630.) On Tuesday January 10th President Obama made his first ever trip to the EPA during his tenure as President. The purpose of this visit was to insure the workers who make up the EPA that they have a President that supports their work. This is probably a response to the growing concerns that the EPA has over extended its reach, corrupted its purpose, and now is not helping or nation but actually threatening the survival of our nation (in economic terms). With this growing distaste for this agency, President Obama feared that they might lose their way. To encourage and reassure the agency he said, “That is a false debate. We don’t have to choose between dirty air and dirty water or a growing economy. We can make sure that we are doing right by our environment and in fact putting people back to work all across America”. He then said, “When I hear folks grumbling about environmental policy, you almost want to do a ‘Back to the Future’ reminder of folks of what happened when we didn’t have a strong EPA. You have a president who is grateful for your work and will stand with you every inch of the way”.
Okay so lets break down what President Obama is saying here. His claims are:
1.) The choice is not dirty air vs growing economy
2.) We can protect our environment and by so doing create jobs
3.) Without a strong EPA our world would be far worse off
4.) President Obama stands behind all of the EPA’s decisions
Lets analyses these arguments to see if they do in fact hold water. Then I will provide some examples of actions taken by the EPA that he claims to back.
His first argument was that we do not have to choose between dirty air and a strong economy. This is very true. I believe that almost every American wants to have a clean environment, they are not against running efficiently and minimizing waste. I could be wrong on that, but I have never met anyone who said that they would rather live in a pile of garbage rather than a clean planet. The issue with going “green” is that going green is expensive. So before you can go green you have to have the wealth to afford the start up costs. Where does wealth come from? well if you fallow the progressive line of thinking that President Obama does, wealth only comes from the government. If you live in the real world, you understand that wealth is generated only by a thriving economy which produces more than it consumes. So yes, clean air does not stand in contrast with a strong economy, in fact a strong economy is essential to the existence of clean air and water.
President Obama also claimed that we can protect our environment and by so doing create jobs. This is also not necessarily false. In the never ending march of progress new jobs are always created, some disappear, industries must either adapt, or die (unless they are unionized because then they will just get bought by the government). When the Model T emerged the days of the whip makers ended. Those people were displaced from their previous jobs, but that was because a new industry emerged that relegated their jobs to the dust bin of history. While they may have lost a job, the emergence of this new field provided countless new jobs for these workers to take. They could help build the car, parts of the car, work in the filling stations, build parts for the filling stations, become mechanics and fix the cars, make tools to help the mechanics fix the cars. The list goes on and on, when a new revolutionary technology takes off, some jobs will go the way of the dinosaurs, but soon new jobs will rise from the ashes to take their place. So too could be the case with new green technologies.
Now from what I have said so far, many of my more avid readers will think that I have had a stroke. To them I would like to issue a reminder, that you can agree on concepts with someone, but that does not necessarily on mean you agree on how to implement that concept. It is with the third argument President Obama made that our similarities come to an end. President Obama’s third point was that without the EPA our nation would exist in an environment of literal filth (rather than the verbal filth that the world of politics has weaved for us). It is here that I do not necessarily agree with him, but yet at the same time I do not necessarily have facts to build an argument against his views. So I will use history, theory, and examples to build one for me.
History has shown us that there is a never ending march of progress. Change is the only constant, things evolve and die as a result to the changing environment in which they exist. Look back at the changes you have seen just in your life. As technology changes and grows industry evolves to compete. An industry that evolves and adapts to the new environment that new technologies create succeed and grow, those that don’t well they join the whip makers. We currently stand on the precipice of a new era in technological achievement. In the late 20th century we mastered the power of the atom, harnessed the power of wind, learned how to cleave power from the rivers, and even tap into the power of the sun. What will the future look like? It is hard telling, the dies have yet to be cast in the game of chance that is life.
The world was in just such a state at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th. New technologies beyond count abounded. New glass bulbs replaced the wax candles and gas fixtures that once lit our homes, boxes with weird dials allowed peoples voices to travel the nation in seconds. New strange buggies appeared on the streets, buggies without horses. Looking back, we know that eventually these strange contraptions would come to displace the horse, and come to rule the road, and the imaginations of every red blooded young man in the nation. It is automobiles that helped weave the history of the 20th century, and it is the automobile I will use to help me make my point.
We all know that the Model T was the first mass produced car, it brought the freedom of the open road to the common man, it was as great a liberator of the people as the internet is to us today. No longer where you bound to the small area around their home town. The nation was opened to them, all they had to do was get in their car and drive. But the Model T did not just appear out of a vacuum. It was the byproduct of decades of trial and error. The first automobile was a steam powered tricycle built in 1769, The first Model T wasn’t built untill1908 a full 139 years after the fact. Many changes came about in those 100 plus years. Automobiles grew a fourth wheel for stability, the steam engine was replaced by the internal combustion engine, the stirring rutical common to early automobiles gave way to a much easier to use steering wheel. Those radical engineers even added couch like seats, head lights, a windshield, and unbelievably they even invented breaks that could stop a car. All of these changes refined the automobile, changing it from some crazy back yard experiment into something that would one day be a house hold staple. The Model T was the first mass produced car, it was the car that proved to the world that the automobile was the future. There were better cars out there, ones that had roofs, ones with more power, ones that where comfortable, but the model T was the first to bring all the elements of the industrial revolution together produce a car people could afford to buy. Just because it was the first, doesn’t mean it was a good car. Far from it, the controls where confusing, it was low on power, and you had to start it with a crank. But demands for something better by the public sparked a boom in research and development. Safer, faster, better cars came along. The flat head gave way to the over head valve engine, the complicated speed control system gave way to the pedal set up we know today. Change came as it was demanded.
