Fresh from another arduous weekend on the golf course in Florida, Donald Trump will fly to Yspsilanti, Michigan on Wednesday to officially take a presidential ax to the CAFE regulations left behind by the Obama administration on its way out of town.
What is going on is perfectly clear to everyone, even though the White House has refused to confirm the content of Trump’s remarks. The EPA could clearly see what was coming, as the major car companies all got in line to kiss up to the new president and beg him to rescue them from the big bad EPA that wanted to kill American jobs. Over the past few weeks, the companies, led by Mark Fields, the feckless CEO of Ford Motor Company, all trotted out the same tired shibboleths provided to them by shills for the Koch Brothers like the Heritage Foundation, the Heartland Institute, and Americans for Progress.
A million American workers will be unceremoniously thrown out of work if the CAFE rules are allowed to stand, they cried in unison. The price of cars will skyrocket, the chorus cried. Decent, hard working folks won’t be able to afford new cars was the constant refrain.
The companies have conveniently forgotten that they agreed to the EPA scheme back in 2009 when they all went crawling to Uncle Sam to save their sorry selves after the Wall Street bankers conspired to take down the global economy. But that was then; this is now. The car companies are rubbing their hands in glee as the fat profits roll in from selling light duty pickup trucks and SUVs to anyone who can sign their name on a piece of paper. Please, dear Donald, don’t let the gravy train end!
Trump undoubtedly will grant their wish, or try to. The EPA was very, very careful to load the record full of facts, figures, charts, and expert opinions so that any court reviewing its actions later would have no choice but to conclude that the agency’s decision to lock in the rules calling for average fleet economy of 54.5 mpg by 2025 had a reasonable basis in fact.
Rolling back an existing administrative order is a lot more difficult than halting a proposed rule. The EPA acted. It based its decision on reams of data. Despite Trump’s penchant for blather and bluster, the rule of law is going to present a huge roadblock to his desire to eviscerate the EPA. Environmental groups from The Sierra Club to 350.org are already lining up at the courthouse door, ready to give The Donald a civics lesson on how government really works.
The heads of GM, Ford, and Fiat Chrysler will be on hand to kiss Trump’s ring. Leaders of the major Japanese and German car companies will be on hand as well. All will be hanging on Trump’s every word and applauding wildly. There will be glee in the Motor City Wednesday afternoon once Trump officially announces his intentions.
Anybody who has read The Three Little Pigs knows how this is going to turn out. While most of the auto industry will be dancing jigs, some adults — like Elon Musk — will be carefully planning how to put all of the celebrants out of business — permanently. As the old adage goes — be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.
Source: Business Insider