Jim Doyle probably smiled, thinking that Wisconsin will soon mirror Audi’s green world with the passage of his Clean Energy Jobs Act. But Utopia will be the farthest thing from the reality of living in a world with higher gas taxes, mandated energy efficiency improvements on our homes, strict emissions standards and limits on how long you can idle in your car every hour. Instead, we will be living in a green Orwellian nightmare if Doyle gets his way.
The commercial depicts Paul Blart-like envirocops frisking a hapless shopper who choose plastic over paper, a late-night snacker caught in a helicopter spotlight for simply throwing away an orange rind, and a homeowner being dragged from his home for using incandescent light bulbs. The only way to avoid these humiliations is to conform to the green rules and regulations of the “Green Police,” or to buy Audi’s Clean Diesel vehicles.
Some may say Audi was using the absurd to guilt gullible Americans into buying their cars. However, there are real green police lurking out there — Israeli officers enforce the edicts of the Ministry of Environmental Protection; New York has a Department of Environmental Conservation with a force affectionately called the “Green Police;” and the United Kingdom employs a squad dressed in green jackets to monitor for excessive CO2 emissions. I don’t think Audi was using the absurd, the company was tapping into reality.
If Gore and Doyle get their way, the scenes in the commercial will be the tip of the iceberg. Forget the cold, icy stares for not having a canvas bag at Sendik’s, instead worry about holding onto your job when Wisconsin businesses are saddled with higher energy costs and forced conservation. According to Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, the Clean Energy Jobs Act could eliminate up to 43,000 jobs.
“Manufacturing jobs depend on affordable energy and affordable electricity,” said Scott Manley, WMC director of environmental policy. The WMC also feels the Wisconsin-only global warming initiative will place our state and workers at a competitive disadvantage in terms of energy costs, tax rates and regulations.
And the WMC are not alone. More than 60 percent of voters polled last year said solving global warming is not simply a Wisconsin issue to solve and that they did not favor Doyle’s proposals.
If job losses aren’t enough to cool enthusiasm for Doyle’s legislation, what about the provision that would limit your choice of electronic gadgetry? Doyle is proposing the prohibition of certain consumer electronics that use more than a specified amount of electricity in “standby mode.” If your iPod, Smart phone or Blackberry doesn’t meet Jim’s standards, there could be fines of up to $100 for each device sold or offered for sale.
With all that in store for us if Doyle’s misnamed “Clean Energy Jobs Act” is enacted, maybe Audi’s Green Police world isn’t all that bad.