The implementation of the Clean Air Act and, more recently, the Clean Power Plan by Obama’s administration and the Environmental Protection Agency will forever change the traditional structure of the nation’s electric power system by curtailing the emission of carbon dioxide. Unfortunately, these environmental regulations have bleak economic consequences for the country’s financial future.
National Employment Rights Authority Economic Consulting claims that consumer electricity rates for Americans will increase by between nine and 20 percent each year from 2017 to 2031 because of the government’s regulation of carbon emission. While Obama’s administration fought tirelessly to pass the Affordable Care Act, which makes healthcare more accessible to families with lower incomes, its environmental policies place people with less money at a clear disadvantage. Families with less financial stability will face a harsher reality as consumer regulation becomes more prominent. The situation underscores how the government chooses how and when they want to focus on eliminating poverty, instead of consistently putting the needs of the most vulnerable Americans on the front lines of political discussion.
The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, after extensive data collection, has concluded that families with incomes between $10,000 and $30,000 spent 24 percent of their total income on energy in 2012 as opposed to the 14 percent they spent on energy in 2001. Families with yearly incomes of over $50,000 spent nine percent of their household budgets on energy in 2012 and only spent five percent in 2001. By implementing the CPP, the Obama administration is widening the wealth gap and an anti-Robin Hood position on taxation by taking more from the poor than it takes from the rich.
Minorities will be specifically targeted by new environmental policies. The National Black Chamber of Commerce recently found that, by 2035, the CPP will increase poverty by 23 percent among blacks and by 26 percent among Hispanics. The same study predicted that 12 million Hispanics and seven million blacks will lose their jobs. Thus, new EPA policies could potentially reverse the development of these communities, provoking a spiral back into high rates of violence and crime in communities currently on paths to improvement. America, as a nation, cannot implement policies that implicitly encourage clear racial and economic barriers. Governments must take into account the needs of their most vulnerable citizens when planning climate change policies.