June 11 2010

So Much for Focusing on Job Creation

Carrie L. Lukas

Yesterday, the Senate voted against a resolution which would have prevented the EPA from regulating carbon as a pollutant. Reason previously ran this article which described how EPA came to declare carbon a pollutant and the arbitrary way that they were considering enforcing it. Reason had another good roundup of the consequences of this latest vote to allow EPA to move forward with these new regulations:

Now that the resolution has failed, beginning in July 2011 the EPA will start requiring some 15,000 carbon emitters, including coal-fired electricity generation plants, oil refineries, cement manufacturers, and solid waste landfills to have permits for their emissions. This requirement would affect entities that emit about 70 percent of the country's greenhouse gases. The new rules require emitters to use the "best available technology" to control their emissions.

Top-down centralized pollution control regulations are notoriously expensive and cumbersome. The Obama administration and the Democratic leadership will now use the EPA "stick" to beat Congress into voting for slightly less onerous cap-and-trade carbon rationing.

Whether these new regulations are really a way to push companies to submit to a Congressional cap-and-trade plan or if they are an end in themselves, this is very bad news for the economy. We already have anemic job creation (other than government jobs, which are another drain on taxpayers) and high unemployment. We also have an exploding national debt, which high unemployment will make worse.

Yet Congress and the Administration are moving to create new regulatory burdens on companies and drive energy costs higher, all in the name of addressing a problem which may or may not actually exist.

While politicians debate the effects of cap-and-trade and other plans to push up energy costs, the public should consider what's been happening in California, where they are about to implement a cap-and-trade plan of their own. Government analysts are reluctantly revealing that, yes, in fact this kind of policy is a net job killer.

The Administration insists that it's focused on creating jobs. It's easier to believe that they are focused on destroying them.

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