Biden Administration Indifferent to Pain of Average Americans
Although I am a lifelong conservative, the Democrats I have known over the years were proud to consider their party the defender of working men and women. I may have thought their policies were not suited to the task, but I never thought I would see the day when Democrat officials actually bragged about blue-collar workers losing jobs.
That day has arrived.
At the Aspen Ideas Festival on June 29, Gina McCarthy, President Biden’s National Climate Advisor and former President Obama’s head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), touted “fossil fuels losing jobs.”
I have warned that job losses would be the outcome of policies proposed by the administrations in which she has served. It is surprising, however, that she would openly talk about such things as a positive.
Our region has seen job losses thanks to those policies. For example, Obama-era EPA regulations forced the shutdown of a power plant in Glen Lyn in Giles County in 2015, which at the time employed 31 people and had employed more in the past. Closure of that plant negatively affected jobs and businesses in the surrounding community, too, and contributed to rising energy costs.
Within a month of the closure, the Supreme Court rejected the EPA’s rules that had caused it, but the damage was already done.
The Supreme Court’s recent decision in West Virginia v. EPA was a welcome rebuke to progressive attempts to regulate fossil fuel jobs out of existence. Unfortunately, once again much of the damage has already been done. The so-called Clean Power Plan at the heart of the case had been proposed in 2014 and finalized in 2015. Although it had been the subject of reversals by the Trump Administration and litigation before the Court finally ruled it unconstitutional, it still impacted the power sector.
The general response of Biden Administration officials to job losses and higher consumer prices thanks to its energy policies is a shrug and an attempt to distract.
John Kerry, whose job as “Special Presidential Envoy for Climate” seems to consist chiefly of flying by carbon-emitting private jets to other countries to tell them to reduce carbon emissions, infamously suggested that laid-off oil and gas workers can just go to work making solar panels. Even the Washington Post’s Fact Checker noted that Kerry exaggerated demand for jobs in solar and wind, median pay in these industries is lower than in fossil fuel sectors, and considerable job retraining would be needed.
President Biden and his Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg, continue to insist that the solution for high gas prices is for Americans to pay for electric vehicles. The average transaction price of an electric vehicle this January was $62,876, according to a Wall Street Journal article citing Kelley Blue Book data, putting that option out of reach for most Americans.
If you choose to keep your gasoline-powered vehicle and not shell out almost the median average U.S. household income ($64,994 in 2020 dollars, according to the U.S. Census Bureau) for an electric vehicle, the Biden Administration has little to offer you.
A recent slight fall in gas prices has been attributed largely to consumers adjusting their usage downward, not actions of President Biden, and in any event is expected to be temporary. Releases from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve have only succeeded in draining inventories in this stockpile meant for emergencies to their lowest level since 1986.
President Biden blames this mess on Vladimir Putin, a laughable claim when U.S. retail gas prices according to the Energy Information Administration had already risen from $2.42 in January 2021, the month he was sworn in, to $3.41 in January 2022, the month before Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
The indifferent attitude of President Biden and his staff to the pain of average Americans is reminiscent of Marie Antoinette allegedly commenting, “Let them eat cake.” Then again, rising food prices may make even cake too expensive for average Americans, but the subject of food inflation is best left for another column.
If you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to contact my office. You can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405, my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671, or my Washington office at 202-225-3861. To reach my office via email, please visit my website at www.morgangriffith.house.gov. Also on my website is the latest material from my office, including information on votes recently taken on the floor of the House of Representatives.