Saturday, July 15, 2017

Once and for all: Obama didn’t crush US coal, and Trump can’t save it
"What’s distasteful about the whole thing is that Trump has won the allegiance of coal communities by reinforcing and amplifying the same lie they have been told by right-wing media and politicians for years: that Obama’s pollution regulations on the US coal industry are responsible for its (and their) recent woes. It’s not true. And the information that shows it’s not true is easily available, so they should know it’s not true. Many probably do. But it is a convenient lie, one that riles up a reliable political constituency and serves as a bludgeon in the culture war. It is not, however, a benign lie. The struggles facing Appalachian coal country are very real. Unemployment, ill health, drug addiction, stress, and depression have ravaged the region. Now thousands of retired coal miners are in danger of losing their pensions and health care benefits. (Guess who has refused to schedule a vote on a bill that would address that crisis? One Addison Mitchell McConnell, Republican leader of the Senate. Guess who had a plan to funnel $30 billion to suffering Appalachian communities? One Hillary Rodham Clinton, the competent, boring president America might have had, if not for emails.) It does people in the region no good to believe that coal jobs will come roaring back once pesky pollution regulations are overturned. It sets them up for more disappointment and wastes time and energy they could be devoting to finding a new and better future for their communities."

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