What’s a good way to push an economy that just suffered a GDP contraction, after five years of anemic growth, into a full-blown recession? Barack Obama has your answer, as he once again demonstrates his eagerness to make other people pay a steep price for his “legacy.” Fox News has details of the big new offensive in Obama’s War on Energy:
The Obama administration took aim at the coal industry on Monday by mandating a 30 percent cut in carbon emissions at fossil fuel-burning power plants by 2030 — despite claims the regulation will cost nearly a quarter-million jobs a year and force plants across the country to close.
The controversial regulation is one of the most sweeping efforts to tackle global warming by this or any other administration.
The 645-page rule, expected to be final next year, is a centerpiece of President Obama’s climate change agenda, and a step that the administration hopes will get other countries to act when negotiations on a new international treaty resume next year.
“Other countries” will, of course, laugh at the American President’s eagerness to hamstring his economy with a junk-science blade, release statements applauding his “leadership” in battling the non-existent threat of global warming, and then quietly refuse to follow suit. You can take it to the bank, assuming you can still afford to get to the bank.
We’re talking a good $50 billion a year siphoned out of the U.S. economy, with higher energy prices slamming into small businesses, middle-class taxpayers, and the working poor. That’s a feature, not a bug. Coming soon: fresh new subsidies to help the working poor pay for Obama’s expensive energy. If you oppose this plan when it rolls around, you will be called a heartless monster who hates children.
As usual, the Constitutional separation of powers takes it on the chin – another feature, not a bug, as Obama works to pile up precedents for imperial presidential power. Anyone who ever thought Democrats would be careful about that, lest a Republican president seize the crown and turn all that unaccountable centralized power against them, is missing two important points: (1) the imperial presidency is inherently left-wing, because of the way it causes the independent living organism of the central bureaucracy – largely untouched by elections – to grow, and (2) Democrats are confident that demographics will make the next couple of elections the last time Republicans have a shot at the Oval Office.
The new environmental regulations are an unfunded mandate that bypasses Congress, and brings state governments to bend the knee before King Barack and his court:
While the plan drew praise from environmental groups, the coal industry was immediately suspect.
Bill Bissett, president of the Kentucky Coal Association, said he’s “certain that it will be very bad news for states like Kentucky who mine and use coal to create electricity.”
The draft regulation sidesteps Congress, where Obama’s Democratic allies have failed to pass a so-called “cap-and-trade” plan to limit such emissions.
Under the plan, states could have until 2017 to submit a plan to cut power plant pollution, and 2018 if they join with other states to tackle the problem, according to the EPA’s proposal.
States are expected to be allowed to require power plants to make changes such as switching from coal to natural gas or enact other programs to reduce demand for electricity and produce more energy from renewable sources.
They also can set up pollution-trading markets as some states already have done to offer more flexibility in how plants cut emissions.
If a state refuses to create a plan, the EPA can make its own.
And since no state governor relishes that prospect, they’ll step smartly into line… shouldering much of the blame for whatever economic horrors ensue, while Washington royalty claims all the credit for visionary “leadership.” Unhappy about the huge jump in your electric bill? Go whine to your state governor – he’s the one who dreamed up the carbon-emission compliance plan. Grateful that you don’t see polar bears surfing on melting shards of ice past your front window? All praise be to King Barack, who made the oceans recede!
Never mind that the Church of Global Warming sheepishly concedes that none of this will “solve” the non-existent problem they use to empty our wallets and keep us in line, as noted by the New York Times, which also finds it necessary to admit that the natural gas revolution – hated by the environmentalist Left – has already done plenty to cut carbon emissions without driving the peons of America into poverty:
On Monday, Mr. Obama is planning to bypass Congress and take one of the biggest steps any American president has ever taken on climate change, proposing new rules to cut emissions at power plants. Yet, by itself, the president???s plan will barely nudge the global emissions that scientists say are threatening the welfare of future generations.
???Is it enough to stop climate change? No,??? said Ted Nordhaus, chairman of the Breakthrough Institute, an environmental think tank in Oakland, Calif. ???No political leader in the world has a serious agenda to do that.???
