Don’t Overlook the Biggest Protest

January 18, 2017

As the Capital girds for Friday’s Inauguration, the media is focusing heavy attention on the myriad protests that eagerly vie for its fleeting attention. This is understandable; dissident voices should be heard.

But while the protesters parade by, let’s not overlook the biggest protest event – the November election.

That was a nationwide protest of millions of voters against the continuation of policies that had collectively failed to create good jobs and lift the living standards of working people. Policies that not only failed to create jobs, but deliberately destroyed existing ones.

So while it’s good to listen to the Sierra Club and NRDC as they join others in protest, let’s not forget it was their job-killing regulations – enthusiastically accepted by a grateful administration — that helped to sweep their antagonist into the White House.

A new Morning Consult poll, commissioned by NMA, reminds us what the election was about. The top priority for respondents was job creation and the economy, with 33 percent urging action on this priority above all others, e.g. healthcare (26 percent), national security (24 percent), infrastructure (6 percent) and energy policy (4 percent). Little has changed since November, when 74 percent of voters for Trump listed job creation as priority one for the new president.

With these findings in mind, the coal industry offers Congress and the administration timely opportunities to show voters they get it.

With a CRA resolution of disapproval, Congress could respond to voter sentiment by stopping the stream rule in its tracks – saving up to a third of current coal mining jobs. The administration can rescind EPA’s Clean Power Plan and spare 27,700 direct coal jobs and another 99,700 throughout the supply chain – numbers derived from the Energy Information Administration’s estimate of the rule’s opportunity cost in lost tonnage. Quicker yet would be a decision by the White House to simply ignore the Obama administration’s moratorium on federal coal leases and the amateurish “economics” it relies on.

These are among the highest priority actions the new administration and new Congress can take to help address voters’ top concerns. The industry that lost the most jobs through regulatory excess is the industry best positioned to restore good jobs from regulatory relief.

The polling, conducted by Morning Consult January 12-13, 2017, included 1,991 registered voters, with a margin of error of +/- 2 percent.