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How the EPAs Green Tyranny is Stifling America (Encounter Broadsides) Paperback – May 10, 2011
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All of that changed, Trzupek argues, when Carol Browning became the energy "czar" for the country and Lisa Jackson took over the EPA. As Trzupek sees it, the EPA has gone from regulatory creep to leap, and he predicts the results will be devastating for the US economy, already struggling to recover from a "Great Recession" that was itself the product of government mismanagement. Trzupek challenges the often repeated claim of the Obama administration that green jobs equals economic growth, that further EPA regulations significantly impact public health, and that the EPA can effectively regulation carbon dioxide as Obama hoped after his poorly conceived cap and trade scheme was dismantled. In his specifics, Trzupek is almost surely correct. With each reduction, for example, of ozone particles, the health benefit declines, but the cost increases. But while Trzupek is right in the details, he may well be wrong in the big picture.
Trzupek would like to claim that the Obama EPA is charting a new course, but students of public choice economics will see in the history of this agency the same thing they find in almost every government agency: a tendency to grow far beyond its usefulness. The reasons for this growth in government, which occurs regardless of which party is in power, is because agencies, once created, must constantly find new rationalizations for existence and they do so successfully by enlisting lobbyists and private sector companies who would not be able to survive in a free market. Yes the agency has grown dramatically under Obama. It grew significantly under Bush and Clinton. But what we see is a rising curve, not (no pun intended) a hockey stick. Is the EPA hindering recovery? Sure it is. But it is hardly the only factor. And I don't think the leap between the Bush and Obama EPAs is quite so large as Trzupek would have us believe. This is not because Obama is some sort of centrist. It is because, except for his explicit statements on foreign policy, Bush was really a member of the statist left.
In the final analysis then, this book understates the problem. By suggesting that the EPA has changed course under the Obama administration, Trzupek implies an easy fix. Just vote out Obama. And indeed, things would probably improve, or at the very least, not deteriorate so fast if that should happen. But the bigger problem remains. Whatever benefit government agencies offer in the short run, they tend to literally outgrow it. And whether by regulatory creep or leap, they quickly cease to offer net benefits to society. This suggests we need to rethink whether or not federal regulators of all types are really worth it in the long run. We should at least start to consider alternatives.
One of the great misconceptions, I believe, of the W. Bush administration is that he was no friend of the environment. In this writing, Mr. Trzupek points out that, under Bush II the air, water and soil got cleaner than it was under Clinton, just as it got cleaner under Clinton than it had under Bush I, and so on. But Trzupek also writes that the Obama administration couldn't settle for the "regulatory creep" of previous administrations going back to Nixon. He, instead, gave us Carol Browner and Lisa Jackson, the Terror Twins of the Green movement. He also points to what may turn out to be a lesson in the Law of Unintended Consequences (something Obama's White House seems to excel in): should the environmental Left get its way and legislate those big, bad, Earth-destroying corporations out of existence...they might find they dry up and blow away as well -- service industries like the environmental movement depend on the wealth creation of those corporations to fund their activities.
Perhaps one of the best recommendations for this broadside can be found by reading between the lines of another review. While the first review deals entirely with the work itself, the second is a whiny diatribe against the author. There isn't a shred of information -- not even opinion -- about the subject matter itself. When one is reduced to figuratively stomping one's feet in a fit of pique directed at someone because of who they are rather than what they have to say, the indictment isn't going to be against the writer. And when one picks up a book that has both the name of a government agency and the word "tyranny" in the title, perhaps one shouldn't be surprised when the current administration running that agency is denigrated.
Four stars -- good, if simplistic, breakdown of the EPA in general, and the Obama EPA in particular.