|Mutiny: Even Liberal Democrats Blast Obama’s New Auto Mandates|
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, July 28 2011
For the dictatorial Obama Administration, things are deteriorating from bad to borderline catastrophic.
It’s hardly news that Obama’s support among political moderates and conservatives has gradually evaporated since his inauguration. But now, even hard-core liberals are now warning him that he is simply going overboard.
Late last week, the liberal Congressional delegation from Michigan that includes Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow found itself compelled to write Obama and warn that his administration’s behavior has become “overly aggressive and not reasonably feasible.”
The occasion for their letter was the Obama Administration’s announcement that it had managed to strong-arm the nation’s automakers into agreeing to draconian new mileage standards. Specifically, those mandates will rise over 50% from the current 35.5 miles per gallon to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.
Now, it would be one thing if liberals were complaining that Obama’s behavior was insufficiently liberal. As insane as this may sound, there are actually people out there freely walking our streets who consider the most liberal administration in American history not liberal enough. Just peruse the depths of the Daily Kos, if you have the stomach. Such people truly seem to believe that what we need from Obama is more “stimulus” spending, more antagonism and even a unilateral debt increase unsupported by the text of the Constitution.
But that isn’t the case in this instance. Rather, the Michigan delegation, one of the nation’s most liberal, expressed alarm that Obama has gone too far to the left. The letter, dated July 21, 2011, is notable for its blunt manner in criticizing the Obama Administration’s tactics:
“This issue, if handled in the wrong way, would have a negative effect on our economy, stalling our economic recovery, and would result in critical job losses with no benefit to the environment… An unsound program would both negatively impact U.S. jobs and drive consumers to used car lots for vehicles that are less fuel efficient, which would be a loss to environmental progress… Such a proposal would push beyond the limits of reasonably feasible technology development and would have significant negative ramifications for U.S. jobs and competitiveness. Technology and economics must reasonably support the targets and goals for fuel economy improvement and greenhouse gas emissions reductions, and we are concerned that the Administration’s current approach is not leading in that direction.”
Independent analysis supports the delegation’s assertions. According to the Center for Automotive Research, excessive government fuel mandates could add approximately $10,000 to the average cost of a new car. And according to the Defour Group consulting organization, the new fuel standard would eliminate some 220,000 jobs.
Moreover, the new federal regulations could literally cost thousands of lives by forcing manufacturers to produce smaller, lighter and more fragile cars. The National Academy of Sciences concluded that excessively stringent mileage mandates result in 1,300 to 2,600 additional deaths each year, as well as many times that number of injuries from accidents.
Additionally, the Michigan delegation highlighted how Obama’s new mandates would disproportionately harm domestic automakers vis-à-vis their foreign competitors:
“More significantly, we are concerned that the Administration’s current approach for light duty trucks may have a discriminatory impact on these U.S. manufacturers. An approach to higher fuel economy that relies on the generation of credits from other than truck classes to reach compliance is not sustainable over the long-term and could have detrimental effects on U.S. automakers by expanding the gap between the regulatory requirements and what is technologically and economically achievable. This approach will put an increasingly heavy burden on U.S. auto manufacturers, who already must rely on credits earned for high fuel economy passenger cars to reach the aggressive fuel economy targets for light duty trucks in the regulatory requirements for model years 2012-2016, and may prevent them from selling these larger vehicles that U.S. consumers want to buy. Meanwhile, manufacturers that produce primarily smaller vehicles will have an unfair competitive advantage and will still be able to sell these larger vehicles that are no more fuel efficient. In other words, this has the potential to negate the significant reforms achieved by the Congress in 2007 that eliminated the discriminatory features of the old corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) system.”
In remarkably pointed language, the letter concludes by asking Obama to reassess his logic:
“We need a balanced approach to fuel economy regulation with reasonable and achievable targets that will reduce our consumption of oil and greenhouse gas emissions while preserving U.S. jobs and promoting U.S. manufacturing. We do not believe the Administration’s current proposal will achieve that balanced approach and believe instead it could have a detrimental effect on the U.S. economy. We urge you to reconsider further the Administration’s thinking in these areas.”
The fact that even liberals would criticize Obama’s regulatory excess in such harsh terms leaves no doubt that his fuel mandates are unreasonable.
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