All presidents are remembered for something. Sometimes the memories are good, sometimes not. Their legacies often mean different things to different people. Barack Obama will have a range of people who think he did great things for the country but many more who think he did bad things against the people and country.
With the mess that is Obamacare getting worse by the month, and a whole range of scandals littering the trail behind him, including opening the floodgates to illegal immigrants, he needs something else to work on.
It is hard to tell what is really going through his mind, but what we do know is that he has a new energy policy. What is unknown is whether that policy is meant to help America, appease his far-left base or just shore up his tattered legacy.
As had been expected, his administration announced a proposal Monday that they say would drastically reduce carbon emissions at existing power plants. Their goal is to slash 30 percent off emissions by 2030 compared to 2005 levels. Obviously, this proposal is aimed at coal-fired plants, those that are generally the dirtiest, but the lowest cost power producers. Under his plan, the price of power will rise, and it is known the reductions will affect lower-income Americans the most.
Diana Furchtgott-Roth, a former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor and a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, says the poor will be most impacted by this proposal. She said Americans in the lowest fifth of income distribution spend 24 percent of their income on energy, but the top fifth only spend 4 percent of their income on energy. The proposal, which will likely face stiff opposition in Congress, is a new version of Obama’s ‘cap and trade’ idea that he floated early in his presidency.
In a story at Real Clear Markets, Furchtgott-Roth wrote, “Obama’s new proposed cuts in carbon emissions, in the form of ‘cap-and-trade’ proposals that were rejected by the Democratic House and Senate in the first two years of his presidency, will raise the cost of energy, particularly electricity, and hit the poor hardest.”
This is another one of Barack Obama’s dictatorial commands, that bypassed Congress, and it will harm those who he professes to care the most about – the poor, including the millions on food stamps, but it could be that he doesn’t need them now that he is in his second term.
Some coal producing states, including West Virginia and Kentucky, are represented by Democrats, and they are up for election in November. It will be interesting to see how they weasel out of this. Obama’s plan may be secretly welcomed by republicans, because it would mandate every state to meet the new emissions target. Republicans won’t be happy about the mandate, but they will be happy that it could cause damage to Democrat reelection campaigns, while boosting Republicans, who would oppose the change.
The changes would have the effect of increasing costs for energy companies. It could easily dampen investment in renewable energy sources and reduce consumer demand, by jacking up prices and leaving people with less money to spend – either on luxuries or necessities.
Obama may even invest in more Solyndra-like projects at taxpayer expense.
Alternative energy is still in its infancy. Wind power is inefficient, and usually is a blot on the landscape. Some say it is a threat to the health of people who live or work near the turbines, and at this stage, it is a serious threat to the nation’s economy. Electricity from solar power is twice as expensive as from natural gas.
The nation’s poor – and there are many – will bear the brunt.
Has this been thought out or is it an election ploy to bolster the green vote, even at the expense of the poor? They may be counting on it only having an effect after the election is over. How will they sell it to people who have a vision longer than just a few months away? If they can’t, it may well be a disaster for Democrats.
New coal plants could not be built without the expenditure of additional billions of dollars, and many existing plants will close, according to Furchtgott-Roth.
Closing those plants, and preventing the building of new ones will lead to massive job losses in coal mining, oil and gas extraction, gas utilities, and petroleum refining, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Also, unsaid by most pundits, is the obvious conclusion that there may not be enough power to meet demand, and there may be blackouts ahead. Needless to say, they will be at the worst possible time.
When could the worst possible time be?
Winter, when there is little sun for solar power and wind turbines are iced up, and existing coal and gas-fired plants have been shot down.
It is obvious that Republicans would complain about Obama’s plan. Kentucky Senator and minority leader Mitch McConnell says Obama’s plan is “a dagger in the heart of the American middle class.” Democrats, who normally back Obama on everything he says or does, are now seeing the danger of connecting themselves to crazy ideas that have no benefit for their constituents. McConnell’s Democratic opponent for the election this November, is Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes. She ridiculed the Obama administration’s proposal as “more proof that Washington isn’t working for Kentucky,” according to NBC News.
Economist Furchtgott-Roth says energy company expenditures will be very bad for the economy. She says they will play a major part in upward pressure on prices of domestic goods, opening the door for cheap Chinese imports to undercut American producers even more than they already do.
Furchtgott-Roth warned, “For those concerned about economic growth, poverty, and inequality, cap-and-trade makes no sense, either nationally or regionally.”
Obama may not be concerned about moving more jobs offshore, because it won’t happen until after the election. The poor will just be “collateral damage” as he panders to the green vote, and his advisors probably expect that staunch democrats will vote for him no matter what he does.
Obama will be hoping for a better green turnout for him. Democrats will be hoping not to be destroyed by the move and Republicans will be hoping for a massive turnout of their own, in opposition to Obama and his administration, so they can take the Senate and scores of House seats.