For all his talk of job creation, President Obama has targeted many occupations for extinction. Using un-elected bureaucrats to implement a host of job-killing measures, his administration is generating piles of pink slips:
Oil: Even before the BP spill, Obama’s Interior Department had cracked down on domestic drilling. In 2009, regulators allowed less than $1 billion in new oil and natural gas leases on federally controlled areas — both onshore and offshore — compared to $10 billion under President George W. Bush the year before.
Then, in response to the Gulf spill in April, Obama slowed down things even further, with a moratorium on deep-water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. That proved so unpopular that the administration officially ended it — but it remains in force unofficially, as regulators bottle up drilling permits with red tape and delays, keeping workers idle. Most recently, Obama regulators placed the entire Atlantic and Pacific coasts off limits to drilling.
Factories: Rising regulatory burdens, energy prices and health-care costs — Obama has left no stone unturned in making American manufacturing globally less competitive and in forcing jobs overseas.
For example, several new Environmental Protection Agency permit requirements have shut down the construction of coal-fired power plants needed to provide manufacturers with affordable electricity. Jeffrey Holmstead, a former top air-quality EPA official, noted that in 2009 the incoming Obama bureaucrats “withdrew permits that had already been issued,” and that “dozens are being held up today because they have no way to meet a new standard that EPA has put out.”
It will soon get worse. A barrage of new regulations, including measures intended to address global warming, will hit in January 2011 — directly targeted manufacturers, and far more costly and complex than anything imposed by America’s global competitors, like China, on their own industries.
Mines: The decades-long regulatory squeeze on minerals mining continues unabated, and the Obama administration has now added coal mining to the hit list. The attack includes global-warming regulations that seek to restrict demand for coal and also direct attempts to stop new coal mines from opening.
States that rely on coal-mining jobs are feeling the pinch. Joe Manchin, formerly West Virginia’s governor and now its newest US senator, boasts that, “over the past year and a half, we have been fighting Obama administration attempts to destroy the coal mining industry.” As governor, Manchin sued the EPA in an attempt to prevent the agency from blocking coal mines in his state. But Obama shows no sign of budging — even though Manchin is a fellow Democrat.
Fishing: Obama’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is imposing strict fishing limits, even where there is little or no evidence of an overfishing problem. Its controversial catch-shares program is destroying jobs in such fishing communities as Gloucester and New Bedford in Massachusetts, both of which are challenging the program’s legality in federal court.
And the White House’s new Ocean Policy Initiative would place more burdens on a US fishing industry that is already heavily regulated. Bonner Cohen, senior fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research, fears that this scheme “circumvents existing state and local decision-making bodies and replaces them with made-in-Washington zoning with the power to declare areas off limits to fishing.”
There’s a common thread among these and other beleaguered occupations: Environmentalists hate them. Green absolutists would be happy to see no oil or coal taken out of the ground or fish out of the sea and as many factories dismantled as possible, without any regard for the impact on jobs. Instead, they hype “green jobs” doing things like building wind turbines and solar panels, but these jobs are proving to be a mere trickle compared to those being lost.
Radical environmentalists have all but declared war on high-wage blue-collar jobs in this country, and the Obama administration has sided with them. The nation’s stubbornly high unemployment rate is evidence they’re winning.