Even after Mr. Obama???s inability to get his major climate change proposal through Congress in 2010, fate has intervened to help him toward his goal. Thanks partly to a surfeit of natural gas that few people saw coming, emissions in the United States have already fallen 10 percent from 2005 levels and are still heading down, even without Mr. Obama???s new rule.
It is clear Mr. Obama???s immediate goal is not to solve the emissions problem, but to get the country moving faster in the right direction. The new rule alone offers little hope that the United States and other nations can achieve cuts on a scale required to meet the internationally agreed limit on global warming. But experts say that achieving the pledge Mr. Obama made in Copenhagen ??? a 17 percent reduction in the nation???s greenhouse gases by 2020, compared with the 2005 level ??? would be quite likely, if his plan survives.
Yes, you’ll be whipped into “moving fast in the right direction,” whether you like it or not – a mindset utterly alien to the constitutional Republic inherited by the previous generation of Americans, and stolen from this one. You’ll soon receive lists of a variety of other areas in which you and your elected representatives no longer have any say in what the “right direction” is, or how fast we should be moving that way. King Barack has decreed that we shall have a cap-and-trade scheme; the American people disagreed; His Majesty lost patience after five years of arguing with the peasants; the peasants will now shut up and obey.
Say this much for the Church of Global Warming: they know how to put a high opening bid on the table. Their bat-crap-insane talking-point “goals” are designed to make them seem reasonable when they merely settle for a recessionary economy, instead of a depression.
The Times thinks all these lost American jobs and higher energy prices are a reasonable price for the Little People to pay, in order to reclaim “the mantle of international leadership in battling climate change.” You do remember voting to kill off a few million jobs and empty out your pockets to reclaim that mantle, don’t you? No? You say you remember Barack Obama offering a lot of phony blather about how he was going to create all sorts of jobs and lead America into a golden age of growth? Remember when he slithered through a presidential debate by promising to hook college students up with manufacturing jobs? Well, you can’t say it’s the first time he played you for a fool. If you like your prosperity, you can keep your prosperity.
As for all those manufacturing jobs Obama was going to hand out to his worthy young subjects… guess which sector just “unexpectedly lost steam” in May? Just wait until higher energy prices, and the compliance cost of dealing with a massive new regulatory regime, hits them. A bigger government presiding over a smaller, lower-employment private sector scrambling to pay for scarcer, more expensive energy, more of the lower middle class tumbling into jobless dependency, an endgame that puts a less mobile American public at the mercy of wind and sun while their rulers soar overhead in private jets… there’s plenty for socialists to love in this plan, but there’s no reason anyone else should be happy about it.
Update: There’s some speculation that the Administration is putting these carbon emission regulations out there to give endangered red-state Democrats a political pinata to swing at – they can all posture as defenders of coal, energy, and manufacturing by attacking a lunatic policy emitted by an unpopular President. I’m a bit skeptical of that logic, for four reasons:
1. Barack Obama does not think that way. He’s not going to make himself into a political punching bag to save his Party in the midterm elections.
2. I doubt voters are gullible enough to fall for that kind of theater, especially when Democrats are already wearing ObamaCare around their necks. It’s effectively impossible for endangered Democrats to separate themselves from Barack Obama in the minds of any but the dimmest voters. It’s tough for a Party to distance itself from its President under any circumstances, but it’s especially tough for 2014 Democrats.
3. One of the reasons it’s tough for a party to throw its titular leader under the bus is that voters dislike chaos. A party scrambling to run for the hills, scattering in a variety of directions, to get away from a six-year presidential shadow projects neurosis, not capable leadership. If Democrat “rebels” forced Obama to scrap his stupid carbon emissions rule, it would turn him into a laughingstock, and that would hurt every Democrat candidate, including the “rebels” – plus they get burned by the scorched-earth media campaign Obama will wage against critics of the Earth-saving regulations. And if they can’t actually muscle Obama into scuttling these rules, what voter is going to be impressed by how tall their local “moderate Democrat” stood against the White House?
4. Billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer owns the Democrat Party now, and he’s not going to let endangered “moderate” candidates kill his cherished green legislation.