Conservatives Launch All-Out War on Obama's Green Policies

Wed, 2009-01-28 00:18Jeremy Jacquot
Jeremy Jacquot's picture

Conservatives Launch All-Out War on Obama's Green Policies

For all the florid talk of bipartisanship, Congress has precious little to show for its efforts. It has only been a little over a week since President Obama was inaugurated, and, despite promising to work hand in hand with the new administration and Democratic majorities, the GOP and its ideological allies are already back to their old obstructionist ways.

Case in point: the much ballyhooed $825 billion stimulus package – i.e. the American Recovery and Reinvestment Bill of 2009 – that the president has made a top priority.

The massive bill, which contains goodies for practically every sector of the ailing economy, has been the subject of withering criticism by Senate and House Republicans alike, who object to many of its key provisions, including funding for healthcare programs (see: the whining about the “hundreds of millions” spent on “contraceptives”) and public infrastructure projects. (Their plan, not surprisingly, is all about tax cuts.)

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and his counterpart in the House, John Boehner, have been on the attack, peddling lies and distortions about the bill’s contents to whoever is willing to listen, with the latter explicitly urging his colleagues to vote against it.

Last week, the right-wing commentariat went into a tizzy over reports of an unofficial analysis of the stimulus package released by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) that showed that a large portion of the funds would not be disbursed until well after 2010. The Wall Street Journal and other reliable bastions of the conservative press exulted in the report, deriding the Democrats’ plan as a “legislative freight train” and a foil for Obama’s wasteful, politically-motivated spending agenda.

The only problem is that said CBO report doesn’t actually exist. As a CBO aide explained to The Huffington Post’s Ryan Grim: “We did not issue any report, any analysis or any study.” What the right-wing latched onto in masse was only an unofficial analysis of a small portion of the package, as Grim explains:

Rather, the nonpartisan CBO ran a small portion of an earlier version of the stimulus plan through a computer program that uses a standard formula to determine a score – how quickly money will be spent. The score only dealt with the part of the stimulus headed for the Appropriations Committee and left out the parts bound for the Ways and Means or Energy and Commerce Committee. Because it dealt with just a part of the stimulus, it estimated the spending rate for only about $300 billion of the $825 billion plan. Significant changes have been made to the part of the bill the CBO looked at.”

Indeed, the actual analysis, which was released yesterday (and which you can read on the director’s blog), found that the bill would inject approximately $526 billion, or 65 percent of the total, in new spending into the economy by the end of September 2010 and have a “noticeable impact on economic growth and employment.”

It did note, however, that spending on infrastructure and clean technology projects would take longer to flow into the economy – around 40 percent of the $356 billion dedicated to the projects would be spent by 2010. (As the Center for American Progress’ Scott Lilly explains, though, CBO analyses tend to be on the conservative side, so it is very possible that the spending could come into play a lot sooner.)

Another point of contention has been the president’s decision to allow California and other states to set their own auto-emissions standards following years of inaction by the Bush administration. Senator James Inhofe, who always seems to have the right words for the right occasion, called Obama’s action “environmental thuggery,” warning that it would cost more jobs in the already beleaguered car industry. The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), for its part, loudly proclaimed that the president’s move would “wreck the economy and the auto industry.” Here’s what Sam Kazman, the organization’s general counsel, had to say about the updated CAFÉ standards:

Federal fuel economy standards are already a huge hidden burden on the industry, and the President is now proposing that make that burden even heavier.  Congress is spending billions to bail out the auto industry, and here’s the President coming up with new ways to sink it.”

That would explain why companies like Toyota and Honda, which have been making more fuel-efficient vehicles for years, have been doing so poorly.

Lastly, though his administration likely won’t act on it for the next few months at least, expect conservative opposition to deepen when Obama finally unveils his cap-and-trade legislation. As it did with the Lieberman-Warner bill, the conservative movement will do everything in its power to kill any new attempt to regulate unfettered carbon dioxide emissions. It won’t be pretty, and I hope the president and his supporters are up to the task.

It certainly wouldn’t hurt for him to cite “Pathways to A Low Carbon Economy,” a major new report published by McKinsey, which describes the cost of rapidly reducing greenhouse gas emissions over the next decade “manageable” – less than 1 percent of world GDP by 2030 – and urges quick action. “The window for an effective response to climate change is relatively narrow – explicitly, the next five to 10 years,” the report states.

I know President Obama made transcending partisanship a central theme of his campaign, but sometimes there’s just no negotiating with these people.

Previous Comments

Sorry, warmers can’t blame everything under the sun on Bush or conservatives anymore. If Democrats fail with their plans to stop the seas from rising the fault will lie with them. Put up or shut up as they say.

