How to Make the Next Labor Day Better than this One

August 31, 2016

Like Christmas with no gifts, this is Labor Day with no good jobs – at least not for the near record number of jobless Americans who want them. Average hourly wages have barely budged since the recession ended four years ago.
So this week count on the administration to airbrush its record and both presidential candidates to show how they would create the good jobs the president has not.

The Left, offering welfare payments and job training, blames U.S. companies for taking high-wage jobs offshore in search of cheaper labor and lower tax rates. But like German philosophers, they are looking to the clouds for what lies at their feet.

Conveniently they ignore the more compelling and surprising reason why good jobs are disappearing: the deliberate decision to kill them. Simply put, regulatory policies that destroy employers also destroy the jobs they create.

A new analysis by the King University School of Business and Economics shows the real culprit has been federal policy, not market conditions, that enfeebled the coal industry and coal communities. The conclusion from the Bristol, Tennessee university, confirming earlier findings from Duke University’s Nicholas School, exposes one of the biggest cover ups in modern industrial history – the regulatory impact on job creation.

The coal industry offers a stark example. Since 2011, when EPA’s Mercury and Air Toxics Rule began the closure of about 60 GW of coal-based power, the coal industry lost more than 67,000 of the highest wage jobs in the country, paying an average of $83,700 with excellent benefits. Add another 300,000 jobs lost in the supply chain – from railroads to equipment manufacturers – and it is understandable why angry voters are saying “Washington, we have a problem.”

Market conditions have certainly impacted coal employment. But equally undeniable is that recent regulatory policies have massively aggravated competitive conditions for the industry. A greater toll on good jobs is still to come from regulations in the pipeline. So before showering welfare dollars on distressed communities and giving federal job training to mid-career coal miners idled by regulations aimed at their employers, our next president can help make Labor Day 2017 worth celebrating by stopping these regulations.

EPA’s Clean Power Plan – total job losses forecast by 2035 exceed 200,000. (EVA) thanks to higher wholesale power costs feeding through the economy and capital costs to replace lost generating capacity.

OSM’s Stream Protection Rule – between 112,757 and up to 280,800 direct and indirect jobs at risk, of which up to 40,000 will be miners, from this massive re-write of 475 existing rules that threatens to render over half of the nation’s coal resource uneconomic to mine.

Interior Department’s Federal Coal Lease Moratorium – puts at risk 15,000 mining jobs plus another 60,000 throughout the supply chain, depriving states and taxpayers of revenue and halting production from the source of 40 percent of the nation’s coal.