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Public Statements

America's Energy Crisis

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. CARTER. I thank my friend from Iowa.

As I listened to that story about switchgrass and that we paid those people money, I don't have anything against them, but it sure sounds like the inmates are running the asylum around here. I mean, I think anybody that heard that story would think, Good Lord, those people are crazy. I really want to say again--and I've said this before--if you're trying to stop CO2, and I'm throwing off a bunch of CO2 in my company, and I can go out and buy some carbon credits from you who happens to be running a real good clean company, I still keep putting the stuff in the atmosphere, right? I haven't cleaned up my act. I mean, they put a cap on me. I'm not meeting the cap, and I just bought an excuse. Kind of like Al Gore with his 100,000-foot house--or whatever it is he's got, or two or three houses--he said, Oh, that's all right. I buy carbon credits. He's still putting the stuff up there in the air.


Mr. CARTER. It is a sin tax. That's exactly right. It's a sin tax. It is ludicrous to think it's going to reduce any carbon, CO2 that goes into the atmosphere. Because as long as a guy wants to pay the taxes, he's in business. Let's face it, if I'm the guy that's paying the sin credit, the indulgence, well, if I can pass it on down to the neighbors down the street in their bill, that's where it's going to go. So those poor slobs are paying the tax. Why should I worry about it? Why is that going to keep me from putting CO2 into the atmosphere? This is insanity, but that's where we are.


Mr. CARTER. Let me make this very clear. The Rules Committee is the Speaker's committee. The Speaker decides who is on the Rules Committee. So this Rules Committee is an arm of the Speaker's committee. Like one of my Democratic colleagues who went before the Rules Committee said just the other day, he was sort of nervous until he went in and he counted one, two, three, four, five, six; one, two, three, four, oh, I think I'm going to win because there are six Democrats and four Republicans. But the Speaker chooses that committee. They answer to the Speaker. And the chairman is set by the Speaker.


Mr. CARTER. We should be very grateful that the Speaker promised us the most open, honest and ethical Congress in the history of the Republic because think how bad it would be if we didn't have that. We wouldn't even be here, would we? It is amazing what promises are made and what promises are broken in this House of Representatives. It is a shame. It is a shame that somebody besides us on the floor of the House, and hopefully some people are watching this, it is a shame, Mr. Speaker, that we are not getting that message out. This is wrong. It is not what the American people sent us here for.

Getting back to our hoax and our indulgences that we are talking about here, I want everybody to know that when Martin Luther hammered that up on the door of the church, he was informing the church that this was wrong to have these indulgences. We need to be pounding one on the front door of this Capitol Building. This is wrong to put this burden on the American people, some of whom really can't afford it, and many of whom are losing their jobs. And to give us a target of 17 1/2 percent unemployment that we can see could come in a much less industrialized nation than we are and what happened there, think what can happen in this Nation.

Mr. KING of Iowa. The President of the United States has said, why can't you learn from Spain?

Mr. CARTER. What we learned from Spain is 17 1/2 percent unemployment. My gosh, back during the Clinton administration they kept saying 6 1/2 percent, 6 percent unemployment was full employment. Well, we have learned that is not true. But there is nobody going to argue 17 1/2 percent unemployment is full employment. We are going to be hurting.

We just spent, as my colleague says, our children and grandchildren and great grandchildren and maybe even for generations never even thought of, we just spent their inheritance just in the first 100 days of the Obama administration. We spent more money than all the history of the Republic put together. And we are wanting to put in a program that can put almost 20 percent of the American workforce out of work? Isn't this the inmates running the asylum?


Mr. CARTER. Well, you forgot that there is one other source of CO2 that we haven't figured out how to tax on it, but I'm sure they're working on it. We've created some today as we've been in here.

I had a lady when I was doing a townhall meeting. We were talking about energy, and she said, You know, I'm concerned about these emissions because I want my children to be able to breathe clean air. And I said, Do you ever lean over and kiss your kid goodnight? She said, Yeah, I do. I said, Do you realize when you breathe out you're breathing CO2 into that child's face? She stopped. She said, You know? That is right. I said, You're going to have to stop breathing in the presence of your child.

This gas we're talking about we are all breathing out every breath and all animals are doing the same thing and all plants are loving it because they take it in. And guess what they give back? Oxygen for us. It's crazy. It's really crazy what we're talking about. But that number needs to be added in there. Maybe we should limit ourselves to 30 breaths a minute.


Mr. CARTER. We know the corporate tax drives people offshore looking for a better tax structure. We know right now in just a competitive market we have the Chinese offer cheaper natural gas than the Americans. So if you're powering your plant by natural gas and you're paying that corporate tax structure, just in today's world, there is a lure to go overseas to China.

Now, you come in and you're going to add 30 percent to the cost of everything. Why in the world would you not think it's the absolutely worst thing that could happen? We're probably going to get trampled if we don't get out of the way as they head for the west coast to get on a boat to go to China.


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