Around the world, the United States of America is known as the land of opportunity. Our abundant resources, personal liberties, and open markets empower individuals to turn willpower into success. This promise of opportunity leads nearly a million immigrants to apply for citizenship and residence every year.
The American economy is a dynamo for prosperity because open markets and competition drive costs downward, meaning businesses have more resources to innovate and add employees. Unfortunately, the Federal regulatory system routinely increases these costs at the political whim of the President; and, with the stroke of his pen, Joe Biden has recently rushed to illegally impose crippling costs on almost everything we do.
Through Executive Order 13990, Biden bypassed our elected representatives to impose the Left’s radical, self-defeating green agenda on the American economy and people. This executive fiat paves the way for the most expansive and expensive federal regulatory initiative in history.
Economists have called the social cost of carbon “the most important number you’ve never heard about.” And as designed by the Obama Administration, this scheme selectively imposes a monetary “social cost” on nearly everything that involves the release of carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane. These are the ubiquitous byproducts of human life in developed economies, already subject to intense federal scrutiny.
While many know that 30% of methane emissions arise from natural gas and petroleum systems, even more would likely not be aware that nearly the same amount – 27% – is the result of livestock excretion. Nitrous oxide is another large byproduct of agriculture, with 75% of those emissions coming from soil and waste management. And carbon dioxide is a byproduct of burning anything carbon-based – like hydrocarbons, foliage, and firewood – or through certain chemical reactions, like those used to manufacture cement.
Our Nation’s capacity to provide abundant energy, nutritious food, and public works depend on these very activities. And they are affordable and available here because our economic system reduces costs.
But all of that is in jeopardy now that Joe Biden wants to rig the regulatory system to fit his agenda of self-sabotage. And to be clear: I am not talking about the cost of implementing emissions controls. I am talking about imaginary numbers thought up by political appointees to artificially raise the cost of living, working, and producing.
For instance, Joe Biden’s imaginary math would have artificially compounded regulatory costs by $9.5 trillion last year – increasing prices, reducing selections, and minimizing opportunities for businesses and consumers. This would have devastated the American recovery – especially in states like Louisiana that produce natural resources, foodstuffs, and manufacturing components used throughout our country.
Every cent of fake cost is another that demand must overcome to get the wheels of commerce back up to speed. Every seemingly minor regulatory action based on these imaginary billables moves us toward permanent augmentation or limitation of our economy and markets. This level of regulatory misconduct is unacceptable at any time, but today could be the most egregious period. Our recovery from the pandemic will surely stall and our global leadership will diminish if our consumers and producers get saddled with this inflated cost of opportunity.
I will not stand by while the President attacks our American economy and way of life. I have already filed a lawsuit to prevent the Biden Administration from carrying out this executive order that will kill thousands of jobs throughout the country and impose significant burdens on the American people. And I will continue to push back against overreach from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
Jeff Landry is Louisiana Attorney General.