Systems came and went, and evolved into what we know today. What drove that change? Was it blind folded force? Or was it something else? Did the government step in and force the auto industry to change? Was it the government who had auto makers start making cars out of steal instead of wood? What drove the change in automobiles was the demand for greatness. Pioneering individuals with dreams set out to make the car everything it could be. The sky was the limit, the windswept race tracks of Trans-Am racing and Nascar were the proving grounds, and the crucible of motor sport was the medium in which new designs came about. Aerodynamics, horsepower, efficency, all pushed the limits of technology each brand trying to find a way to nudge out the other in these grulling sports. It was the desire to sell cars, the desire to make a dollar, that drove these men to push the envolope of what was technologically possible in their era.
Of course there are those who will laugh this off, and they are free too, but I ask that they either read the rest of this article with an open mind, or move on and not try to drag down what will hopefully be a civilized fact based discussion, into the mindless abyss of bigotry and ignorance.
“Government is not reason; it is not eloquence. It is force. And force, like fire, is a dangerous servant and a fearful master“. George Washington, the first Constitutional President of The United States. This man is the President who understood the terrors of an oppressive government better than any others. Perhaps that is why he was the only one who took that job not to advance a personal agenda but rather because his nation asked him to serve, needed him to serve less it be torn apart. It is in this light that I truly believe that we should heed his warning. His words ring true to this day, anytime the government takes action it is using force to impose a new law on we the people this great nation. No mater what the law is, or your feelings on it, the government is using force to achieve a goal. It is no different with the EPA. When the EPA makes a new regulation they are forcing the industry to make a change. They are forcing one way of thinking on the industry regardless of whether or not it is the most effective way to go.
I ask you was it government that invented the model T? Was it government that brought about the change over from the flat head V8 to the Over Head Valve engine that so many of us grew up with? Was it government that brought about Electronic Fuel Injection? No, it was not , it was free thinking individuals striving to win out in the never ending march of progress. Just imagine if the government had stepped in and told the auto company to use the model t’s throttle control, rather than the modern system that we know today? Would the auto industry have grown as strong as it is? Or would some other country have become the industrial power house of the world? Government acts out of corruption, they try to send money where it needs to so as to insure their reelection, where as private industry tend to evolve adapt and move to the newer, better technologies.
An example I am sure is be required to prove the destructive nature of government intervention. The Catalytic Converter. The Catalytic Converter is a device that the EPA has mandated be placed on all of our cars. They are large, heavy, expensive, and ultimately hurt the performance of the car. Or at least that was the case when they first came out. The First cats where very restrictive and dulled performance, and worse yet fuel economy. So many people came to the conclusion that catalytic converters where bad, and they started gutting them, a practice that still continues to this day. They do this in the never ending search for performance. Now many will say, that performance is bad, that the performance is hurting the planet. What they do not realize is that Performance is not just 0-60 times, it also relates to how efficiently an engine burns its fuel. More efficient the burn, the more power you have, the less gas you have to burn. A catalytic converter is a device installed in your exhaust system, it is a choke point for exhaust gasses that harms your engines performance. It causes the engine to run hot, and less efficiently. Catalytic converters themselves are very hot while the car is running. If you have run your car for a long time, never pull over on the side of the road, the catalytic converter does get hot enough that the radiant heat can cause the grass underneath the car to catch fire. The worst part about a catalytic converter is that they are inefficient, and for them to become practical the engine must run dirty. So rather than building an engine to run as cleanly, and efficiently as possible, automakers ahve been forced to make their engines run within the effective operating ranges of the cat. Modern Cats though are much better than the predecessors, and along with the advent of Electronic Fuel Injection which allows for more precise control of the combustion in the engine, do not dull performance to as great of a degree. It has taken 35 years to reach this point. Unimaginable amounts of time and money have been lost on trying to make this EPA required piece of technology work. If the government had not required the use of a Catalytic Converter, what new device would have arisen to meet the growing public outcry about pollution? We will never know, because government force did not allow the industry to choose, rather they chose for them, an act which set the quest for efficiency back years. You can, and many do debate the merits of this argument all the time. I cannot prove that something better would have come along, but I can prove this, The EPA’s CAFE standards a device designed to once again reign in out of control performance and bring about sensible fuel economy standards had the exact opposite effect as it was intended too.
