Who's doing the most to hobble the productive power of the U.S. economy, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson or Department of the Interior Secretary Ken Salazar? President Obama's top two Cabinet appointees on environmental issues are running neck and neck in their race to see who can issue the most job-killing, growth-suffocating bureaucratic edicts. Regardless of who "wins" their contest, of course, the losers will be the rest of us. We will have to endure long-term double-digit unemployment, skyrocketing energy and utility costs, and the loss of individual freedom that inevitably accompanies the growth of government regulation.
Jackson temporarily nosed ahead early last week when she got a green light from the White House to move forward with new regulations to combat greenhouse gases. Jackson threatened to issue these regulations last year if Congress failed to approve "cap-and-trade" legislation sought by Obama. Cap and trade was decisively defeated by a bipartisan coalition in Congress earlier this year, and now Jackson is making good on her threat. Her move elicited a chorus of pre-Christmas squeals of delight from the legions of Big Green activists angered over congressional rejection of cap and trade. She promises to issue a draft rule next year and a final rule in 2012 that will establish new "performance standards" for power plants and refineries. These standards will drive up the cost of energy, especially the electricity that lights our homes and powers our computers and the gas that keeps our cars and trucks running.
Not to be outdone, Salazar countered toward the end of the week with an audacious end-around play of his own. The Constitution gives Congress exclusive authority to manage U.S. public lands. Thus, the wilderness areas, national parks system and other public lands are overseen by Interior only because Congress authorized the executive branch department to do so. Big Green environmentalists went nuts in 2003 when Gail Norton, Salazar's predecessor in the Bush administration, liberalized Interior's public lands management process to enable more energy development. So Salazar has invented out of whole cloth a "Wild Lands" designation that entirely circumvents the congressionally sanctioned process. _Examiner
Until Obama, the US has never had a presidential administration that actively worked to diminish the US in as many ways as possible. As conditions grow worse for average Americans, it is an open question as to when American resentment will grow strong enough for ordinary persons to begin striking back against a government that is increasingly seen as the enemy.
The best form of resolving the problem is through the ballot box, and through revocation of the destructive legislation and regulatory landmines that Obama's people have so carefully and maliciously laid across the landscape. Hope that such a peaceful approach will be enough.