Someone Tell the Pope: Environmentalism Crushes the Poor

Yesterday the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity released a report that documents how the Obama administration’s war on coal (and on cheap energy generally) has hurt poor and middle-class Americans. While I can’t vouch for the calculations, the report is an impressive piece of work, based on energy consumption and price data from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Information Administration, along with data from the Census Bureau and the Congressional Budget Office.

Energy costs consume a substantial portion of the budgets of lower-income Americans. This simple chart tells the story: while energy costs account for only 7% of expenditures by those who earn over $50,000 per year, those making less than $30,000 pay an astonishing 23% of their after-tax income for energy. Click to enlarge:

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Moreover, residential electrical costs continue to rise relentlessly, even though fracking has made plentiful sources of cheap natural gas available. This is because the Obama administration has declared war on coal, and is doing its best to drive coal-fired power plants out of existence.

Needlessly rising energy costs are no problem if you are a Democratic Party plutocrat–a government-subsidized “green” energy magnate like Tom Steyer, a Hollywood actor or a Wall Street hedge fund manager–but they cause real hardship for the poor and the middle class. The CCCE report documents hardship resulting from the Obama administration’s anti-cheap-energy policies that will be shocking to many:

To meet rising energy costs, in 2011:

* 24 percent went without food for at least one day
* 37 percent went without medical or dental care
* 34 percent did not fill a prescription or took less than the full dose
* 33 percent used their kitchen stove or oven to provide heat
* 19 percent had someone become sick because their home was too cold
* 6 percent were evicted from their home or apartment

It is easy for Pope Francis, Tom Steyer, Barack Obama and others who don’t have to worry about money to say that government policy should make electricity and gasoline more expensive so that other Americans–the poor and middle class–can’t afford to consume so much energy. But if you aren’t wealthy, government-mandated increases in energy costs mean very real cuts in the rest of your budget–a budget that goes almost entirely for food, clothing, shelter and health care. These are the necessities that millions of Americans have to forgo because of arrogant liberal policies.

We can’t un-elect the Pope–although perhaps we can educate him–but for God’s sake let’s not vote for any more Democrats who care more about discredited global warming theories than about the well-being of poor and middle-class Americans.