While all eyes were on the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., and Hurricane Isaac on the Gulf Coast, the White House was quietly jacking up the price of automobiles and putting future drivers at risk.
Yes, the same cast of fable-tellers who falsely accused GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney of murdering a steelworker's cancer-stricken wife is now directly imposing a Draconian environmental regulation that will cost untold American lives.
On Tuesday, the administration announced that it had finalized "historic" new fuel-efficiency standards. (Everything's "historic" with these narcissists, isn't it?) President Obama took a break from his historic fundraising drives to proclaim that "[By] the middle of the next decade, our cars will get nearly 55 miles per gallon, almost double what they get today. It'll strengthen our nation's energy security, it's good for middle-class families and it will help create an economy built to last."
Jon Carson, director of Obama's Office of Public Engagement, took to Twitter to hype how "auto companies support the higher fuel-efficiency standards" and how the rules crafted behind closed doors will "save consumers $8,000" per vehicle. His source for these claims? The New York Times, which has acknowledged it allows the Obama campaign to have "veto power" over reporters' quotes from campaign officials.
And whom did the Times cite for the claim that the rules will "save consumers $8,000?"? Why, Obama's administration, of course! "The administration estimated that the new standards would save Americans $1.7 trillion in fuel costs," the Times dutifully regurgitated, "resulting in an average savings of more than $8,000 a vehicle by 2025."
Obama's number-massagers cite phony-baloney cost savings that rely on developing future fuel-saving technology. Given this crony government's abysmal track record with "investing" in new technologies (cough -- Solyndra -- cough), we can safely dismiss that fantasy math. What is real for consumers is the $2,000 per vehicle added cost that the new fuel standards will impose now. That figure comes from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, and the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA. War on Middle-Class Consumers, anyone?
Beyond the White House-media lapdog echo chamber, the economic and public safety objections to these sweeping rules are long grounded and well-founded.
For years, free-market analysts and government statisticians have warned of the deadly effect of increasing Corporate Average Fuel Economy, or CAFE, standards. Sam Kazman at the Competitive Enterprise Institute explained a decade ago: "[T]he evidence on this issue comes from no less a body than the National Academy of Sciences, which issued a report last August finding that CAFE contributes to between 1,300 and 2,600 traffic deaths per year. Given that this program has been in effect for more than two decades, its cumulative toll is staggering."
H. Sterling Burnett, of the National Center for Policy Analysis, adds that NHTSA data indicate that "322 additional deaths per year occur as a direct result of reducing just 100 pounds from already-downsized small cars, with half of the deaths attributed to small car collisions with light trucks/sport utility vehicles." USA Today further calculated that the "size and weight reductions of passenger vehicles undertaken to meet current CAFE standards had resulted in more than 46,000 deaths."
These lethal regulations should be wrapped in yellow police "CAUTION" tape. The trade-offs are stark and simple: CAFE fuel standards clamp down on the production of larger, more crash-worthy cars. Analysts from Harvard to the Brookings Institution to the federal government itself have arrived at the same conclusion: CAFE kills.
Examiner Columnist Michelle Malkin, author of "Culture of Corruption: Obama and his Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks & Cronies," is nationally syndicated by Creators Syndicate.