The old saying that liberals love jobs but hate employers is borne out as President Obama implements new air standards. Industry will bear the brunt, but consumers and blue-collar workers will feel a pinch, too.
A study sponsored by NERA Economic Consulting, a nonpartisan research group, found that about 4 million jobs would be jeopardized by the new rules over the next 25 years — equal to putting every worker in Ohio out of work.
The National Association of Manufacturers estimates GDP losses would be $140 billion a year lower through 2040.
This is madness. The growth rate is already too low to create the jobs needed and pay raises Americans want. This plan would drive GDP growth now at a measly 2% to 1.3%, close to recession territory.
More than 200 major business groups have pleaded with Obama to stop, or at least delay, the new rules until the economy is sturdier. Makes sense, but Obama scoffed at them and sided with his radical green friends.
These hefty costs might be justified if they were going to significantly improve air quality and enhance Americans’ health. But the ozone is already heavily regulated.
The current standard for ground-level ozone is set at 75 parts per billion — among the world’s most stringent; the new rules call for 65-70 parts per billion. If states don’t comply with the EPA dictates, they lose federal highway dollars that belong to them in the first place.
And for what? Air quality in America has vastly improved. Since 1980, air pollutants have fallen by 62% and ozone emissions by a third. EPA needs to learn the law of diminishing returns — that further reductions in emissions get extremely expensive for tiny social gains.
There’s a hidden agenda here that Obama and his EPA won’t admit. This isn’t about cleaning the air we breathe; it’s another knife in the back of energy producers by adding dramatically to the cost of oil, gas, coal and electricity in order to force “green” energy alternatives on the economy.
Obama told us his energy policies would “necessarily” raise electricity and gasoline prices, and he’s delivering on that promise. But wasn’t green energy supposed to create jobs, not destroy them by the millions?
This is the third in a trifecta of hypercostly regulation imposed on our energy producers in just three months. The first was aimed at coal plants and the second at natural gas production. The Obama left just doesn’t stop.
Let’s hope voters remember this when Democrats pontificate about how much they care about America’s working class, how they want higher wages and how outraged they are that U.S. companies are outsourcing jobs to China, India and Mexico.
The way this president’s going, we won’t have any industry left when he vacates the White House.