Job One for the Returning Congress

September 8, 2016

The jobs report released Friday ended any glib White House talk about its Labor Day achievements. From the 275,000 jobs added in July, we added a dismal 151,000 in August.

AEI calls the impact on working men a “quiet catastrophe” – “quiet” because few in Washington’s punditry are talking about. “Catastrophe” because the labor participation rate last year among men in their prime working life was slightly worse than it was in 1940, at the tail end of the Great Depression.

If the administration won’t do anything to help create good jobs in its waning days in office, maybe Congress can help working people. There are precious few legislative days in this session – and soon less than a month before federal regulators at EPA, OSM and BLM run out of money. The power of the purse gives Congress opportunities to shed that “do-nothing” label.

Returning members can start this week with a truly bi-partisan objective: use any and all legislative vehicles to curb the regulatory abuse of power that is threatening still more good jobs with extinction.

Here are three places to start:

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.