As expected, the major regulatory proposal in President Obama's push to end the use of coal to produce 40 percent of the nation's electricity was announced yesterday to very mixed reviews.
On the one hand, Obama's cheerleaders in the environmental movement and the media predictably hailed the proposal, as Third Way's Joshua Freed put it, as "quite pragmatic and quite centrist."
But just as predictably, as the Washington Free Beacon's Lachlan Markay reported, others weren't so happy, with United Mine Workers of America President Cecil Roberts predicting "long-term and irreversible job losses for thousands of coal miners, electrical workers, utility workers, boilermakers, railroad workers and others without achieving any significant reduction of global greenhouse gas emissions.”
Both can't be right
So is the Obama proposal a pragmatic and centrist way to deal with global warming, or an economic calamity for hundreds of thousands of American families that will achieve little or nothing to improve the environment?
Don't expect a straight answer to that question from the Obama administration, because the president himself appears to have lapsed back into his disastrous "if you like your health insurance, you can keep it — period" mode.
That's seen in a claim Obama made Monday during a conference call with the American Lung Association concerning his proposal's likely effect on utility rates.
The elephant in the living room
According to The Wall Street Journal's Amy Harder, Obama said his proposal "provides a huge incentive for states and consumers to become more energy efficient. As a result, your electricity bills will shrink, as these standards will spur investment in energy efficiency and cutting waste."
That's the exact opposite of what Obama said in a 2008 editorial board meeting at the San Francisco Chronicle: "Under my plan of a cap-and-trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.”
Obama's cheerleaders will no doubt defend him by claiming in 2008 he was referring to a different form of cap-and-trade compared to the state-level cap-and-trade system he's proposed in 2014.
Utility bills will go up
The conversion will be costly and those costs will be passed directly to consumers. The conversion will also take years to complete, meaning relief won't be coming for several election cycles.
Put it all together and the political fallout from Obama's coal-industry killing power-plant regulation could dwarf the political problems created for Democrats by his endless delays of the Keystone XL pipeline.
On today's washingtonexaminer.com
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The Federalist: The paradox of expertise.
The American Prospect: Is "The Fault In Our Stars" author John Green this generation's pop philosopher?
Yid With Lid: Jay Carney's top 10 lies to the American people.
The Marginal Revolution: On Scotland's independence.
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