The Contradictory Attacks on Biden’s Climate Programs
“Job Killing” or “Overheating the Economy” — Which Is It?
“Job-killing regulations” is a longtime conservative meme. That attack has now been joined by the claim that major recent spending for clean energy is overheating the economy. The inflation claim is recent, prompted by the passage of the 2021 Infrastructure law and the 2022 IRA. And in the event that they were each right, the 2 problems can be offsetting. The truth is, we would need even stricter environmental regulations to assist cool the economy and cut inflation.
There’s never been real evidence for the job-killing claim, however it stays very much alive. The National Association of Manufacturers recently claimed that recent regulations to chop air pollution would “threaten $162.4 billion to $197.4 billion of economic activity and put 852,100 to 973,900 current jobs in danger, each directly from manufacturing and not directly from supply chain spending.” Specifically, “the proposed rule would put in danger roughly $138.4 billion of gross value added (in 2021 prices) and 501,000 jobs in 2027 in areas of nonattainment.” (I can’t help but note the sly wording: “put in danger” means only that there might be an impact of some kind, not that each one of the harm would actually occur.)
Although “job killing” appears to be a continuing refrain, the inflationary claim tends to surface only when inflation itself is an issue. Fifty years ago Nixon vetoed major spending for municipal sewage treatment as inflationary. The difficulty disappeared for a few years until inflation once more reared its ugly head after COVID. But now it’s definitely back. The Wall Street Journal said beforehand that the infrastructure bill would fuel inflation. Republicans warned that “Congress must stop fueling inflation and stop throwing limitless amounts of cash at problems; it must rigorously goal where to spend Americans’ hard-earned tax dollars.” And Fox Business complained that the infrastructure bill and the IRA “juiced demand within the U.S. and contributed to inflation levels that haven’t been seen in a long time.”
In the event that they’re right and these spending bills are fueling inflation, it’s by increasing demand. Overheating the economy signifies that supply is racing to catch as much as demand, and which means hiring more staff, thus driving up employment and wages. So if the IRA and the infrastructure bill are inflationary, which means they are literally creating too many roles, which is resulting in wage increases.
Assume that each claims are right. If the IRA and the infrastructure law are supposedly creating too many roles, we want to counter that inflationary effect. If Republicans are right, what we want immediately to assist cool off the economy is to offset the inflationary effects of spending on clean energy. And if their theory in regards to the impact of regulations on jobs is true, stronger environmental regulations would actually be an excellent way of pouring some cold water on an overstimulated economy.
Obviously, I’m overthinking things a bit. We’re probably not alleged to take the logic of those claims that seriously. Whatever the state of the economy, conservatives favor the identical remedies: cutting spending and taxes while slashing environmental protection. If the economy is down, that is alleged to be create jobs. If the economy is up, it’s the recipe for stopping inflation.
Anything can be “woke.”