You mean, when there’s a bill that’ll help the economy and mitigate climate change, and Republicans are obstructing this bill, then it’s still the librulllllllz’ fault?

bi

No I mean if the Democrats don’t actually tackle AGW in a serious way, their paranoid fantasies aside, they can not shuffle the blame off onto others.

The Democrats control both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Time for them to show us they can walk the walk. They’ve got the authority.

No

You mean yes, you’re still going to blame Republican obstructionism on the librullllllllllllz.

bi

Doesn’t matter what the Repubs do, Democrats hold majorities in both the Senate and House. No excuses now. Get cracking.

Doesn’t matter what the Repubs do, Democrats hold majorities

Not overwhelming maajorities, but you already know that and you’re just trying to ignore it.

Keep blaming Republican obstructionism on the librullllllllz, please.

bi

Now the warmers actually have the power to DO SOMETHING and all you can do is blame the losing party. Maybe warmers are all talk; it kind of looks that way.

So what you’re saying is, if the Democrats do something about global warming then they’re wrong, and if the Democrats do nothing about global warming then they’re also wrong.

bi

The massive bill, which contains goodies for practically every sector of the ailing economy, has been the subject of withering criticism by Senate and House Republicans alike, who object to many of its key provisions, including funding for healthcare programs (see: the whining about the “hundreds of millions” spent on “contraceptives”) and public infrastructure projects. (Their plan, not surprisingly, is all about tax cuts.) […]

The Wall Street Journal and other reliable bastions of the conservative press exulted in the [CBO non-]report, deriding the Democrats’ plan as a “legislative freight train” and a foil for Obama’s wasteful, politically-motivated spending agenda.

Better to spend the money on such fruitful ventures as the Iraq War, the Bridge to Nowhere, the upcoming Final Armageddon Against Kim Jong-il and Hamas and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Communists Under the Bed and whoever else, and the epw.senate.gov server that allows Inhofe and Morano to spread the ‘skeptic’ word through cut-and-paste.

Fiscal conservatism is good for other people to have.

bi

The Republicans lost the election by a longshot and they’re saying that Americans are wary of greening the economy?  What a joke!  Americans voted for a more environmentally-friendly party perhaps due to their realization that there is no time to lose in fighting AGW, and by doing so they would improve the economy.  Heck, if President Obama’s predecessor’s record is any indication, deregulation and letting environmental standards deteriorate could well be a cause of the economic disaster we’re in.

Obama is concerned with the entire global financial market is a wait game; no one knows exactly what would happen. It’s all about theorizing. No one is wrong and everyone seems to be right. Future research is a must to completely determine what might happen. But everyone around the world hopes the market to rebound, to bring more jobs not only to the American people, but to all other workers around the world who have been left in dire destitute, because of this financial crisis. The world’s market economy is now interconnected, and when one sneezes, is not only one that catches a cold, but everybody else does. Thus, instead of working individually, everyone should work collectively for the good of humanity. Toyota and Honda as one of the most successful auto industries which have been making more fuel-efficient vehicles for years, have been doing so poorly. The auto industry is in trouble.  It isn’t exactly a secret that the auto industry has been hurting globally, since revenues have declined along with sales and available credit.  The seemingly most troubled automaker is former giant upon the earth and the road, General Motors.  GM, along with Chrysler, two of the Big 3 in the U.S., has already gotten substantial short-term loans from the government and is asking for more.  After giving the automaker a large enough bailout already, GM CEO Rick Wagoner has been asked to resign, which he has complied with, in order to facilitate perhaps more drastic restructuring than the company had previously envisioned.  We may never see an auto industry as large as in their glory days again.

 


Barack Obama started his presidency with an economic crisis on his hands and a $1.2 trillion budget deficit hanging over the federal government. Recovery is on the minds of just about everyone, as earlier recovery will mean a return to prosperity and an end to the disdainful status of the economy.  That’s why Obama and his cash advances are potentially very important, if they do what they’re intended to, that is.  The good news is that the stimulus does seem to be working.  The Commerce Department recently released its report, one of the features of which is a rise in manufactured goods, a key economic indicator.   A lot of signs point to the stimulus working thus far and a quicker recovery than previously thought, which is good news.  A little debt relief can help the nation with its recovery.

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Solar farm

Pressure continues to grow for European politicians to agree to further reductions of greenhouse gas emissions between now and 2030.

The European Union’s 2020 climate and energy package, which is binding legislation, calls for emissions to be cut by 20 per cent from 1990 levels by 2020. In addition, the plan calls for energy efficiency savings of 20 per cent and a 20 per cent increase in renewable energy technologies.

While the European Union seems largely on track to meet those targets, later this month...

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