Clinton: "Coal will be part of the energy mix for years to come"
Don Blankenship, coal baron and boss of Massey Energy (source). He made his money by exploiting miners. Should he and his kind be made to pay for his miner's transition out of his now-dying industry? It's one of the choices, right?
by Gaius Publius
We talked a bit about coal recently, and how Oregon became the first state to ban its use for power generation. Seems like a good idea, if you're a climate-solutions kind of person.
But there's still a lot of money to be made in coal, so those of us who like people who like money don't want to phase it out too fast.
Which brings me to this. In a Politico Pro piece (subscription only), we found the following:
Hillary Clinton on Coal clarifies Hillary Clinton on CoalThe part that has some people exercised is this (my emphasis):
By Andrew Restuccia
03/16/2016 02:12 PM EDT
Hillary Clinton sought this week to clarify her stance on coal workers after drawing criticism for saying at a recent town hall event "we're going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business."
In a letter Tuesday to Sen. Joe Manchin, Clinton said she was "mistaken."
She continued, "I wanted to make the point that, as you know too well, while coal will be part of the energy mix for years to come, both in the U.S. and around the world, we have already seen a long-term decline in American coal jobs and a recent wave of bankruptcies as a result of a changing energy market - and we need to do more to support the workers and families facing these challenges."
"coal will be part of the energy mix for years to come, both in the U.S. and around the world"How should we think about that sentence? Is it unfair to criticize this potentially true statement? Or should we be more cynical?
Is Clinton an Enemy of People with Money? Or Does She Want to Foam Everyone's Runway?
My thoughts. "Part of the energy mix for years to come" sure has a "get used to it" feel to me, a nice little dog-whistle to the carbon-owning crowd. Consider — if we were in charge of government, climate-caring you and I, what would we do? We'd get rid of coal plants at the fastest rate possible, right? And we'd sound like getting rid of coal actually mattered when we talked about it.
Instead, Clinton uses job-concern as a reason to seem like we should proceed carefully. But after all, a great many people in the U.S. are out of jobs — many in disappearing industries — and yet I'll be willing to bet money she either signs TPP or refuses to renegotiate it; then signs TTIP and TISA, and with them, says goodbye to the last jobs worth having, save those near the top.
So, jobs? Maybe she cares only in this case? Or maybe she cares about something else as well.
Personally, I don't take her worrying about coal jobs any more seriously than I take her worrying about, say, manufacturing jobs. Remember, the Pennsylvania primary is coming soon, with West Virginia shortly after. And if she really cares about mitigating the aggressive destruction of the coal industry, there are ways to bail out people too, not just big carbon corporations and the banks that lend to them.
For a start, consider that the trillions of dollars that went out the federal door to make underwater banks whole, could have been used to make underwater mortagers whole instead. And those dollars would have actually entered the economy, not just some bank vault to be later doled out in bonuses.
If you're not an MMT (modern monetary theory) kind of person — if you're someone who feels that everything good has to be "paid for" by scrounging the money from somewhere else — there are plenty of carbon-industry perps to take a tax bite out of. (Peabody, anyone? Massey?)
And if you are an MMT kind of person — someone who realizes that if the government really wants to spend big money, like on war, it can just do it — well, there's your answer right there. Just spend it. If there's no inflation, there's no problem. (See any inflation from the un-paid-for trillions created and poured into Iraq? Me neither.)
So no, I don't think this is an unfair criticism of her, though some do think so. I find it an interesting implicit dog-whistle. "Don't worry, coal bosses; we'll foam your landing strip too."
Clinton at the 25-second mark: "I want to be the president for the struggling, the striving, and the successful" (source).
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