It’s good to know that the president has taken note of the unemployment rate and plans to focus on jobs. But as William Yeatman notes at the New York Post, we didn’t expect the “focus” to come in the form of cross-hairs. While I maintain that there are many areas where government is largely powerless to directly impact employment, there are a few where it can exert tremendous influence. This only becomes a problem when Washington chooses to actively eliminate or bar the creation of jobs.

President Obama claims to see the need to create jobs at this time of endless 9-plus percent unemployment — yet his administration continues to relentlessly destroy jobs for ideological reasons. The best example may be the Obama Environmental Protection Agency’s “war on coal.”

The EPA’s regulatory crusade directly threatens hundreds of thousands of jobs — and “rolling blackouts” that threaten even more.

Start with a proposed regulation under the Clean Air Act that’s set to be finalized in November. The Utility MACT (“Maximum Achievable Control Technology”) rule seeks to cut US power plants’ emissions of mercury from 29 tons a year to just five. Yet EPA itself estimates that cutting even as much as 41 tons out of total emissions of 105 tons “is unlikely to substantially affect total risk.”

This report isn’t startling for any of the individual items on the menu, but more for the way it assembles the series of egregious errors in energy policy we’ve seen over the last couple of years. There is a pattern here, and it adds up to one missed opportunity after another.

  • The Utility MACT – a pointless exercise providing nearly zero tangible benefit, even in environmental terms, which is poised to place roughly one quarter million jobs in danger.
  • The EPA’s Cross State Air Pollution Rule – Unleashed on Texas with almost no warning, the new rules require them to institute crippling changes in only six months when even the most optimistic analyst felt it would take a minimum of three years. Plants will be shut down, the power grid will be starved and jobs will go up in [the lack of] smoke.
  • Attacking Appalachian coal mining operations under the guise of saving a short-lived, not endangered insect. 15,000 more jobs getting ready to end.

And the war on coal doesn’t even include related maneuvers such as jacking up vehicle mileage standards against the input of scientists and engineers who insist the demands are beyond the bounds of reason. All of this translates to an ideological agenda which achieves the precise opposite of what the administration now claims as its focus: lowering the unemployment rate.