High taxes and steep housing costs have been forcing middle class Americans out of New Jersey for years. Now President-elect Barack Obama has nominated New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection commissioner Lisa Jackson to head the federal Environmental Protection Agency. On Monday, New Jersey’s DEP unveiled a global warming plan that was developed by Jackson. It is filled with public policies that will only further harm the middle class:
- Prohibit construction new coal-fired power plants. – ‘Clean’ energies like wind and solar account for less than 2% of U.S. energy production. Outlawing new coal plants will function as a new energy tax by raising everyone’s energy costs. Don’t believe us? Just ask Barack Obama.
- Ensure that 90 percent of development occurs in areas already served by roads, sewer lines and other public infrastructure. – ‘Smart growth’ policies like these may reduce transportation energy consumption, but only for those people that live in those areas. Good luck affording the price tag to get into these communities because these property right restrictions are guaranteed to send housing costs skyrocketing. Don’t believe us? Just ask Paul Krugman.
- Require all new buildings constructed after 2030 would have a net zero energy consumption. – Another clear housing cost burden. If net zero building codes were not more expensive, than government coercion wouldn’t be necessary to enforce them.
Again, just like the California Air Resources Board plan we detailed last week, the scariest part of the New Jersey policy is how it was implemented. None of these policies were ever approved by New Jersey voters. Instead the legislature passed, and Gov. Jon Corzine (D) signed, a set of fanciful carbon emission goals and then delegated extremely broad authority to the state Department of Environmental Protection to create the specific policies.
It is becoming extremely clear that this is exactly the same strategy the Obama administration will pursue at the federal level. There will be no repeat of a legislative fight over a cap and trade program in Congress. The left knows they will get killed in that debate. Instead Obama will pursue a much more circuitous route like the ones followed in California and New jersey. Conservatives tempted to cave to Obama on some vague but safe sounding global warming legislation need to internalize the lesson from the Wall Street bailout: do not delegate broad authority to the executive branch based on promises they will use the power as narrowly as possible. You, and the American people, will get burned in the end.