Tom Borelli

President Obama launched the New Year by blasting an unpopular Congress.

Following Obama’s successful outmaneuvering of Congressional Republicans over the payroll tax cut the President rammed through a recess appointment for Richard Cordray as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

By securing an estimated $40 a paycheck for the average family and appointing a consumer advocate, Obama is marketing himself as the savior of hardworking Americans by rescuing them from an ineffective Congress and Wall Street.

There is little doubt that economic issues will be a main factor in the 2012 election. Picking fights with Congress to highlight the President’s effort to help the “little guy” is a cornerstone of Obama’s re-election bid.

While the President is currently scoring short-term political points, his strategy may backfire if Republicans use the upcoming debate over the extension of the payroll tax cut to challenge Obama’s war on fossil fuels. They can do this by adding a pro-energy reform as part of the deal.

Obama’s war on fossil fuels is a big vulnerability for the President because it harms the prosperity of hardworking Americans. The issue illustrates the stark difference between what Obama says is good for average Americans and the reality of his policies.

High energy costs are an economic matter for Americans of every political persuasion. While Obama talks a good game regarding the welfare of hardworking Americans, his policies that raise energy prices will burden many families. Rising gasoline prices alone could easily negate the $40 tax savings from the payroll tax cut, but the Administration’s policies are unnecessarily pushing electricity prices higher as well.

All by itself, President Obama’s assault on coal – expected to be a main cause of predicted electricity price hikes -- may have major implications for his re-election bid and the Democratic Senate majority.

Coincidently, key presidential swing states, including Michigan, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia, derive over 45 percent of their electricity from coal – with some of these states generating over eighty percent of power from this source. Critically for Republican legislators looking for a way to recruit Senate Democrats to support lower-price, pro-energy reforms, each of these states also has Senate Democrats running for re-election.

With coal, Obama’s EPA is doing almost everything possible to bring about the President’s promise to make electricity prices “skyrocket.”


Tom Borelli

Tom Borelli, Ph.D., is a Senior Fellow with FreedomWorks.

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