The release of a new Labor Department report showing zero percent job growth for August appears to have panicked the Obama Administration, and produced at least one immediate result, as reported by the Washington Post:
President Obama abruptly pulled back proposed new national smog standards Friday morning, overruling the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to compel states and communities nationwide to reduce local air pollution in the coming years or face federal penalties.
The move represented a win for the business community, which had lobbied to postpone new restrictions on ground-level ozone — known as smog — until 2013 in light of the economic downturn. It also raised questions about the fate of several other air quality regulations the EPA is preparing to finalize this year.
Of course, Obama needed to make this look like something other than the pants-soaking freak-out that it is, so he went on to praise EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson – whose addition to the unemployment rolls would help a lot of other people get off them – for her wonderful efforts to improve the nation’s air quality.
Bear in mind that according to some estimates, eight-five percent of the country would have been in non-compliance with the EPA standards Obama scuttled today, the compliance costs would have exceeded a trillion dollars, over 7 million jobs would have been lost, and the electrical capacity of the United States would have been reduced by eight percent.
This leads to three questions:
1. How did these job-smashing regulations manage to survive President Obama’s fifteen previous “pivots” to job creation? Isn’t this clear-cut evidence that jobs were not his “top priority” until a gust of history-making bad news slammed into the White House?
2. How important could these wonderful environmental regulations have been, if they were abruptly junked after one day of really bad press for a deeply unpopular politician?
3. Do we still have to listen to Barack Obama complain that all these out-of-control agencies, like the EPA, NLRB, and EEOC are “independent” and “beyond his control?” It looks as if white-knuckle panic rather abruptly brought the EPA under his control.