Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Crushing the Poor and Middle Class with the EPA

My article from the Aug. 5 issue of FrontPageMag:

Crushing the Poor and Middle Class with the EPA

By Matthew Vadum

President Obama is surreptitiously colluding with radical anti-growth environmentalists to force ideologically driven carbon-emission controls on the energy industry that will devastate the U.S. economy, congressional investigators have discovered.
As the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) drew up rules aimed at limiting carbon emissions from power-generation plants, "key stakeholders — including the American public — had little to no influence over the debate while powerful environmental activist groups were given unprecedented access to and influence over administration officials," the Washington Times reported yesterday.
Collusion between the EPA and the green's isn't exactly breaking news. They've been doing it for years, but the study "makes clear that the EPA and top environmental groups see themselves as deeply intertwined in the push to cut carbon pollution and pursue other pieces of President Obama’s broad, controversial climate-change agenda." 
This and basically everything Obama has done in office are part of a metaphorical war on Americans that hits those at the middle and bottom rungs of the socioeconomic ladder the hardest. These radicals want to work a fundamental transformation of America by making people suffer.
Obama's stated goal is to crush those companies that generate power and to effectively dynamite the nation's coal mines on the theory that burning coal to generate electricity produces atmospheric pollution that goes beyond arbitrarily determined acceptable levels. This delights the powerful green groups pulling the strings in what used to be the tobacco smoke-filled backrooms of the United States Capitol.
Signaling he would be a tool of the environmentalist movement that for so long has had a death-grip on the policymaking process, early in the 2008 presidential campaign Obama told reporters straight-out that his plans would cause energy prices to "necessarily skyrocket."
"Because I’m capping greenhouse gases, coal power plants, you know, natural gas, you name it — whatever the plants were, whatever the industry was, uh, they would have to retrofit their operations. That will cost money," he told the San Francisco Chronicle
"They will pass that money [sic] on to consumers," the economically illiterate Community Organizer-in-Chief said confusing the concept of money with added production costs.
The report by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is titled "Obama's Carbon Mandate:  an account of collusion, cutting corners, and costing Americans billions."
The committee got its hands on documents from the EPA and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) that demonstrate the federal agency's unseemly efforts to avoid accountability in its effort to slap aggressive restrictions on industries that emit carbon dioxide, the same benign gas you exhale from your lungs and that supports photosynthesis, the process by which plants grow. The greens disingenuously contend it is a nasty pollutant that is causing the earth's atmosphere to warm. 
The report states:
These documents reveal excessive email exchanges on not only official government accounts but also use of private or alias accounts by senior EPA officials, meetings at EPA and off-site locations, and phone calls between NRDC and EPA staff dating back to early 2011 ... these exchanges demonstrate how EPA and NRDC sought to push the outer limits of EPA’s Clean Air Act authority and to develop the analysis on which these highly controversial and legally suspect proposals are based. 
Predictably, the perennially dishonest EPA and NRDC say they did nothing wrong and claim that all of this is part of the regular regulatory process. Move along; nothing to see here. Of course, they're lying. That's what Saul Alinsky disciples do.
The documents also showed that "EPA policy makers and environmental activists involved had cozy relationships with each other on not only a personal level but through like-minded activism from years of working together." Though the agency and NRDC may not have always agreed on tactics, "they worked incessantly over the years to develop a unified public message in support of these rules."
Among such efforts were coordination on media responses and discussions with the Obama White House on messaging. The parties involved tried "to shift the public debate away from using cap-and-trade to fight climate change to touting these rules as needed to limit carbon emissions from power plants to ostensibly improve public health."
In 2013 Obama initiated "an all-hands-on-deck climate strategy" in the form of the president's Climate Action Plan "to quiet threats of additional litigation from environmental activists and to set in motion executive action for what he could not achieve through legislation" in order to carry out his campaign promise to tackle climate change.
This is what is called "lawfare," a portmanteau of "lawsuit" and "warfare," a process in which administration allies sue the government in order to achieve a policy objective. In this case the legal proceedings were not unwelcome. Lawfare typically involves what amounts to "hard sell" or high pressure sales tactics. On a contrived, expedited timeline based on a false claim that action is urgently needed, the administration connived with green groups in a "sue-and-settle" arrangement that advanced the groups' objectives. In the process, the EPA excluded "other interested parties and the public and short-circuit[ed] a more deliberate rulemaking process," the report stated.
Critics have assailed Obama's economically suicidal plan that seeks to reduce U.S. power plants' carbon dioxide emissions by 30 percent by the year 2030. 
The director of the Cato Institute's Center of Study of Science, Patrick Michaels, tweeted that "Using EPA's own policy analysis model, Obama's Clean Power Plan proposal will prevent a grand total of 0.03 [degrees Celsius] warming by the year 2100."
Another Cato scholar, Paul Knappenberger, decried the plan, noting that the bulk of carbon emissions originate from the developing world and that no matter what the U.S. government does it won't put a dent in emissions overall.
Knappenberger asserted that the plan calls for the deliberate retardation of human development and "the plan's actual impact on climate turns out to be largely undetectable and the public health benefits tenuous, at best."
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) released a statement describing the policy as "another blow to the economy and to the Middle-Class." These "regressive regulations ... are set to harm struggling workers and families," are are projected to cost billions of dollars.

He continued:
They threaten to ship good Middle-Class jobs overseas. They’ll likely make it harder to maintain reliable sources of energy to meet demand. They’ll also likely to result in higher energy bills for those who can least afford them, potentially raising electricity rates by double digits for the people I represent. All this, for what? Not only will these massive regulations fail to meaningfully affect the global climate, but they could actually end up harming the environment by outsourcing energy production to countries with poor environmental records like India and China. They may also be illegal.
The reason for Obama's hard sell is obvious: despite years of warmist propaganda, Americans aren't buying the hype. They remain unconvinced despite the media's nonstop, years-long, global warming propaganda assault and the presence of a radical, lawless left-winger in the White House. The voters can't be bothered to care about this silly, bogus global warming issue.
While many Americans may accept than manmade global warming is real and poses perhaps some kind of minor, vague threat far off in the future, they don't believe the problem is serious enough to warrant spending money, according to the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. "The American public routinely ranks dealing with global warming low on its list of priorities for the president and Congress." In 2013 "it ranked at the bottom of the 21 [issues] tested."
The attack on carbon emissions is really an attack on markets and capitalism. After the Soviet Union collapsed, radical left-wingers no longer had what they considered to be a noble cause worth striving for. Socialist and neo-communist activists almost overnight began trying to rebrand their ignoble objectives as common sense moves that would save a planet that doesn't actually need saving.
It needs to be said that environmentalism today is more or less by definition pathological and misanthropic. 
At its core the environmentalist ethos holds that human beings function as destructive parasites whose very existence degrades the beautiful and still relatively pristine planet on which we all live. These activists want to use regulations to limit economic growth because they insist such growth is necessarily bad for all living things, including the earth. Many adhere to the more radical "deep ecology" school of thought, a strain of neo-Ludditism that seeks to de-industrialize the planet and humble arrogant mankind. 
Ignoring earthquakes, tidal waves, and hurricanes, they regard the earth as a virtuous, benevolent living organism and some worship it outright as a deity (Gaia). These de-industrializers don't care that in the future their plans will cause the deaths of hundreds of millions of people from starvation and other causes as the earth's human population surges. In fact, some of them state openly that the extinction of humans, as opposed to bugs, mammals, and plants, is a glorious and worthy goal.
This hatred of humanity also animates the "anti-consumerist" magazine, Adbusters, which was instrumental in starting the ultra-violent, economically regressive Occupy Wall Street movement in September 2011.
It is depressing that the sane people, among them conservatives, who recognize that markets raise the standard of living and empower people all over the world, are hopelessly outgunned by the enviro-left.
As David Horowitz and Jacob Laksin reported in their book, The New Leviathan, in the world of environmental activism, there are 32 major conservative groups that “promote market-friendly solutions” and 552 progressive groups that “promote radical views that are anti-business.” 
Collectively, the conservative groups have net assets of $38.24 million, a figure that seems insignificant compared to the $9.31 billion figure representing the progressive groups’ combined net assets. The progressive environmental groups enjoy a 37 to 1 advantage over conservative environmental groups in revenues ($3.56 billion compared to $96.17 million).
After Obama has left office, these left-wing green groups will fight tooth-and-nail to preserve the spectacularly ruinous policies he implemented. They will have mountains of cash from anti-American hedge fund manager George Soros to back them up.
Even if a conservative finds his way into the White House in January 2017, it is far from clear if he or she will be able to do much about all the damage Obama has done to civil society, the economy and industry, and the rule of law. 
We're so far gone already, just as our Marxist president always wanted.

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