As part of his campaign platform, Donald Trump pledged a renewed dedication to the non-renewable energy sector, with the underlying rationale that the nation would see more jobs as the result of responsible de-regulation of the proven energy sector. The rationale for reducing the size and regulatory influence of the EPA goes beyond appeasing his largely blue-collar base, a base who had seen their energy extraction and refinement sectors shrink under crushing EPA regulations.
Like almost every government agency, the EPA’s growth has continued regardless of the ideology of the sitting president. Since its inception in 1970, both funding for and the workforce populace of the Environmental Protection Agency has steadily risen, with a few exceptional years not curtailing this steady trend. While this trend hit its spending peak in 2010 – a year in which the agency was allotted an unprecedented $10,297,864,000 – and its workforce high-water mark in 2011 (17,359 employees on its payroll), the amount of regulations it imposed under President Obama represents the true toll that this department took on the fossil fuel industries.
Wrap your head around this: under Obama, nearly 4,000 new regulations were implemented. How backward could our energy policies have been upon his 2008 inauguration to warrant such drastic measures?
These regulations imposed crushing domestic job losses on the various industries upon which the world still relies for its energy. The Heritage Foundation estimates that coal, oil, and natural gas have accounted for 87% of the nation’s energy in the past 10 years, and with renewable energy sources far from proven, the cut-back of these industries through regulation would have many devastating costs. As the Heritage Foundation states, should Obama-era regulations be left un-tampered with, these costs would include:
‘-An average annual employment shortfall of nearly 300,000 jobs;
-A peak employment shortfall of more than 1 million jobs;
-A loss of more than $2.5 trillion (inflation-adjusted) in aggregate gross domestic product (GDP); and
-A total income loss of more than $7,000 (inflation-adjusted) per person.’
On both a micro and macro level, these policies are nothing short of economically irresponsible. On a family-to-family, person-to-person economic basis, they would be catastrophic. Yet, the 300,000 families whose jobs would have been lost to these policies were deemed dispensable, and to what end?
These regulations, which punish America’s citizenry, a nation of people and employers far from the most egregious in terms of global pollution, fail to address the nations who routinely pollute the planet with impunity. Remember, Al Gore says we’re trying to save the planet, not just America. So what good is punishing Americans if Indians, Chinese, Russians, and countless other wanton polluters merely go about their business?
The answer is that such regulations are no good at all. It’s not only that they represent an inconsequential drop in the bucket toward the causes of professed environmentalists. It’s also got to be considered that a depressed American economy resulting from these regulations would do further damage upon the already tenuous global marketplace.
Which is why President Trump vowed to roll back such regulations. These regulations irrefutably hurt American families, particularly the ones who switched from generational union Democrats to Trump-era Republicans precisely because they felt first-hand the shock of such red tape. So, President Trump made it one of his top priorities to put an end to this economic foot-shooting justified in the name of nonsensical, unevenly dispersed planet-saving agendas.
He started by removing America from the Paris Climate Accords, which according, again, to the Heritage Foundation, “would have raised energy prices, killed jobs and cost the average family of four $20,000 by 2035.”
Now, the Trump agenda to restore domestic energy extraction and production, and the jobs that come with those processes, has taken its next step. EPA head Scott Pruitt announced that the department is removing federal limits on carbon emissions for power plants, essentially eliminating a quota on how much energy they can produce. Limits on the amount of energy that can be output is a limit on the number of workers needed to facilitate the processes of productions.
See how rolling back regulations works, folks?
Not only that – and this is admittedly a bit looser logical line because of the international nature of the oil market – a greater supply of domestic energy can only be a net positive for the prices Americans pay for their energy. Prices that the previous administration, and climate change pushers in general, want to drive up artificially by placing a price on carbon, an unavoidable element in fossil fuels which is emitted when those fuels are used in vehicles and for other purposes.
Donald Trump said on the campaign trail that he is not going to punish Americans for consuming the energy they need to live – to power their homes, use their cars to get themselves to work and their kids to schools, etc. – and now he and EPA head Scott Pruitt are following through with action.
The likely result, according to rational-minded economists: a restoration of jobs, an uptick in the domestic and, in turn, global economies, and the aversion of carbon taxes that would have undeniably driven up the cost of energy for Americans.
The cost of carbon taxation, both at production and consumption levels are very real. Just ask Canadians, who face an estimated $3 billion contraction of their economy as a result of a leader hell-bent on taxing energy usage out the wazoo.
Fortunately, Americans made the choice in 2016 not to impose the same contraction, and the resulting economic and social ills, upon its own people.