Sunday, November 21, 2010

Note to Incoming Republicans: Don’t Forget, Jobs, Jobs, Jobs!

The smoke has settled and the newly elected Representatives are assembled in Washington D.C. receiving their orientation and selecting office space. Come January and the House of Representatives switches back to a significant majority of Republicans while the Senate will remain in Democrat hand, but with a much smaller majority.

The new junior legislators ran on a variety of promises to be elected, from repealing Obamacare to restoring jobs in America. With the nation still locked deep in massive unemployment and unemployment benefits running out, many already exhausting the meager checks long ago, jobs must be the number one priority if we are to begin actually making any significant recovery.

Some of these new Representatives campaigned on promises they would create the jobs and bring them back to the districts they will soon represent. Voters will surely be disappointed when they realize the jobs created by Congress will just prolong the Great Recession and those who made such promises may end up not only facing some very angry constituents, but in 2 years will see their seats taken away from them.

If, on the other hand, they wise up and see that allowing the private sector to create those jobs and that many legislative, regulatory and policy decisions are blocking those jobs and join efforts in bringing regulations back into balance, they just may be seen as effective legislators worthy of keeping in office a bit longer.

While the restoration of jobs in America is tantamount to any significant recovery, it is equally important that we meet our nation’s energy needs, another area that has been hard hit for quite some time now. In fact, many of those lost jobs are either directly in the energy industry or indirectly related, many politicians and environmental activists pinning hopes on mass job creation in so called “Green Energy” sources that remain years away from being relevant, as many European nations have discovered.

Unfortunately, current regulations pending seem destined to continue the job destruction we have seen for too many years. As was discussed in August, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is moving forward with regulations that could cause more harm than good to our cars and ultimately to our job market as well. Our friends at Energy Tomorrow blog have created a short video showing some of the EPA’s potential damage to our economy with their over reach they are currently contemplating.

A post addressing the EPA's Regulatory Overreach shows that the EPA’s proposed regulations have nearly tripled from the Bush administration to the Obama administration. We also see the alarming statement that “a recent report by the Manufacturers Alliance/MAPI estimates that the [EPA’s] proposed ozone standard alone could destroy 7.3 million U.S. jobs.

A previous post, “Is EPA Protecting Human Health?” leads us to a book recently published by the American Enterprise Institute, Air Quality in America: A Dose of Reality on Air Pollution Levels, Trends, and Health Risks that makes the astonishing revelation, “the current level of ozone isn't a significant health risk:”

* Large increases in asthma prevalence have coincided with large declines in air pollution indicating that “asthma incidence and air pollution are unrelated.”

* EPA’s proposal to lower the ozone standard is based on a flawed study of young, healthy adults who exercised for several hours in chambers. So-called ‘at risk’ populations were not studied.

* EPA tends to cherry-pick studies that back up their assertions on the number of emergency room visits that could be eliminated by reducing ground-level ozone. Schwartz and Hayward say the projections are “based on a selective reading of the health effects literature that ignores contrary evidence.”

What must be of extreme importance to our incoming new legislators is the revelation of “that reducing the ozone standard to 60 parts-per-billion could destroy 7.3 million U.S. jobs and reduce the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by $687 billion in 2020” if over-regulation cannot be curtailed and brought back into balance.

For clarification purposes, it must be acknowledged that no one in the energy industry suggests all regulations be removed or that our environment is of no importance. On the contrary, the industry is just as concerned as any of us in keeping our planet healthy and being responsible in obtaining and refining our own natural resources. It is a pure canard spread by the fear-mongering activists that they do not care.

For those of us in the Pacific Northwest, a recent report, The Economic Contribution of Washington State's Petroleum Refining Industry In 2009 we see
“In 2009 refiners paid $330 million for contract workers, an average of $108,321 per worker. Although this varies from year to year, about 51 percent of contract labor in 2009 (1,542) was engaged in capital repair and replacement. This cyclical work conforms to a planned schedule that is known well in advance. In 2004, Washington's five refiners reported that they anticipated spending more than $1.3 billion on these types of activities over the five years from 2004 to 2008. Of this total, about 29 percent, or $393 million, would be spent on maintaining the current plant facilities. Another 26 percent—about $349 million—would be invested in staying competitive within their industry. And 45 percent—about $592 million—would be spent retrofitting the plants to produce cleaner burning fuels and to conform with new environmental and safety regulations.”

This from a Washington State based industry that
“directly provided 2,040 full-time jobs, paying an annual average wage of $102,100. In addition, the refiners employed, at high wages, 3,044 contract workers on an average day, doing maintenance, capital repair and capital replacement. The refiners indirectly created additional Washington state jobs in industries from which they purchased goods and services, including transportation, construction, utilities and business services.”

The loss of these jobs due to the overreaching of the EPA can only further plunge our nation and state towards the Depression we still see looming in front of us. We must reign in such regulatory agencies that feel they may write legislation and impose upon us without a care for who stands to be hurt, we voting taxpayers.

As I earlier stated, our newly elected Representatives, Democrat or Republican, must be made aware that millions of jobs are on the line. We do not need them to create jobs but to ensure a balance is achieved in regulations and legislation's that protects the environment sensibly and encourages private sector job growth.

Promises are easy to make and all too often fall by the wayside once a candidate is elected.

Our newly elected Representatives must be held to a different standard and act to restore our great nation.

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