People do not like being forced by the government to do things. The Government does not act as a representative body most times, rather driven by progressive arrogance it attempts to guard us from ourselves as we the people are too ignorant to understand the complexities of the world. It tells us how to live our lives, something we as Americans do not take kindly too, I am pretty sure we fought a war about that… sometime between 1775 and 1783. The government noticed that we were driving big gas thirsty cars. Think back to the Brady Bunch, they had a station wagon. These cars got horrible gas mileage and were a leading cause in the myth of Global Warming (although back in the 1970’s the conspiracy was known as Global Cooling). Yet despite the countless efforts of the hippies and progressives people still wanted to drive their big comfortable cars. It was unfathomable that a family of four would not want to pile into a small,cheap, box of rolling death rather than a large, safe, and sporty station wagon. So to put an end to our ignorance the EPA helped to bring about the CAFE standards, which required fleet averages of a certain miles per gallon, otherwise consumers would have to pay a tax on the gas guzzlers that they insisted on buying. Unfortunately for the American Family, auto makers quickly did away with the cars that they wanted to buy. Thus brought around the movement away from the family car, and towards the dreaded, and demonic SUV, and of course the Van. These where big, safe, comfortable vehicles that you were not ashamed to be seen in, and were not dead fish when you put your foot down. So by the government trying to increase fuel economy and force us into smaller cars, they forced us into even more fuel thirsty SUV’s and Vans which were not included in the CAFE Standards. See the government failed to understand, like always, that there is a certain amount of space required for people to exist in, and that it takes a certain amount of energy to move a mass from point A to point B. A family of four requires a vehicle big enough for them all to fit in, along with various other items. A compact car does not offer that, and cannot accommodate the thirst for motoring excitement that lives in the United States. So in a push to get Americans into fuel efficent cars, the EPA brought about a movement to SUV’s, Trucks, and Vans, great plan. This is a common thread through out the Agencies history.
As I said, it is important to realize that it takes X amount of energy to do a task. No matter what you do you must apply at least X amount of energy to achieve your goal. So no matter what the objective is, be it driving a family of four to a soccer game, or building the SUV to do it, there is a set amount of energy required to do it. In the case of the latter, there is an amount of energy that must be used to produce the SUV, more so than just building the car. You have to build the factory, you have to find workers, you have to build the machines to build the car, you have to build the machines that build the factories. All of this takes time, money, and energy period. The company that builds these cars must be able to do all of that at a cost that still allows them to make money on every car they sell, or the end of like GM (who sold a bunch of cars, and due to bad deals with the union, made no money off of those cars and should have gone bankrupt but was kept a float by a president who was giving a hand to his campaign contributors). The EPA, while valid in concept and purpose, has become a monster an evil thing that is more destructive them productive. What the EPA has done is make building anything in this nation, so costly, so time consuming that by the time you jump throw all of the hoops, and finally manage to get a product up and running you are over priced and out of date. That means that the manufacturing processes have been moved from a developed nation with a population that cars about the environment, and the wealth to use cleaner manufacturing processes to nations who lake the skills and the money to apply them. Why? its not because business is evil, it is because business unlike the government must make money or, unless they are in the pockets of politicians (such as the UAW), they will go out of business and eventually the workers will find themselves unemployed. So Has the EPA made our nation better? I’d say no, they have driven away jobs, which has driven away wealth, and sent them to nations that do not care about the cleanliness of air or the future of our planet. Look at China, look at Mexico, look at any of the nations who have absorbed the displaced manufacturing processes that once called America home. Are their environments clean? The answer is no, and sense we all share the same planet you cannot therefore call the EPA a success.
Keeping with the thought process of the above paragraph, the EPA has driven jobs from the country, that is undeniable, we can argue about if they were worth having later. This has hurt our economy, and has brought us to a tipping point. If the United States were to go broke, if we were to fall off the face of the Earth, how well do you think China will take care of the planet?
As promised the fallowing are examples of recent actions taken by the EPA, do you think they are great, because the President does.
1.) The EPA has recently begun fining refineries 6.8 billion dollars for not using an addative known as Cellulosic Biofuel. The issue is that the EPA required that 6.6 million gallons of Cellulosic Biofuel be blended into Gasoline and Diesel for 2011, and except for in a few labs, and workshops the fuel does not exist. So basically the EPA is fining the refineries for not using a fuel that doesn’t exist. Now for those ignorant in the ways of the real world, what that means is that the refineries are going to have to offset that 6.8 billion dollars in new additional costs, which means that via the transitive property that the EPA has effectivly raised the price of gas and diesel by 6.8 billion dollars for all of us in the coming year. In 2011 the US used around 383,000,000 gallons of gas and roughly 22,000,000,000 gallons of diesel fuel, so that equates out to a fine of about $0.29 per gallon of fuel. So it would only be logical that we will see $0.29 increase in the price at the pump because of this action. You see, businesses don’t pay fines, or taxes, we do, they pass the increase in price to us the consumer. So President Obama stands behind the EPA raising the price of gas by $0.29.
2.) The EPA told a family in Idaho that they could not build their home in what was going to become a protected wetland, something that the Suprem Court has blasted the agency for.
3.) The increase in the CAFE Standards by the EPA under the OBAMA administration will add roughly $1000 to $2000 to the price of every car sold
the above are just a few examples of recent activity that the EPA has taken, and President Obama claims to support.