A promise kept: More than 80K coal mining jobs lost during Obama's tenure

Hillary Clinton may be best known to a majority of American voters for being a liar, but the guy currently in charge at the White House can at least lay claim to a bit more honesty. Barack Obama made one promise during his original drive to the White House which he’s clearly made good on. As the Daily Caller reports, the President told us up front that he was going to bankrupt large sectors of the coal industry through global warming regulations and he’s delivered on that pledge in a big way.

This Labor Day, America has 83,000 fewer coal jobs and 400 coal mines than it did when Barack Obama was elected in 2008, showing that the president has followed through on his pledge to “bankrupt” the coal industry.

A 2015 study found the coal industry lost 50,000 jobs from 2008 to 2012 during Obama’s first term. During Obama’s second term, the industry employment in coal mining has fallen by another 33,300 jobs, 10,900 of which occurred in the last year alone, according to federal data. Currently, coal mining employs 69,460 Americans, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Much of the blame for the job losses is targeted at federal regulations aimed at preventing global warming, which caused coal power plants to go bankrupt, resulting in a sharp decline in the price of coal.

We’re reminded of a quote the President gave to the San Francisco Chronicle back in 2008 when he was running for office: “So if somebody wants to build a coal-powered plant, they can; it’s just that it will bankrupt them, because they’re going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.”

Let’s give the man credit for being good to his word.

And now Hillary Clinton is running to be his successor, essentially promising a third term for Barack Obama’s vision. And what did she tell us during the primary? We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.”

Why on Earth would you doubt her? Granted, she’s flip flopped on pretty much every issue under the sun, but on this point she’s been crystal clear. Clinton can try to “clarify” all she likes when she’s called out on this during debates. (Or press conferences, if she ever holds one this year.) But the facts are stubborn things. She’s in the pocket of the green energy crowd and if she’s given the mighty Pen of Executive Power she will be able to write the same sort of regulations that Barack Obama’s EPA has become famous for.

To be fair, the government isn’t entirely responsible for the closing of mines or the shuttering of coal powered plants. A certain amount of the downward pressure on that aspect of the energy sector is coming from unavoidable capitalist forces. As the United States expanded its oil production and became a global energy leader, prices dropped. This effect was particularly pronounced in the parallel industry of natural gas production. At this point it’s far cheaper to fire a power plant with natural gas than it was even five years ago and as coal plants reach retirement (or refurbishment) age, more and more are being converted to natural gas. The horizon for natural gas production is well into the 22nd century, so the energy industry sees little to no risk in converting to gas.

That’s as it should be. We live in a competitive, capitalist ecosystem and if coal can’t compete then it should dwindle naturally due to market forces. But that’s not good enough for liberals. They wanted Obama to drive a stake through the heart of the coal industry today, and he happily obliged. And now they want to hand off the hammer to Hillary Clinton.