During last night’s Democratic presidential debate, front runner Joe Biden took a page out of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 playbook by endorsing mass layoffs for workers in America’s energy sector.
Harkening back to the days when Mrs. Clinton called for putting “a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business,” Biden told debate moderator Tim Alberta that he is ready to layoff blue-collar workers in the oil and gas industry. Biden’s gaffe is made more comical by the fact that Clinton stated her coal remarks were the biggest regret of her 2016 campaign.
It’s hard to imagine this sentiment will be better received this time around. After all, how can “Scranton Joe” claim to represent his original home state of Pennsylvania when he is pushing to outlaw a growing driver of economic opportunity there?
It is also a shame that Biden fell for the moderator’s false premise that America’s natural gas workers are the ones to blame for climate change. Our domestic natural gas industry is both safe and “greener” than other energy sources. The fact is the amount of carbon released with the burning of natural gas is roughly half that of coal, according to the US Energy Information Administration. Thanks in large part to natural gas, America is leading the world in reducing CO2 emissions.
Beyond the environmental impact of banning fracking, Biden and Democrat politicians need to consider the economic consequences of this policy. According to a recent report from the Global Energy Institute, a fracking ban would significantly drive up Americans’ cost of living. In Wisconsin and Michigan alone, residential consumers’ costs of living would increase by roughly $5,000 during just the first term of an administration that banned fracking.
According to the study, a fracking ban would eliminate an estimated 19 million jobs from the US economy, reduce GDP by $7.1 trillion, and cost the government roughly $1.9 billion in tax revenue. It would also force us to become more dependent on nations like Venezuela and Russia — ironic as they’ve been one of the Democrats’ favorite boogeymen — in order to meet our energy needs.
It is shocking that Joe Biden would play the same failing hand of Hillary Clinton in revealing his exuberance for laying off American energy workers. Biden’s gaffe calls to mind the old expression — those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.
Author’s Note: Nathan Williamson also contributed to this report.
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore