Donald Trump

Even Freed from Regulations, Don't Expect Coal Jobs To Return. Or Factory Jobs, Either.

Some industries die natural deaths and Donald Trump and others shouldn't try to change that.

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Forbes, Baker Institute

Two hallmarks of President Donald Trump's plans to revive the economy are lifting regulations on coalmining and forcing companies to bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States via protectionist policies. Neither is likely to work, for related reasons.

Consider coal first. The Baker Institute writes at Forbes:

Government regulations have very little to do with coal's problems. Repealing the CPP [Clean Power Plan, a regulation passed by President Obama] or opening federal lands to mining won't rescue King Coal from the drubbing it is receiving at the hands of cheaper, cleaner natural gas and wind power….

The challenge is as Sisyphean as it is undesirable. His plan represents a broadside against the market and climate forces that have made great strides in modernizing American power generation. Even Trump's stated grounds for his avowed goal, employment, would most likely be undermined by his intervention….

As my colleagues demonstrate, short of an improbable event that sends natural gas prices soaring, there is little chance of a coal renaissance in America. That's a good thing, for plenty of reasons.

Natural gas and other forms of energy are more efficient and create less pollution. Coal mining employed just 66,000 in 2015, while newer methods of energy extraction, such as shale gas, employ more people. So anything that Trump does to stoke demand for coal in the current climate will have counterproductive impacts.

When it comes to manufacturing, Trump (along with many other politicians, including Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders) similarly overpromises. Manufacturing jobs—factory work, essentially—has been declining as a share of employment since 1943.

The red line, which runs left to right and captures the percentage of factory workers as a percentage of total employment, shows a straight-line decline from the 1940s until the 2010s, when it flattens out around 8 percent as it slowly approaches zero percent. Apart from relatively small artisanal manufacturing shops scattered around America, there is no reason to expect a large reversal in a trend that has been in place for around 70 years. Trump and other "economic nationalists" may well try to bully, tax, and otherwise discourage companies from moving jobs overseas, but the jobs saved will be rounding errors and simply forestall whatever developments might actually jack up the economy for real.

Wike

Consider for instance the effects of occupational licensing rules and other certifications that create barriers to entry for new businessess, operators, and services. For all his talk about cutting regulations, Trump has had little to say about sharing economy ventures such as Uber or Lyft. Given his interests in conventional hoteling, I assume he is not predisposed toward Airbnb and other house-sharing services. But those are the sorts of come-from-nowhere services and companies the squeeze jobs and value out of otherwise dead assets.

Economies function more efficiently when the actors in them—consumers and producers alike—are generally free to act how they want. Vested interests will always be trying to screw over competitors and customers so they can maintain or grow their market share. One of the things I like about Trump is his willingness to talk about deregulating vast aspects of the economy. Unfortunately, his deregulatory zeal seems to be less about creating a wide-open economy that is characterized by creative destruction which "incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one" and more about reviving some preferred industry from the past.

Unless we really get lucky, deregulation informed by nostalgia isn't going to create a vibrant future.

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  1. If getting rid of the regulations won’t bring the jobs back, then I guess the regulations were not so bad.

    The red line, which runs left to right and captures the percentage of factory workers as a percentage of total employment, shows a straight-line decline from the 1940s until the 2010s, when it flattens out as it approaches zero percent. Apart from relatively small artisanal manufacturing shops scattered around America, there is no reason to expect a large reversal in a trend that has been in place for around 70 years. Trump and other “economic nationalists” may well try to bully, tax, and otherwise discourage companies from moving jobs overseas, but the jobs saved will be rounding errors and simply forestall whatever developments might actually jack up the economy for real.

    That entire paragraph is, sans the observation that the trend is down, nothing but unsupported assumptions. Nick seems to think that regulations had very little negative effect on the economy. That is a curious statement coming from a libertarian.

    1. Another way to look at it: if there is no industry even with the regulations, why bother having the regulations?

      1. Sure. But it is a null set. If the regulations don’t do any economic damage, then why were they bad? Their supporters can certainly give a million reasons why they are good. The reason why they are supposed to be bad is they harm the economy. If they don’t do that, then there isn’t much of a case against them is there?

        Beyond that, what the hell kind of epic idiot does one have to be to honestly believe that the regulatory state had nothing to do with the decline in manufacturing employment in this country?

        1. An epic idiot joined by millions of others. Here, we can always cite Tony as an example.

        2. I don’t know if it’s true, but it’s not a contradiction to say that regulation played a role in the decline in manufacturing jobs, but that removing the regulations won’t bring those jobs back. There are a lot of other factors involved when it comes to whether or not those jobs will return. Many of the regulations that helped to drive out the jobs may still be causing economic harm in other areas as well.
          And I don’t see anyone claiming that regulations had nothing to do with the decline in manufacturing jobs.

          1. Either you believe in human ingenuity or you don’t. One of two things is true. Either there is an economic need for such jobs or there is not. If there is, then the jobs will come back. Economic efficiency always finds a way unless the government stops it. If there is not, then well the regulations really were not so bad were they?

            If for some reason they don’t, then it is a legitimate question to ask what then, because uber and lyft and the sharing economy is not going to bring prosperity or create an economy anyone without a trust fund would want to live in.

            1. It is silly to think that gig jobs like Uber or Lyft are the path to prosperity. But I like to think that conventional corporate employment isn’t the only way either. If we could lose a lot of regulation and disconnect things like health insurance from employment, there would be a lot more opportunity for people to do their own thing, or work independently.
              I think that more manufacturing would have to be part of that whole thing, but any manufacturing is likely to be less labor intensive than in the past.

              1. I agree with that Zeb. Ultimately big corporations are always going to exist. Some things just can’t be done in your basement. Corporations are really amazing things. They are these enormous organizations that organize and harness the productivity of thousands of people. Thanks to corporations and the amazing productive power of them, you can go down to your grocery store and buy produce from anywhere in the world at a cheap price. Manufactured products like paper and clothing and gasoline are cheap and produced and consumed in unimaginable quantities.

                You are not going to replace that with artisanal operations and the sharing economy. Nick is this weird combination of urban lefty cultural sensibility with radical libertarian individualism. There is nothing wrong with individualism, but when you combine it with Nick’s urban leftist cultural sensibilities, you wind up thinking dumb shit like Uber and home hair salons are going to replace manufacturing and corporations as the way to prosperity.

                1. So anything that Trump does to stoke demand for coal in the current climate will have counterproductive impacts.

                  Oh, for fuck’s sake, Nick. Getting rid of counterproductive government regulations will be counterproductive? Seriously?

                2. Actually, corporations are the biggest wrench you can throw into a free market system. They are nothing but entities that exist at the whim of the government and are protected by the government.

                  1. Corporations are the reason why you live in an industrialized society.

                  2. LOL! Start your own company and see how “protected” you are.

          2. I don’t see anyone claiming that regulations had nothing to do with the decline in manufacturing jobs.

            Put these on.

          3. it’s not a contradiction to say that regulation played a role in the decline in manufacturing jobs, but that removing the regulations won’t bring those jobs back
            The first half is backed by the evidence; the second half is pure speculation. Time and again, Reason has taken the regulatory state to task but in these cases, it’s a good thing? That’s not intellectual consistency; that’s sophistry, and thinly-disguised sophistry at that.

            1. Time and again, Reason has taken the regulatory state to task but in these cases, it’s a good thing?

              I’m not clear on what the question is there. Do you think that Nick was arguing that the regulations are a good thing?

              Of course it’s speculation. He’s talking about what might happen in a hypothetical future. I think Nick gets it somewhat wrong, but I’m not seeing any argument that regulations don’t matter and are just fine.

              1. much as I hate to say it, Nick’s calculation boils down to Trump!1! It’s just interesting this is the set of regulations that he finds meaningless, then he gets into non sequiturs like hair-braiding and Lyft.

                He has no idea what would happen if regs on coal and manufacturing were lifted; on principle alone, he should favor it and the market will then decide.

                1. Yeah, but people at cocktail parties like Uber. No coal miners or guy in a factory are at cocktail parties.

                2. on principle alone, he should favor it and the market will then decide.

                  That’s certainly true. Even if the regulations have no economic harm, they are still backed up by force and shouldn’t exist if they aren’t necessary to protect people from undue injury. That’s just basic libertarian principle.

    2. Constructing a straw man out of the idea that regulation is going to make productivity disappear from the universe is stupid. “Look! Still some manufacturing left! Dumb libertarians, regulation not harmful!”

    3. That is a curious statement coming from a libertarian.

      Nick Gillespie may be a LINO (libertarian in name only) as evidenced by his stated support for a welfarist safety net.

    4. The regulations are still bad for reasons other than just employment.

  2. Who cares what the motivation is? Any deregulation will end up benefiting industries that weren’t targeted, including potential new industries that may never have got a start otherwise.

    1. No kidding Fatty. it never seems to occur to Nick that anyone might come up with a better way to manufacture things or a new use for coal. This is an astounding article in many ways. Nick honestly seems to think that the economic future and key to prosperity lies in some kind of hipster economy of people cutting each other’s hair and selling artisanal mayonnaise. It is just bizarre.

      1. That feels like you’re projecting a few random thoughts into the article. More deregulation is always good. Who cares what happens to coal as an energy source (besides coal industries I guess?) Why not expand on the articles regulation premise and talk about how other energy methods need some love too? (Nuclear love all night long bro!)

        1. More deregulation is always good. Who cares what happens to coal as an energy source (besides coal industries I guess?)

          I only care about it to the extent that the government tries to kill it. And the deregulation premise of the article seems to be that regulation never really harmed manufacturing. Otherwise, how can Nick be so certain that getting rid of regulation won’t bring at least some of it back?

          If there is any projection going on, it is on Nick’s part. This article is one giant exercise in social signaling and snobbery. The point seems to be that those unhip, nasty people who do things that Nick looks down upon are doomed no matter what. Like I say, it is just a strange article.

          1. Look, I’m right there with you when it comes to distaste for government promoting/demoting anything due to it’s preferences. I suppose I’m not really interested in Nicks possible social signalling.

            Heck, I’ll show my hand and admit I’m from Indiana (where almost all of our cheap energy comes from coal) and I’m happy to see these downward trends for that energy source. But I’d rather spend my energy (pun intended) getting some baller new stuff installed in the state like nuclear and natural gas.

            I guess my main point is: we should all play nice or Tony wins.

            1. And I’d rather not. How about we let the free market decide which energy source makes sense and not its cool factor?

              1. I’m perfectly fine with that. Can I not have free markets and cool stuff at the same time. I thought that was the whole point of free markets. Ya know, “my money, my choice”.

                1. I’m fine with you paying above market prices for “cooler” forms of energy than plain old fashioned unhip coal. Just don’t force the rest of us to go along.

          2. And the deregulation premise of the article seems to be that regulation never really harmed manufacturing.

            Still not seeing where he said that.

            Otherwise, how can Nick be so certain that getting rid of regulation won’t bring at least some of it back?

            I think he’s probably a bit too certain about it. With some significant deregulation, I imagine there would be some increase in manufacturing. But there are reasons to think so other than “regulations don’t matter”. Automation is one particularly obvious example.

            1. Still not seeing where he said that.

              Forget it, Zeb, he is on a roll. Unless you want a free psychotherapy session in which John will reveal to you the deep seated and misguided unconscious motivations that guide your beliefs.

              1. You really do find literate people magical, don’t you? You honestly can’t comprehend the full implications of ideas.

                Either that or you are just a completely dishonest twat who can but chooses to do so when it suits your purposes. I am kind of betting on the latter or a mixture of both. Whatever it is, it is always an oddly compelling train wreck.

                1. What I do comprehend, John, is that people can make different conclusions based on the same set of facts based on their different values. I also understand that values cannot be assigned a truth value, because I am not a confused moral realist like you.

            2. Regulations also have scale tipping abilities, where industry is leaning one way prior to regulation, then another after regulation, and now the natural direction has changed.

            3. Manufacturing is not the same thing as manufacturing *jobs*. Regulations harm a lot more than just the number of *jobs*.

              Coals use decline is not solely the result of regulation. If you’re building a new power plant today, then gas is a cheaper way to go, not only because of regulations. Nor are coal jobs loss solely the result of regulation. There’s also been a lot of innovation in mining equipment, and not just coal, that is reducing mining, and not just coal, employment.

        2. Nick’s citation says that coal is suffering competition from nat gas (fine) and wind (doubleplus unfine). The only reason wind is competitive is that producers get paid half the fucking wholesale cost of coal baseload. For a purported libertarian that should be a huge red flag. It isn’t for Nick.

          1. The only reason wind is competitive is that producers get paid half the fucking wholesale cost of coal baseload.

            Please explain? Coal is paid to provide the baseload regardless of generation and wind acts as a peaker plant when it is generating energy. The input cost of wind energy is 0, whereas coal has a given coal of fuel supply. Coal actually gets subsidized in this situation because they can reduce their energy cost (through reducing load) when wind is blowing, but still get paid for their baseload. If this subsidy went away, wind would further drive coal out of business

            1. Coal doesn’t get paid a fixed rate regardless of what’s occurring on the market. Rates vary all of the time depending on conditions. In fact they can even go negative. Wind benefits from the production tax credit which pays them $.02 for every kwh they produce regardless of when they produce it and what the current spot price is.

              Coal isn’t natural gas. You don’t just turn it off and on when you feel like it and save money. It takes hours for a coal plant to come up, so no they don’t get a subsidy.

              1. You eliminate the subsidy for wind and it still hammers coal, which is why subsidies exist to maintain coal plant production because states can’t afford to lose the coal plant yet.

                1. What subsidy? This isn’t energiewende. Show me the production tax credit for coal. Show me the investment tax credit for coal. You can’t. The closest you can come is the depletion allowance gor coal producers ehich is no different than the depletion allowance for rare earth extractors required for wind.

                  1. here you go: http://www.sourcewatch.org/ind….._subsidies

                  2. here you go: http://www.sourcewatch.org/ind….._subsidies

      2. But how many regulations will really be lifted. Trump is unlikely to repeal the clean water act or clear air act, just a bunch of addendums that Obama added. Meanwhile, efficiency in gas drilling is driving power generation away from coal at prices high enough to increase supply, China is reducing its importing of US coal and environmentals and isolationists are bootlegger and baptistfying the whole coal industry in the US.

        I think Nick’s argument is wrong, but I don’t see you having a strong argument as to how coal will return.

        1. Trump can’t repeal any law. At most he can reduce enforcement of it. Repeal has to come from Congress.

          Coal, and especially not coal jobs, aren’t going to return for a lot of reasons, and regulations are not the only one.

  3. Consider for instance the effects of occupational licensing rules and other certifications that create barriers to entry for new businessess, operators, and services. For all his talk about cutting regulations, Trump has had little to say about sharing economy ventures such as Uber or Lyft.

    That is because those things are not national issues and shouldn’t matter to the President. Does Nick actually think the key to prosperity is cut rate taxi services and at home nail salons?

    1. True and good thing he hasnt talked about the sharing econ. He could be like a sanders or hillary who want to get rid of it cause profits are icky mmkay

      1. I wish more of that ick would stick to me.

    2. The key to prosperity? No. Growing a larger pie and giving people more choices? Yes.

  4. …short of an improbable event that sends natural gas prices soaring, there is little chance of a coal renaissance in America.

    They’re barely pumping anything out of the gas under my property. There’s such a glut. They keep drilling new wells and letting them sit idle until they’re needed. Coal is done.

    1. They do use coal for other things. There is this item we like to call steel that requires coal.

      1. There is a massive vein (hehehe) of coal under my property and the surrounding property, which they had leased to mine. After about eight years of testing and permits, they finally gave up. It’s staying in the ground. It’s just not worth it.

        1. There could be perfectly viable markets in europe and asia. The brown coal that germany is burning is some of the worst compared to what they could import from the US. I don’t know the specific grade on your land but I have to believe it’s better than what they have.

      2. Coal can also be made into synthetic gasoline.

        The Germans did that in WW2.

        1. It’s a very expensive chemical process that only made sense when the Germans were faced with the prospect of no petroleum access due to the war.

          It’s not anywhere close to viable.

      3. True, but they can get all the coke they need without creating new coal jobs from existing mines if coal continues to be used less for power generation.

      4. Yeah, where are Pennsylvania redneck dudebros gonna get fuel for their truck smoke stacks?

        1. Are you even sentient anymore? Do you know the subject of the conversation or do you just type random strange shit?

        2. “Rolling coal” does not involve actual coal.

          1. I know, it’s diesel. I just wanted to bitch about those dudes, because I got stuck behind one last time I was in PA. Fucking obnoxious. Actual wood-powered vehicles burn relatively clean and are fascinating.

    2. Coal is done.

      Speak for yourself. I need stocking stuffers.

    3. Energy prices fluctuate. No energy company sunk billions into building new gas-fired plants, because of a marginal coast reduction that may or may not materialize from using natural gas over coal. Regulations forced them to undertaken these new capital costs.

      To suggest that we will never dig for coal again, even if regulations were eliminated, is quite asinine.

      1. Not true. Gas plant is cheap and quick. There are lots of reasons to like it for new or replacement capacity. Now the effect of regulations on retiring existing coal fired capital is a very good point.

  5. What you’ve just written is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever read. At no point in your rambling, incoherent article were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone on this site is now dumber for having read it.

    1. And may God have mercy on your jacket.

    2. You are just social signaling.

    3. I think it’s safe to say now that Nick Gillespie is in fact ‘Tony’

  6. There’s a good point in this but coal isn’t used exclusively for power production or even within the US. Haven’t Japan and India have been increasing their demand?

    1. Also europe will need some like wood chips

  7. Liquid Thorium FTW.

    1. No.

      1. So you’re either a coal worker or progressive? Anyway, I still think it’s a great energy source that could use some more love and investment.

        1. Neither, I’m just educated. MSR’s are promising but thorium is just plain dumb now. It requires a combination of higher fissile inventory or increased cost and proliferation risk.

  8. The cpp should not be kept because coal wont come back. It still produces 34 percent of the electricity which is significant

    Also less regs on nuclear please and natural gas and hydro

  9. Trump’s handlers have cautioned America to not take Trump’s words seriously. So I won’t. Who could?

  10. For all his talk about cutting regulations, Trump has had little to say about sharing economy ventures such as Uber or Lyft. Given his interests in conventional hoteling, I assume he is not predisposed toward Airbnb and other house-sharing services. But those are the sorts of come-from-nowhere services and companies the squeeze jobs and value out of otherwise dead assets.

    It never seems to occur to Nick that you become more prosperous by creating new assets not just getting more value from old ones. Nick sounds like one of those people who thinks that building a sports stadium is the key to prosperity. Cheap rooms and taxi services are nice but, like a sports stadium shuffling around entertainment dollars, they just shuffle around money that is already there. Yes, we now get cheaper rooms and spend our money on Air B&B rather than hotels. That, however, only makes us slightly better off. We are only richer to the extent that the existing services in hotels and taxis are more efficient and cost less. The benefit is only the marginal reduction in cost. Everything else is just shuffling money around. It is not like someone starting a business to create goods or services that were not already there. At most the sharing economy is an increase in efficiency. It is not a ticket to prosperity.

    1. At most the sharing economy is an increase in efficiency.

      At most planes, trains & automobiles are an increase in transportation efficiency (vs. hiking & stagecoaches). At most networked computers (digital devices) are an increase in information retrieval & processing efficiency (vs. electromechanical calculators & brick-&-stone libraries & mechanical printing, the latter which itself was only an increase of efficiency vs. codex copying by hand).

      1. A train is something completely new. It is a different way of doing something. It increases your capacity to do something. That is not the sharing economy. The sharing economy is just using things you already have a bit more efficiently. That is nice but it is not the same thing as invention or advancement.

        If you can’t see the difference between Air B&B and the invention of the railroad, you are fucking hopeless.

        1. It increases your capacity to do something.

          Which is an increase in efficiency, in particular transportation (of people & goods) efficiency.

          The sharing economy is just using things you already have a bit more efficiently.

          So your problem is that incremental efficiency improvements aren’t as large as the ones provided by the introduction of new technologies. For you, only large efficiency improvements are meaningful; you don’t sweat the small stuff. But other people do: they’re happy if they can lower their taxi costs by a third (or whatever less they pay for Uber/Lyft than for monopolized taxi services).

          1. “The sharing economy …” line should have been in blockquote, as it is a quote from you.

    2. Almost all economic progress happens at the margins and with incremental improvements. Those increments, and the more widely spread they are, add up over time.

      Uber makes taking a “taxi” cheaper so more people use more “taxi” services. AirBnB makes renting a “room” cheaper so more people rent “rooms.” It all adds up.

  11. “Government regulations have very little to do with coal’s problems. ”

    Not entirely true.

    The coal industry is hoping to increase exports to Asian countries that use a lot of it but the Democrats running the governments in west coast states are blocking construction of the port facilities necessary to ship the coal overseas.

    http://www.foxnews.com/politic…..vival.html

    1. Look Gilbert, no one in the world is going to use coal. It is just not hip man. The future lies in selling each other manicures and artisanal pot brownies. Didn’t you know that?

    2. Funny, that article made no mention of the fact that China needs coal because it stopped buying from North Korea. Odd.

      1. China doesn’t need the Norks. The Norks need China.

        1. I was literally just there working with some companies and this exact problem came up. They’re scrambling to find new coal suppliers because they cut off their shipments from N. Korea. I still haven’t figured out what they did to piss off big C, but it was a major pain in my butt.

          1. It was the assassination of Kim Jong Nam.

            The guy was pretty outspoken about how his family ruled and wanted North Korea to work more closely with China. He was pretty much to go to guy to install once China finally gets sick of the current ruler.

      2. I thought China had shit loads of coal of their own.

        1. They need more to feed the euros

        2. Could be an extraction problem, China has some imposing geography. Our coal might just be cheaper to get out of the ground and to the customer.

  12. Prog line f the day, on the individual mandate

    “i don’t see it as bullying; I see it as another tax. And in my eyes, taxes arn’t bad so long as they’re going to be used for someone else in need”

    Jesus Christ

    1. And this is why progressives are full of themselves.

      1. Oh they’re full of *something* alright.

    2. “Very well, citizen. Please fork over your entire paycheck. Don’t worry, it’s going to someone in need.”

  13. Someone please check on the supply of polyjuice potions. I suspect Barty Crouch Jr. has Nick locked up in a trunk somewhere.

  14. Repealing the CPP [Clean Power Plan, a regulation passed by President Obama] or opening federal lands to mining won’t rescue King Coal from the drubbing it is receiving at the hands of cheaper, cleaner natural gas and wind power

    But repealing it wouldn’t hurt, right?

    1. Damn i missed the wind power comment. Is nick serious there?

      Wind is only 4.4 percent of grid and has hardly moved the past two years while receiving the benefit of mandates and subsidies. Calling it cheap and a displacer of coal is dishonest

      1. They make good bird guillotines though.

        1. a good bird guillotine would produce a carcass ready for plucking, gutting and roasting, not a pile of indistinguishable goo. 1/5 stars on amazon.

      2. It was in something he quoted.

      3. And wind power is not cheaper than coal. Not even close.

      4. Wind powers is good… as long as you don’t lose your mind over it. It will NEVER be a reliable base source of energy, will always be an auxiliary source, and only in areas where building them makes sense. It works only because we have an electric grid that can manage intermittent variable sources of power.

        The conservatives are stupid for thinking wind power is stupid.
        The progressives are stupid for thinking window power is genius.

        1. And the cosmos are stupid for thinking intermittent sources of power are good. It isn’t an “auxiliary” source of power if you can’t dispatch it. If you don’t know if it’s going to be there in the next 5min then you have to have some reserve somewhere that you know will be. And that means running said backup inefficiently and expensively.

          We used to rely on windpower centuries ago just like we used to rely on horses. Then we discovered real, dependable energy sources and finally started living better than cavemen.

          1. natural gas is the natural complement to wind with the proper infrastructure. Oil and Coal rule because they can literally occupy real estate nearby until you need it. A reliable pipeline network of natural gas can do the same thing for the future. The future relies however in a new electrical network based on HVDC current, which is decades off. With that in place and sufficient battery technology (doesn’t have to be terribly better than current), wind and solar may actually stand a chance of making up a good portion of electrical generation.

            1. I think the future of electricity lies in decentralized generation with Combined Heat and Power systems fed by natural gas.

              1. Or maybe Lockheed Martin’s nuclear fusion power plants that will supposedly be mobile enough to be hauled on trucks.

            2. If I have natural gas I don’t need wind. HVDC solves all of our problems huh? I never knew it was so easy. You musy be reading jacobson.

              And battery technology is nowhere near good enough for utility scale silly vanity projects reported in pop sci included. Even pumped hydro which is our best utility scale storage option would require over a hundred hoover dams to provide adequate reserve for so called renewables.

              1. I mean we could argue whether or not you even bother with wind or solar if you have infinite supplies of natural gas, but assuming individual unit wind economics will improve to be better than natural gas in terms of capital vs. expected return, then the way you make it work is with an better grid and battery system. The thousands of hoover dams may be the best efficiency for storage, but its impractical vs. 10’s of thousands of local battery stations.

                1. When I run out of natural gas I go to nuclear. Fission already works. Gen IV options could easily be proven out long before needed. Or I go subcritical hybrid. Or I go fusion. I don’t see any reason at all to go backwards in energy generation to a time when we were completely at the mercy of fickle nature.

                  And dams are far, far more practical than battery stations. The energy density and cost of battery storage is ludicrous. Just because you want batteries to be the solution doesn’t make it so. The only battery technologies on the horizon that stand a small chance of achieve grid scal would be large flow battery farms and their specific energy is little better than lead acid.

          2. The fact that alternative energy is far from the best use of resources in general doesn’t mean that it may not, in some specific cases, be cheaper than building the infrastructure for getting small amounts of power to remote areas.

    2. Damn i missed the wind power comment. Is nick serious there?

      Wind is only 4.4 percent of grid and has hardly moved the past two years while receiving the benefit of mandates and subsidies. Calling it cheap and a displacer of coal is dishonest

      1. You beat me too it. Nick is degenerating into some kind of Andy Kaufman comedy act impersonating the urban hipster liberaltarian.

        1. “When it comes to wind power, Nick is DEgenerating…”

      2. clearly, an observation that bears repeating.

      3. That’s from the Baker Institute article he’s quoting. Nick didn’t write that.

        1. He cited it and didn’t take issue.

    3. You wouldn’t think so would you? And good catch. I missed this piece of idiocy.

      King Coal from the drubbing it is receiving at the hands of cheaper, cleaner natural gas and wind power

      Wind power? Wind Power? I am sorry but if Nick thinks wind power is a competitive alternative to coal, he is a moron. Why on earth would he write such a thing?

      1. It also has to be backed up by fossil fuels

        1. Or Nuclear or hydro or biomass.

          But at the moment, yeah, pretty much fossil fuels.

          1. True but nuclear is harder to set up

            1. You don’t back up wind and solar with nuclear. Nuclear takes too long to power up and down.

      2. He didn’t it was from an article he quoted.

        1. Whoops ya my mistake. Then direct that to the clown who wrote it!

        2. Fair enough. But holy cow whoever wrote that article is an idiot.

          1. No, not fair enough. Nick used that citation to back up his thesis so he might as well have written it.

            1. True that.

    4. No. Industries are seeking billions into new natural gas fired plants to receive marginal savings over thirty to forty years, although this may never be realized considering the fluctuating price of energy. It couldn’t be that this was done because of regulation. That would make Trump sound good, although, technically it would also justify a supposed libertarian economic argument. Nonetheless, TDS for life

      1. You replace a perfectly good power plant because a new one uses marginally cheaper fuel. The only reason companies were shifting to gas is because the threat of the EPA greenhouse regulations forced them to do so. Nick is just lying when he implies that these shifts were done for economic reasons.

    5. And let’s get rid of those wind subsidies while we are at it and see how cheap wind power is.

  15. Regulations along with mandated bennies and min wage are the reasons for outsourcing….but progs can feel good!

    Now i dont think necessarily if you remove they come back however in future outsourcing becomes less attractive

    1. Not necessarily, but it seems likely. It depends on a lot of different factors though, so it’s hard to say for sure one way or the other. At the very least, it would lead to less jobs leaving.

  16. http://hotair.com/archives/201…..-creation/

    These ADP numbers that just came out showing growth in manufacturing and coal jobs are really inconvenient for your article.

    Granted some industries cannot be salvaged, but to suggest that reducing regulation will not improve economic conditions in these sectors, kind of refutes the whole libertarian point of less government, no?

  17. Coal was on its way out as a fuel until the oil crisis of the 1970s when it became much cheaper. One of my neighbors when I was a kid even installed a coal stove to replace his oil furnace, which I thought was pretty cool until I noticed it was turning the snow black. Thanks to innovation and the free market, coal’s days are numbered again with natural gas much easier and cleaner to have. However….the progs won’t be happy until ALL fossil fuels are banned, which in my opinion is a good reason not to give into them an inch on regulations.

    1. NatGas will kill it on its own, we don’t need to meddle.

      1. Eventually maybe. But power plants are huge capital investments. You don’t just toss them away and replace them with gas plants because gas gets cheaper. When the plant needs to be replaced or you need to build a new one, sure you build a gas one if gas is cheaper. But you don’t get rid of the coal one until it is at the end of its useful life. The only reason gas is replacing coal so fast is because the prospect of the EPA regulating CO2 was forcing power companies to replace coal plants before they should have been.

        So if nothing else, ending that, should stop power companies from shutting down perfectly good coal plants. Also, other countries use coal and there is no reason why we shouldn’t be exporting it if they are willing to buy.

        So coal is not going to die anytime soon. And I know that people think natural gas will be forever cheap. And maybe it will. But such predictions have a bad habit of not coming true. So, I wouldn’t discount coal completely.

        1. The only reason gas is replacing coal so fast is because the prospect of the EPA regulating CO2 was forcing power companies to replace coal plants before they should have been.

          Do you have any evidence for this claim? Preferably evidence that doesn’t consist of anecdotes and links to WND?

          1. http://www.governing.com/gov-d…..tions.html

            The Associated Press reports more than 32 mostly coal-fired power plants will close and another 36 plants could also be forced to shut down as a result of new EPA rules regulating air pollution.

            Do you ever get tired of being ignorant? Is stupidity and pig ignorance really that seductive? I can’t understand how someone could be as willfully stupid as you appear to be.

            1. He’s not entirely wrong. New gas plant can be brought on quickly, cheaply, and in nice modular increments say 20MW. When plumbed into an existing steam plant in CCGT it can be much more efficient than coal (60% vs. 30%). Coal has a real problem against gas irrespective of the econuts.

              1. It does until you factor in the capital costs of replacing a perfectly good coal plant. It costs a lot of money to build a power plant. So you are betting on really cheap gas for a really long time to justify replacing it.

                Beyond that, power companies often have contracts that lock in their coal or gas supply for years at a set price. So closing your coal plant also can involve breaking your coal contract, which may not be cheap.

                If it is the case that gas is cheaper than coal, and it appears to be so, then gas will eventually replace coal on its own. But that fact should not be used to pretend the EPA CO2 regulations were somehow harmless.

                1. If the economics for building a new coal plant don’t beat natural gas, then really the best you can hope for is a slow decline based on retiring plants.

            2. Your claim was that the EPA regulations were forcing power companies to replace coal plants “before they should have been”. All of the red dots in the link that you provided were coal plants that were built in the 1940’s and 50’s, a few in the 60’s. What is the useful life of a coal-fired power plant? If the power plant had already been operating for 70 years, seems to me that it was due to be retired anyway. Maybe there are a couple on that list that the EPA regulations are forcing the closure of. But an alternative explanation is that most of the power plants on that list were going to close anyway and their operators are using EPA regulations as a convenient scapegoat for why they have to close, instead of blaming, say, fracking or natural gas or competition generally.

              1. All of the red dots in the link that you provided were coal plants that were built in the 1940’s and 50’s, a few in the 60’s.

                As long as any other piece of equipment, as long as you want to maintain it. Read the article. Those plants were being closed because of the regulations. They were not plants that were going to close anyway. So there is proof.

                Again, you seem to enjoy being stupid. So, go ahead and deny your lying eyes.

                1. They were not plants that were going to close anyway.

                  We don’t know that this counterfactual is correct. In fact:

                  http://www.powermag.com/americ…..ion-fleet/

                  Coal-fired generation units across the U.S. are an average age of 37 years old, while the average retirement age since 1999 is 48 years.

                  based on the evidence, it seems likely that the counterfactual, that they would have closed anyway despite the regulations, is closer to correct, since most if not all of the power plants on the list that you provided are older than 48 years.

              2. Sorry, but you’re just not well read enough on this topic.

                The EPA implemented criteria that required any existing plant to be retrofitted for pollution control. As these older plants predated the regulations, they essentially had to be heavily rebuilt to the new standards which was not cost-effective for the power generating companies. It was cheaper to build new plants using NG that wasn’t under as restrictive controls than it was to sustain the older plants.
                This is essentially “clash for clunkers”, where the government was forcing nonsensical economic decisions funded on the back of taxpayers (electricity consumers).
                Those coal plants could have been kept running for decades providing lower cost electricity. Even with coal being more expensive per BTU then NG the existing investment in the plant would have kept it competitive for years.

                But no, John, it wasn’t CO2. It was other emissions.

                1. Okay, I did more reading on the issue. Turns out MikeP2 is right, it has nothing to do with regulating carbon. It was about regulating mercury and other toxins from a law passed all the way back in 1990, but was only recently being enforced, in 2011.

                  Link here

                  So I suppose the only thing Obama’s EPA is guilty of, in this case, is actually enforcing a 21-year-old law. But I think the larger point here, is that even if this regulation had never existed, these coal power plants are still very old and the fracking phenomenon has made natural gas much more competitive price-wise. Sure the regulation might have pushed a few of these power plants over the edge and into retirement. But they would have grown less and less competitive vis a vis natural gas *anyway*, even without the regulations.

                  1. “But they would have grown less and less competitive vis a vis natural gas *anyway*, even without the regulations.”

                    At the time, that was not expected. The NG boom saved us from excessively high electricity prices. We dodged a bullet that Obama fired into the US energy market.

                    By his own words he was looking for electricity prices to go up 5 fold with the EPA coal-plant restrictions.

        2. natural gas will be forever cheap

          Natural gas can be extracted from landfills and sewage and I don’t think people are going to stop shitting or throwing stuff out anytime soon, so it will always be there and probably very cheap.

          1. Try running your house on the decay product from just your waste. I hope you live in a warm climate.

            1. Not sure how you get from the observation that there are lots of sources of methane in the world to anyone running their house exclusively from their own waste.

              1. He’s right…its a simple mass balance question. Yes, methane is generated from landfills. But no, its a laughably small amount relative to the energy requirements.

                NoVaNick’s comment is a bit ignorant.

              2. Could be I read the post I was responding to. Try it.

                1. I’ll make the same suggestion to you, since you didn’t respond at all to what I said. Also, try not being a dick all the time and taking everything absolutely literally.

                  1. Wrll considering that mike understood exactly what I wrote and how it applied, perhaps you woulf benefit from taking things a tad more literally.

                    Now if you want to exapnd the discussion to all potential sources of nat gas then we could talk about clathrates and their couple of hundred year potential, but even that does not get you to the point that says that natural gas will always be there and be there cheaply.

                    1. I prefer to consider clathrates as clear evidence of the abiotic generation of methane deep mantle. Practically endless energy source relative to our consumption.

                      But then I could be loon.

  18. Good point, Nick. Though as some have said here, just because Americans are using less coal doesn’t mean it can’t be exported. I would not expect a significant boom in the coal industry if these regulations are removed, but there’d still be some kind of bump. Thanks, and keep up the good work.

  19. So i have been following electric generation in us for two years:

    From 2014 to 2016 per eia.gov in percent

    Wind: 4.4 to 4.7
    Solar: .4 to .6
    Nat gas: 29 to 33
    Coal: 39 to 33
    Nuclear: 19 to 20
    Hydro: 6 to 6
    Oil: 1 to 1

    Lol at wind and solar. Solar hasnt cracked 1 percent and has been around how long? They combined are both less than hydro

    Progs hate energy in the form that makes up c currently 93 percent of grid

    Any takers if solar cracks 1 percent this year? Wind maybe 5? I bet no

    1. No. Other power sources are too cheap.

      1. Well john kerry said that is what the market wants! If so then why all the need for subsidies and mandates

    2. And yet there are people who apparently sincerely believe that we could easily transition to primarily wind and solar. Which is utterly bananas. Even if it were practical, which it really isn’t, it would take huge amounts of money and time, and basically a whole new power grid, to make it happen.

      1. To accomplish no discernible impact on climate but green cronyism will be made great again

      2. I wish those idiots would take a tour of a commercial power plant. Those things are enormous. They really are amazing. Maybe if they understood how big power plants are and had some idea of the enormous amounts of energy they produce, they would realize how stupid thinking you can replace them with wind and solar actually is.

        1. Yeah, naive believers in things like that really do tend to lack a sense of scale. I think the same is true of the sorts of people who believe that having the right people in charge is all you need to fix everything. No sense of how really huge and complicated humanity and the world we inhabit are.

          1. I forgot where I read it but a few years ago I read an article arguing that we could make solar and wind work if we just changed our lifestyles to use the power when it was there rather than all of the time. So this guy had all of these ideas and things that could be done that would allow a modern life with intermittent power. What made it so stupid was that all of these ideas involved various gadgets and batteries that involved pretty sophisticated manufacturing processes. It never occurred to this guy that it might be hard to run a steel plant or a battery factory without reliable power. The really seemed to think that consumer goods came from the store.

    3. “Any takers if solar cracks 1 percent this year? Wind maybe 5? I bet no”

      Are the ‘renewable’ subsidies under control of the executive? If so, it’s a good bet they’ll tank as percentages of the total.
      No one and no agency would use wind or solar absent taxpayer money. And Musk should be shaking in his boots; he might be told to run an actual business or fold.

      1. The thing is those numbers were with massive subsidies and that is all they can muster

      2. A lot of the subsidies are at the state level through net metering and stuff like that.

      3. solar is ungodly expensive.

  20. It’s simple – we get the Ex-Im Bank to underwrite loans to Central American countries to buy the coal. They start using coal and they stop chopping down the rainforest and the extra CO2 generated by burning coal promotes the growth of the rainforest. Then we pay them to stop using coal and start buying ethanol from our corn farmers and the Ex-Im Bank gets repaid with the ethanol-subsidy dollars. Once the Guatemalans get a load of the ethanol racket, they’ll want to get in on the corn farming gig so they’ll start chopping down the rainforest to clear for farmland and that’s when we ship all the hipsters to Central America to teach the natives how co-exist with the rainforest. Fewer hipsters here will open up the job market for baristas, artisanal mayonnaise makers and penny-farthing bicycle repair shops and then we can re-train the unemployed coal miners for the new industry of job re-training unemployed coal miners.

    1. Pass. I was hoping that this plan would end up with more Central American mahogany being available.

    2. This was a work of art.

  21. As my colleagues demonstrate, short of an improbable event that sends natural gas prices soaring

    Is foreign demand for LNG that “improbable”?

  22. The biggest wind turbine produces about 3 mw if iirc correctly and needs a lot of land like 30 acres or so

    Compare that to a converted jet engine to gas turbine that produces 50 MW in span can be on 5 acres and actually reliable

    1. No conversion. A jet engine is a gas turbine.

      1. Well ya. But i mean it is a bit different with a shaft out back and some have natural gas fuel nozzles. Also no fan

        1. I assume you mean the bypass fan on a turbofan. The core of that engine is what we call a turbojet which is just another name for a gas turbine.

          1. And yes I’m being dickish today.

  23. Also the coal jobs wont come back but trumps actions will likely prevent loss i think or not as quick loss to nat gas

    1. Why is propping up the coal industry a priority of yours?

      1. You are confusing not fucking with as propping up

        If you want an example of a propped up industry it is wind and solar thanks to mandates and subsidies

        1. Do you believe that burning coal does not emit any pollutants?

          1. Everything and everyone pollutes so im not sure what you mean

            Wind and solar pollute by killing birds and takinn animal land as well as mfg and transport

            1. That’s not exactly the definition of pollution, but congratulations for recognizing the external costs of wind and solar. Do you recognize the external cost of coal? Who should pay for it?

              1. Well ya know we do pay for it via electric bills duh

            2. The manufacture of solar panels isn’t exactly environmentally friendly. Just saying.

          2. Are you suggesting not banning things that pollute are thus being propped up?

            1. I’m suggesting that you are an enormous idiot who for purely political-tribal reasons is cheerleading for an 19th century industry that destroys the environment.

              1. Environment seems to be in great shape with coal winning pop vote

              2. 19th century industry

                Windmills? Trains?

  24. I think a much more reasonable way to interpret Nick’s article, other than the derisive “let’s have a domestic economy based on Uber and hipster mayonnaise”, is that there have been structural changes in many economic sectors, some of which have been exascerbated by regulations, and that simply removing regulations alone won’t make these structural changes go away. For instance, the government could, say, remove all regulations on landline telephone service, and that likely won’t cause a massive shift towards more landline phones because, due to technology, social media, and social changes – changes largely beyond government’s control – cell phones are now a much more preferred way to communicate. I don’t know the degree to which the coal industry has been hampered by regulations, I don’t doubt that they suffer a great deal under onerous regulations, but even still, even if all of the regulations were removed tomorrow, the demand for coal would likely not rise as much as we think, due to competition with natural gas and fracking, due to the loss of certain customers who are more concerned than in the past – foolishly or not – with global warming and the implications thereof, and due to greater energy efficiency for most all of our energy-consuming devices that we use.

    1. and due to greater energy efficiency for most all of our energy-consuming devices that we use.

      Increased efficiency does not equal less overall consumption. In fact, it usually means more overall consumption. Efficiency is just another way of saying that something is cheaper. The cost of electricity can go down two ways; the price to buy it can go down or the amount of use I get out of a given unit of it can go up. The effect of either event is the same. So if our gadgets get more efficient, the good we get out of a given unit of electricity goes up. That has the same effect as the price going down and will cause us to consume more of it, not less. That is, of course, a good thing. But, efficiency is not going to reduce consumption. It doesn’t work that way.

