Obama arranging deck chairs on the Titanic: Says ‘EPA regs create jobs’
posted at 12:46 pm on January 13, 2012 by Howard Portnoy
On August 10, 2011, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said with a straight face that extending unemployment compensation creates jobs. Several days later, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack made the same outrageous claim for food stamps.
Now the torch has been passed to the president himself, who told employees of the Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday that EPA regulations are good for the economy and create jobs [h/t CNS.News.com].
In this video clip from the speech, Obama proclaims:
When we put in place new common-sense rules to reduce air pollution, we create new jobs building and installing all sorts of pollution-control technology.
Really? Around the time that economists Carney and Vilsack were delivering themselves of their learned opinions on unemployment checks and food stamps, an article appeared in the New York Times glumly noting that “federal and state efforts to stimulate creation of green jobs have largely failed.” The article cited a study by the Brookings Institution which concedes, moreover:
The clean economy remains an enigma: hard to assess. Not only do ‘green’ or ‘clean’ activities and jobs related to environmental aims pervade all sectors of the U.S. economy; they also remain tricky to define and isolate—and count.
The report goes on to note that in at least one region of the nation , the area around Silicon Valley, the green sector actually lost rather than gained jobs.
None of this has shaken Obama’s faith in the connection between economic vitality and the greening of America. As he tells his audience elsewhere in his prepared remarks:
When we put in place new emissions standards for our vehicles, we make sure that the cars of tomorrow are going to be built right here in the United States of America, that we’re going to win that race.
Smart of the president to couch his claim in the future tense, because in the present tense his arguments are not consistent with reality. Spreadsheet data from a report compiled by CNW Marketing Research reveal a sharp drop in the enthusiasm level of prospective electric vehicle owners toward America’s current “car of tomorrow,” the Chevy Volt. The percentage of owners “very unlikely” to buy a Volt increased from 6.1% in March 2011 to 35.4% in December 2011. According to Torque News, American car owners are far more predisposed to owning the Japanese-built Nissan Leaf, which costs less and delivers more in the way of style.
At one point in his speech Obama states that “we don’t have to choose between dirty air and dirty water or a growing economy.” Ordinarily, I would dismiss this as one of his straw man arguments, but in this case his point is legitimate—and mistaken in its intended bottom line. The nation and world teeter on the brink of economic Armageddon. The recovery at home, such as it is, has been called the worst since the Great Depression. The nation’s debt is at a record high.
For now, we need a plan to put Americans back to work by resorting to whatever means are necessary. In other words, we do have to choose between a dirty environment and growing the economy, if that’s what it comes to, and we have to make the right choice.
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