Does President Obama plan to move to the center in response to his overwhelming rejection at the polls on Nov. 2? No way! Instead, he is moving to implement, through executive action, two of the most controversial items in his 2010 agenda -- a carbon tax and pollution permit system and a ban on the use of secret ballots in union elections.
Through executive action by the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the Obama administration is planning to effectuate both policies without asking Congress.
Never mind that he couldn't persuade even a top-heavy Democratic Congress to pass either program. Or that public opinion polls show massive rejection of both measures. Or that each is a sure job killer by itself -- and together, they are even worse. This arrogant, ideologically driven radical is determined to have his way, and the public be damned!
The EPA is currently soliciting public comments for its plan to use the Clean Air Act of 1970 to regulate carbon dioxide emissions. The Clean Air Act, as the name indicates, is designed to fight against pollution -- unhealthy chemicals that are belched into the air by smokestacks. It was passed to fight sulfur dioxide, particulates, nitrous oxides and other chemicals that cause human diseases. To use it to fight carbon dioxide -- which we all breathe without ill effects -- because of concerns about global warming is a perversion of the law.
Worse, because the Clean Air Act is designed to protect public health by measuring aggregate pollution in each geographic area, it limits economic development in communities where the pollution levels exceed prescribed standards. But carbon dioxide doesn't poison anyone. It makes no sense to ban factory expansion in areas where the nature of the industries is that there will be high carbon dioxide levels (like oil area of Texas and Louisiana). But that's what the EPA plans to do, virtually making economic growth illegal in large parts of the United States.
Meanwhile, Craig Becker, the former chief counsel of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) -- now the head of the NLRB -- has secured a 3-2 party line majority to repeal the Dana decision, which mandates secret ballots in unionization elections. The NLRB will rule that if a majority of workers check off that they want a union on cards, then the union will automatically be approved without a secret ballot vote of the entire workforce.
Currently, if a majority of the workers sign the cards, a secret ballot vote is then triggered. Frequently, the union loses these elections, proving that the card check-off is subject to coercion and bullying. The Democratic majority in the Senate wouldn't approve the card check change, so the NLRB is planning to accomplish the same objective administratively, trapping workers into unionization they would reject if afforded the opportunity to vote by secret ballot.
Both the pollution permit/carbon tax and the forced unionization proposals will be job-killers. The U.S. has maintained its 25 percent share of global manufacturing by replacing workers with energy-driven machines.
In the past 10 years, the number of manufacturing employees has declined by 33 percent, but our production has risen by 50 percent. But automation takes energy -- lots of it -- by taxing energy, we are eliminating the strategy that has preserved our jobs. And massive unionization of the private sector will also drive out our jobs. Since 1990, unionized manufacturing jobs have declined by 75 percent. But non-union manufacturing jobs have actually risen over the same period by 15 percent.
After he lost Congress in 1992, Bill Clinton, too, resorted to executive orders to maintain his momentum as president. With Congress unwilling to pass anything he proposed, the president canvassed the administration for ideas that could be implemented by executive orders. A very productive period followed, during which tobacco regulation, higher educational standards, affirmative action reform and other key measures were implemented without asking Congress' permission.
But Clinton's executive orders were on subjects on which Congress had not voted. They did not contradict the express will of the body. Obama is using the strategy to act in direct defiance of congressional action. He is passing ideas Congress refused to pass, even when he had huge majorities.
Obama will live to regret these moves. Republicans in the House will de-fund these actions and insert legislative language making it a crime to spend appropriated funds to implement them. By this strategy, all of the controversial Obama legislation will be at issue during the budget fight -- taxes, Obamacare, cap and trade and card check. The more these issues are inserted into the budget fight, the greater the chances of Republican victory.
So President Obama has not learned the lessons of 2010 and likely never will.