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Congress is planning to make your home unsalable

Congress is planning to make your home unsalable


By Craig J. Cantoni

Oct. 22, 2009


In the midst of the raging healthcare debate over who owns your body and can decide what repairs it receives, the media and the public have overlooked the fact that the U.S. House of Representatives has already ruled in H.R. 2454 that the state owns your house and can decide what repairs it receives.  Your name might be on the title, the mortgage, the homeowners policy, and the property tax bill, but if H.R. 2454 becomes the law of the land, the federal government will become a dictatorial homeowners association (HOA) with the power to make your house unsalable unless you comply with its diktats.


H.R. 2454 is the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009.  Its sponsor is the creepiest-looking member of the House, Henry Waxman (D-CA), who resembles Heinrich Himmler in appearance but certainly not in ideology -- well, except for Waxman’s belief in statism, central planning, one-party control, and the subjugation of the individual to the collective.  


 The Act is 1,428 pages long.  I strongly encourage you to read every page.  By doing so, you’ll get an education in political science, economics, and history that will be better than a PhD in these subjects.  You’ll not only understand how nations destroy themselves from within, but you’ll also understand how politicians like Waxman, and the people who elect them, are turning the U.S. economy into an economy of high-paid consultants, lawyers, lobbyists, and apparatchiks.  At the same time, these great intellects bemoan that high-paying jobs for working stiffs are evaporating.  Connecting dots is not their forte.


The Act can be found at:


Warning:  You’re going to find a lot of gobbledygook like this:


(b)  APPRAISER CERTIFICATION AND LICENSING REQUIREMENTS.--Section 1116 of the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 (12 U.S.C. 3345) is amended--

            (1) in subsection (a), by inserting before the period at the end of the following: “, and meets the requirements established pursuant to subsection (f) for qualifications regarding consideration of any renewable energy sources for, or energy efficiency or energy-conserving improvements or features of, the property” . . .


Such gobbledygook will ensure that thousands of young Americans who might have pursued careers in science or engineering will instead pursue careers as gobbledygook interpreters -- as lawyers, consultants, and bureaucrats.  It’s hard to imagine that a sane person would want to attend college for four years and then law school for another three years in order to spend his life deciphering the meaning of a confusing clause before a period in subsection (a) of 12 U.S.C. 3345.


Speaking of sanity, it’s impossible for a sane person to read 1,428 pages of such tripe and still be sane afterwards and know for sure what the Act says.  As such, my interpretation of what the Act says about your house might not be accurate, because I’m typing this in a padded cell with drool dripping off my chin.  In any event, the following is what I think it says about your house. 


It says that the federal government, in conjunction with state and local governments, will set environmental standards and building codes for residential homes.  Then, any major renovation or planned sale of a house will trigger a report to the authorities on whether it meets the standards.  Such information will be maintained in a national database and reflected in real estate records, including titles and property tax records. 


In other words, if your house doesn’t meet the standards, this will become public information available to prospective buyers, who would have to be as stupid as Henry Waxman to buy a substandard house and risk the possibility that the government will someday force them to bring it up to standard.  The Act’s language doesn’t preclude that possibility.   


Of course, the expense of such renovations will be borne by you, unless you’re in a favored socioeconomic or racial group, in which case the expense will be borne by others.  For example, if you live in a manufactured home (mobile home) that was manufactured prior to 1976, and if your household income is less than twice the poverty rate, you can get a rebate of up to $7,500 on the purchase of a new manufactured home that meets the standards.  And if your race is “diverse,” owners of multifamily housing properties with more than 50 units will be required to make room for you in order to meet the environmental standards.  Maybe some races produce less CO2 than other races.


Although the Act’s language doesn’t say it as explicitly as I’m going to say it, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will be pressured under the Act to give favorable terms to mortgages for Green homes.  Also, to be eligible for free stuff under the Act, contractors will have pay prevailing wages, or, in other words, will have to share the loot with union friends of the Democrat Party.


The good news in all of this is that your home will still be your castle.  The bad news is that if it doesn’t have thermal windows, a reflective roof, thick insulation, and the proper appliances and heating and air-conditioning systems, you’ll be living in it until you die, unless you can afford to bring it up to the standards in order to sell it.


But none of this is what made me insane.  What put me over the edge was the section in the Act on trees.  Yes, the federal government wants to set national standards on trees in your yard.


The Act will establish a program to “use the best available science to create tree siting guidelines which dictate [well, at least they admit it] where the optimum tree species are best planted in locations that achieve maximum reductions in consumer energy demand while causing the least disruption to public infrastructure, considering overhead and underground facilities.”  It goes on, of course, to specify that free trees will be available under the program.  It also specifies that loot will be given to power companies to be shared with nonprofit tree-planting organizations.


I have to end here.  An orderly is entering my padded cell to wipe the drool off my chin and change my diaper.  Let me quickly close with this:  The most insane aspect of the Act is that it is not needed -- not its 1,428 words, not its legions of lawyers, not its brigades of bureaucrats, and not its tremendous shift of productive resources to unproductive make-work.  If the consensus in the United States is that global warming is man-caused and can be stopped -- as wrongheaded as that is -- it is not necessary for the government to micromanage your life to the extent that it tells you what trees to plant in your yard.  Instead, the government would only have to raise energy prices through a tax on carbon, and the market and individual choices would sort out the rest.


But what do I know?  I’m insane.



An author and columnist, Mr. Cantoni can be reached at  


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