Friedman and Schwarzenegger: Embrace the Regulation!

In his New York Times column today, Tom Friedman writes about California and Initiative 0104, the California Jobs Initiative to suspend the state’s greenhouse gas emissions controls (AB 32) until unemployment falls below a certain level. Shorter column: “Regulation is good, embrace the regulation, and you can tell my brilliant argument is brilliantly persuasive because Arnold Schwarzenegger agrees with me, and I just spoke at a conference he was at, and we were both brilliant.”

Also, Friedman finds the lefty bloggers at Think Progress to be more credible on matters of public policy than the energy companies that employ hundreds of thousands of Americans and drive economic growth in the United States. Next thing you know this enlightened, worldly columnist will claim China’s system of government is superior to the American Republic.

Ramesh Ponnuru rebuts Friedman’s arguments at National Review’s The Corner blog, a post, “Outside Agitators“:

That businessmen under regulatory attack organize politically to defend themselves never ceases to be a source of shock and anger to some liberals. The premise of Thomas Friedman’s column today seems to be that California has the perfect right to wreak whatever economic damage it thinks necessary outside its borders while the businessmen affected are wrong to respond–at least if they’re out of state. Judging from his repeated geographic references he’d have weaker objections if California businessmen were the ones funding the anti-regulatory campaign. Right? In general, I think state governments should have regulatory authority to their borders but not beyond them. In the case of California, I’m tempted to add an “at most” qualifier.

The California Manufacturers and Technology Association has endorsed Initiative 0104. In a news release, the CMTA explained:

California Jobs Initiative (AB32 Suspension) — Initiative 0104 — Support (Reasons below)
Suspends Air Pollution Control Laws Requiring Major Polluters to Report and Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions That Cause Global Warming Until Unemployment Drops Below Specified Level for Full Year

Adjusting the schedule of regulations under the state’s greenhouse gas reduction law until the California economy recovers is necessary because:

AB 32 will cost California even more manufacturing jobs.
Restoring jobs and supporting a healthy California economy should be our state’s first priority. We’ve already lost over 630,000 high wage manufacturing jobs since 2001 and AB 32’s costly regulations will put even more jobs at risk – jobs we simply can’t afford to lose. Temporarily suspending AB 32 will help keep manufacturing in California.

AB 32 implementation will increase costs for manufacturers, employers and consumers.
Sharp increases in energy and other costs for manufacturers under AB 32 will translate not only to lost jobs but to higher costs for employers and consumers at a time they can least afford it. This will worsen the current recession and delay the economic recovery California so desperately needs.

Temporarily suspending AB 32 will help keep California manufacturing competitive.
Because manufacturers in other states and countries are not subject to AB 32 costs, implementation at this time will create an unlevel competitive playing field for California manufacturers. The temporary suspension of AB 32 will give California manufacturers an incentive to remain in the state rather than move jobs and tax revenues to states where their operating costs would be more affordable.

California will still have the strictest environmental laws in the country even if AB 32 regulations are postponed until the economy recovers.
AB 32 applies only to greenhouse gas emissions, which do not have local impacts. Suspending AB 32 will not weaken or repeal other existing laws that protect our air and water quality, which have made California manufacturing facilities cleaner-operating than most in other states.

“Manufacturing jobs are important to California’s economic recovery. Temporarily suspending AB 32 will help preserve those jobs and could make it easier to create new manufacturing jobs. The California Jobs Initiative will help put Californians back to work and its economy back on track, ” said CMTA President, Jack Stewart.

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