by Jon Sanders
Director of the Center for Food, Power, and Life, Research Editor, John Locke Foundation
To start with, today’s editorial should be enough for The News & Observer to wave goodbye to any future claims for caring about the poor, the economy, jobs, consumer prices, or holding onto their last gossamer thread of deniability of not being reflexive yes men for the Obama administration, etc. And I don’t just mean goodbye in the see-you-soon sense, I mean goodbye in the Johnny Paycheck, take-it-and-shove-it sense.
The editorial is to explain why, as the headline argues, the EPA’s 645-page proposed carbon dioxide rule is “reasonable and necessary.” Its opening lines cheer the rule by putting it on the same rarefied (in their minds only) plane as Obamacare.
Friends, when your gold standard of “reasonable and necessary” is the Affordable Care Act, your metric is warped into irredeemable inversion.
The newspaper parrots the rule’s justifications as if they’re shibboleths for administration water carriers. This sentence stands out in that respect: “Between clearing the air and slowing climate change, the rules will offer health and economic benefits that will far outweigh the cost of compliance.”
But it is in the bottom section, subheaded “Baseless fear-mongering,” where the editorial reveals a sore lack of magical ability or mind trickery to turn fatuous pronouncements into perceived reality.
It’s the sort of conundrum that George Lucas was able to solve, at least in a long-ago land in a far-off galaxy. Put simply, the N&O’s statements desperately need a Kenobian hand wave to persuade. Try them now:
Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the minority leader, called the proposal a “dagger in the heart of the American middle class and to representative democracy itself.” McConnell repeated power industry claims that reducing carbon emissions would mean higher utility rates and would eliminate jobs.
But this is baseless fear-mongering.
The rules are a reasonable response to immediate health concerns and long-term climate issues.
Ultimately, less reliance on coal will improve energy efficiency and help the health of not only the nation but also the nation’s economy.
But not even the ultimate Jedi mind trick could salvage EPA administrator Gina McCarthy’s statement at the end:
“Over four decades, EPA has cut air pollution by 70 percent, and the economy has more than tripled,” she said. “Climate action doesn’t actually dull America’s competitive edge, it sharpens it.”