When members of Congress return to Washington in September, they must confront the next budget challenge; a Continuing Resolution for FY 2012. While the top line discretionary spending level has already been agreed upon through the debt ceiling agreement, the specific levels of funding for each department and agency are still up for debate (or closed-door negotiations, in this case). Unfortunately, instead of prudently analyzing each line item of the budget through individual appropriations bills, as prescribed by the 1974 budget act, Congress will be forced to impetuously consider the entire federal budget in one bill. There is one line item that should not be disregarded throughout the process; cutting down the EPA.
Obama and his socialist minions at the EPA intuitively understand that energy production in general, and fossil fuels, in particular, serve as the lifeblood of a free and prosperous economy. This is why they have launched an inexorable war against our energy producers. By disrupting our energy productivity, and replacing it with no-growth, impotent green energy sources, Obama plans not only to destroy thousands of jobs within the energy sector, but millions of jobs throughout every facet of the economy – jobs that are so reliant on reliable and cheap energy. The only jobs that will be sparred are the ones of his green corporate cronies, such as Johnson Controls, the electric car battery manufacturer in Michigan that was paid a visit by Obama on Thursday.
Let's review some of the most recent sinister attempts by the EPA to discomfit our energy producers, kill jobs, and raise the cost of living on the very objects of their reprehensible class warfare.
The EPA has considerably diminished the volume of oil production in Alaska over the past view years. They are refusing to issue permits for drilling on and offshore, while encumbering the process with unrealistic regulations. These actions have triggered an alarming decrease in the flow of oil through the Alaska pipeline, threatening its future sustainability. Additionally, the EPA has delayed the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline for years, costing us thousands of jobs, cheap imports of oil-sands oil from our Canadian friends, and much-needed revenue to some heartland states.
What about natural gas? Even though shale fracking for natural gas has produced an unprecedented amount of jobs in North Dakota and Texas, while producing cheap energy for our hungry markets, EPA Director Lisa Jackson is seeking to destroy it. She is now collaborating with environmental extremists to terminate this revolutionary means of energy exploration indefinitely.
While oil has always been a target of the EPA, they have recently made it a priority to eradicate coal from our economy. Recently, following Obama's failure to pass cap and trade through Congress, the EPA has launched an aggressive effort to impose carbon-cutting compliance standards on the coal industry. These standards would either destroy the coal industry or precipitate a crippling increase in electricity rates on every home and business.
Concurrently, this job-killing behemoth is attempting to impose inordinate and unrealistic atmospheric ozone levels on all manufacturers in the country. According to the Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI, these new regulations could expunge $1 trillion in annual productivity from the economy and eliminate 7.3 million jobs. In light of the dismal manufacturing report that was published earlier this month, along with the decline of our exports, clearly these new regulations on manufacturing and energy would permanently revoke our status as a superpower.
Thus, the studies that suggest we are losing $1.75 trillion in annual wealth, or 12% of our GDP, as a result of onerous regulations, are outdated. One cannot possibly calculate the amount of income lost, or quantity the number of jobs destroyed as a result of new and pending EPA regulations from the Obama administration. When you add in Obama's proposed fuel emissions standards for trucks – which will be exacerbated by Obama's insidious efforts to raise the cost of fuel – transportation and delivery costs for virtually everything produced in this country will be insurmountable.
This is where Republicans in Congress can affect the debate and harness this historic opportunity to create jobs by cutting spending, and more precisely, cutting down burdensome government. Most average Americans are not stirred by discussions of budgets and unsustainable debt per se. They are focusing on the bread and butter issues and want to know how we will create jobs, grow income, and reduce the cost of living. Republicans have a superlative opportunity to link these issues to the debt crisis, by showing how reducing the size of government and eliminating officious programs, agencies, and regulatory schemes, will achieve the desired goals.
As we have pointed out before, not all spending cuts are created equal because our goal is something beyond debt savings; it is to limit destructive government. The EPA is clearly the most offensive and devious player in Obama's government. To that end, Republicans must stand firm in September by holding the line on their cuts to the EPA, along with the policy riders. They must articulate to the American people that their ultimate goal is not merely budget austerity; it is the creation of jobs and a prosperous way of living that is engendered by balanced budgets and limited government.
Moreover, Republican presidential candidates must take the lead on this issue by making it a centerfold of their messaging to voters. They must focus attention on how heavy-handed regulation, and eco-fascism, in particular, is killing our energy productivity, manufacturing, and transportation – the very essence of our economy. A perspective candidate’s views on regulations and energy policy should be a litmus test for conservatives.
As part of a jobs plan, the next president should propose replacing the Environmental Protection Agency with the Employment Protection Agency. Once the job-killing behemoth is neutralized, the new "EPA" would be given a mandate to investigate the hundreds of agencies, boards, offices, and commissions of the federal government, and target every superfluous job-killing, price-hiking regulation on the books. The new EPA should be given priority status before the Office of Management and Budget, which would adopt its recommendations as part of the annual budget.
As we inch closer to the presidential election, it won't be sufficient for candidates to express their support for spending cuts and budget austerity. As conservatives, we must complete our sentences by articulating how and why the very economic ills we are experiencing today – are caused by the government agencies funded by prodigal spending and serviced with debt. We must edify the public how downsizing government will lead to the most prosperity for all Americans and how it would provide them with the most job opportunities and the cheapest possible products and services.
The best place to start is with the EPA. According to the Competitive Enterprise Institute, there were 345 new rules promulgated by the EPA in 2010 alone. That is more than any other agency, and even more than any department except for the Treasury Department.
Whoever most effectively links limited government and free enterprise with job creation and prosperity – will be the next president.