visits, that this was the way to win votes for their bill. Maryland Congressman Chris Van Hollen disagrees and in his 25-page bill, he writes that had the permits been auctioned off the money earned could be distributed equally to every American citizen with a Social Security number and thereby putting money in the middle class pockets to be spent on durable goods. So, what went wrong? Not enough wage toilers knew about or understood what this bill was or how it how would impact their lives. There was no massive public pressure that’s needed to make politicians do the right thing or they get voted out. Apathy can’t happen when our legislators reward corporations at the expense of our people’s rights. So rent to the people for the use of our Commons was so close in 2008-2009, but close only counts in horse shoes. The toilers are leaning what the rent for our Commons can and should be and they need to keep spreading the word. People did not think $15 an hour would happen nor did they think there would be some places going back to the free educational system we used to have, but things do change with the right amount of pressure.