Daniel Turner: Labor Day betrayal – Ocasio-Cortez leads Dem candidates to embrace anti-labor policies

Democratic presidential candidates are crisscrossing the nation claiming to be the champions of blue-collar workers and demonizing President Trump as the champion of the rich and powerful who doesn’t care about working men and women. But these claims have no basis in fact.

This Labor Day weekend is a good time to separate Democratic rhetoric from reality and see how the dramatically different policies that President Trump and his Democratic would-be challengers embrace would impact American workers.

A reality check shows that Trump policies encouraging domestic energy production have created jobs, strengthened our economy, and reduced the amount of money we must spend to import energy from other nations – including some hostile to our interests.

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And a reality check also shows that while Democrats boast about their supposedly pro-worker policies, those policies would actually destroy millions of working-class jobs and devastate many communities.

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For example, the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates have all made a hard-left pivot on energy and adopted radical environmental policies like the Green New Deal. These policies would require massive regulation of how we live our lives, massive tax increases to raise trillions of dollars to implement and enforce these regulations, massive growth of government, and massive price increases on the products we rely on.

The policies of President Barack Obama look almost conservative by comparison.

There has never been a time in American history when mainstream political candidates for the presidency have embraced far-left Big Government policies as radical as the Democrats embrace today. These policies would create enormous change in our country – but despite what the Democrats say, it would be change for the worse.

Self-proclaimed socialist Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. – a magnet for media coverage – was the first to outline this extreme eco-policy. She has inspired the entire 2020 Democratic presidential field to embrace it.

Keep in mind that one of Ocasio-Cortez’s proudest accomplishments in her brief time in office was helping to persuade Amazon to cancel plans to build a second headquarters in her New York City congressional district. The headquarters would have created over 25,000 jobs with an average annual salary of over $150,000. Amazon said the highly paid workforce could have grown to 40,000 men and women in 15 years.

Ocasio-Cortez boasted that killing 40,000 jobs “defeated Amazon’s corporate greed, its worker exploitation and the power of the richest man in the world.”

The socialist senator has yet to be questioned seriously about the impossibility and unaffordability of his plans. It would just as realistic for him to propose we all grow wings so we can fly wherever we have to go, abandoning our cars and planes.   

Yet Ocasio-Cortez’s “accomplishment” of depriving 40,000 people of jobs is nothing compared to the massive job losses her Green New Deal would cause. But apparently, she considers anyone who gets a paycheck is being “exploited.” Would she like to change the name of the holiday we celebrate Monday to Unemployment Day?

Every Democratic presidential candidate has adopted at least some of the freshman congresswoman’s radical environmental ideas. The only candidate who didn’t was energy expert, scientist and former governor of energy-rich Colorado John Hickenlooper. He has since dropped out of the presidential race, and that red flag should alarm most thinking people.   

Former Vice President Joe Biden has said he wants to ban offshore oil and natural gas drilling in Alaska, which would devastate that state’s economy. In fact, he favors banning new oil and natural gas leases on all public lands. This would move energy workers in places like New Mexico and Colorado from payrolls to the unemployment rolls.

Instead of branding himself “Middle-Class Joe,” Biden’s should be honest and call himself “Job-Killing Joe.”

Presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., says she will ban fracking that produces an abundance of oil and natural gas if she gets to move into the White House. That’s a tough message in Pennsylvania, a state with almost 300,000 people working directly and indirectly in this industry.

Warren can campaign in Pennsylvania by guaranteeing those 300,000 people that she’s made sure they will not be “exploited” by earning paychecks, as Ocasio-Cortez would put it.

Socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., is even more extreme. He’d spend over $16 trillion – an unimaginable sum that would come out of your tax dollars – on an eco-plan that requires ignoring reality.

How do you build wind turbines (which require hundreds of tons of coal to forge the steel and make the concrete that anchors them to the ground) while banning coal? How do you make solar panels (which require tons of rare earth materials) when you don’t allow mining on federal lands or don’t allow fossil fuels to run excavation equipment?

The socialist senator has yet to be questioned seriously about the impossibility and unaffordability of his plans. It would just as realistic for him to propose we all grow wings so we can fly wherever we have to go, abandoning our cars and planes.

It’s no wonder that the labor movement – once the backbone of the Democratic Party – is aghast at what these so-called pro-labor candidates have embraced. The AFL-CIO, representing over 12 million workers, has slammed the Green New Deal as “not achievable or realistic.”

The Green New Deal would effectively lay off the 1.1 million Americans who work in coal, oil, and natural gas industries. And of course, these layoffs would hurt the spouses and children of the workers who would lose their jobs, along with businesses that provide goods and services to them – destroying even more jobs.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka put it best when he said: “Simply demanding that plants, industries and projects be stopped or shut down, with no plan for the people who are put out of work, no call for shared sacrifice, and no dialogue or solidarity with those whose lives and communities are dependent on carbon-based fuels, that poisons the well politically.”

Showing solidarity with workers means supporting their livelihoods, not betraying them while living in willful ignorance of their contributions to our country.

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But that’s exactly what these Democratic presidential candidates do when they consume the fruit of energy workers’ labor – affordable, abundant, reliable, domestic energy – while simultaneously traveling around our nation on planes, campaign buses and cars powered by fossil fuels.

The energy produced by oil, natural gas and coal makes everything in our economy affordable, from food prices to our cars. Thee low prices of fossil fuels are made possible by the current boom in U.S. energy exports, which OPEC laments are “messing” with its plans to keep oil prices high.

When former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas, yet another Democratic presidential hopeful, changes a flat tire or makes a burger on Instagram as a publicity stunt he’s either ignorant or indifferent to the fact it’s all made possible by energy. After all, you need rubber for tires. The flame on his stove is powered by natural gas. Even the camera streaming the video is itself a product of fossil fuel and runs on fossil fuels.

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All the daily things we take for granted are made possible by energy workers. On Labor Day we owe it to them to celebrate their contributions.

Fill up your gas tank, light up the grill, watch football on TV – no matter what you do, you are saying “thank you” to millions of energy workers who power the nation, power our lifestyles, and power the future.

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