      1. My bad for not including the implied “all else equal” disclaimer. Yes yes, it is possible to consume more electricity on a more efficient device, if you use it longer and for more stuff. I am thinking about appliances like a refrigerator, which is going to be used approximately the same amount no matter how efficient it is, so the more efficient the refrigerator is, the less energy is consumed, during the normal course of its operation.

        1. Not necessarily. Maybe refrigerators just get bigger.

          1. I think we can tell what has happened with refrigerators. They are both bigger than they used to be and they consume far less power.

            Overall, power consumption won’t decrease with more efficiency. People will find other things to do with the saved energy and money. But things like home appliances and electronics have gotten far more efficient and will probably continue to do so for a while. Of course, for all of these things, there is a theoretical maximum efficiency.

            1. Exactly Zeb.

            2. Refrigerators were made much less efficient by banning Freon-12.

    2. That’s how I read it. Glad I’m not the only one.

    3. No, the point of the article was “Trump’s doing deregulation all wrong!”

  25. Why the fuck did people vote for a platform of bringing back the worst jobs in the world?

    Oh that’s right, they didn’t, they voted for a guy who they thought would give them permission to say nigger in public company again.

    1. So tolerant and loving!

      Digging your butthurt btw

      1. I never promised to be tolerant of the RepubliKKKunt party or their chief oompah loompah.

        1. Hillary commited treason btw

    2. Tony|3.8.17 @ 4:12PM|#
      “Why the fuck did people vote for a platform of bringing back the worst jobs in the world?”

      Ask your fave Bernie-bot, dimwit.

      1. Yep it is trule tony i voted for jill…a real qualified woman

    3. Has Donald Trump already begun to usher in a new era of job creation? The White House will certainly advance that argument after seeing today’s ADP report on job growth in February, Trump’s first full month as president, and ADP’s analyst gives them some ammunition for that claim. The report came in 100,000 jobs higher than analysts’ expectations at 298,000 ? “an absolute blowout,” CNBC announced:

      Can this be attributable to Trump, or to a hangover of Barack Obama’s policies? Mark Zandi, chief economist for ADP and usually more inclined to favor Obama policies, surprises the panel by crediting a new confidence in American business that has resulted from Trump’s election, although he qualifies this by saying the economy has been “fundamentally strong” for some time:

      “Confidence is playing a large role,” Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytics, told CNBC. “Businesses are anticipating a lot of good stuff ? tax cuts, less regulation. They are hiring more aggressively.”

      h/t WakaWaka

      1. “Businesses are anticipating a lot of good stuff ? tax cuts, less regulation. They are hiring more aggressively.”

        I don’t see how that squares with him “usually more inclined to favor Obama policies”. *shrug*

        1. An excerpt from the blurb for his book might explain it:

          Today many Americans still feel shell-shocked. But while there remains much to be nervous and frustrated about, it is impressive how much progress has been made in righting the wrongs that got us into this mess. The economy is growing and steadily creating jobs; house prices are stable and stock prices are up; debt burdens have eased for most households and the financial system has shored up its foundations to an impressive degree. American companies are as competitive globally as they have been in a half century. This dramatic turn in the economy’s fortunes occurred because of what government did to stem the financial panic and combat the effects of Great Recession. Policymakers’ unprecedented actions ? from Congress’ auto and bank bailouts and fiscal stimulus, to the Federal Reserve’s zero interest rates and quantitative easing ? remain intensely controversial, but ultimately they will be judged a success. Serious problems remain, including the government’s mounting debt load and a burgeoning number of disenfranchised workers, but we are on our way to addressing them. Our economic future has arguably never been brighter.

  26. Tony are you a climate scientist?

    1. Unlike most posters here who are not only climate scientists, but better informed and more intelligent ones than all the other climate scientists in the world, I am not.

      1. So ya cant have a valid opinion on matter. Thanks for letting me know not to take your thoughts seriously

        1. I rather doubt anyone on the planet has ever taken Tony’s thoughts seriously.

      2. Sure Tony –

        http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sci…..-data.html

  27. Good job on the timing here Nick. You wrote an article saying manufacturing jobs aren’t coming back on the same day that ADP announced that 32,000 of the 298,000 new jobs added in February were manufacturing jobs.

    Job creation posts blowout month in February, ADP says

    Idiot.

    1. “Handwave. Handwave. Argle. Bargle”

      -N.G.

  28. Tony you are polluting by living fyi

  29. “His plan represents a broadside against the market and climate forces that have made great strides in modernizing American power generation. ”

    “market and climate forces”…

    Well, shit, they’re practically the same thing, right?

    “Free minds, Woke on climate change”

  30. Tony here is a fun fact

    Your preference of wind and solar is doing as well percent wise as gary n jill did respectively

  31. Nick and Tony, you don’t seem to be taking into account exporting. While clean vs dirty can be argued (There is clean coal), where is your case that it wouldn’t be export.

    “China is also by far the biggest coal producer accounting for about 47.4% of the world’s coal output in 2013. Coal accounts for over 65% of total energy consumption in the country. China, the most populous and the biggest energy consuming country, is also the world’s biggest coal importer followed by Japan and India.Aug 26, 2014 ”

    Yes, Nuclear would be great – bring on the Thorium reactors and Mjolnir! Solar might have possibilities accept you know efficiency and those rare earth metals that are horrible for the enviroment (Adam wrecks everything explained ). Wind so is amazing I seem to recall Martha’s vineyard letting all those turbines be built…oh that’s right. And there is the birds dying and unreliability.

    We have oil and natural gas, which is great. But you have to look at every resource. Coal is another resource until we get those fancy new energy sources. Maybe if the EPA didn’t make it so you could never build a coal plant again here it would be different.

  32. VERY disappointed.

    I want all regulations gone
    I want every coal miner to be given proactive immunity
    I want coal miners to not have unions
    I want coal to be subsidized by the government
    I want healthcare for coal miners to be expensive, optional and not provided by the employer
    I want the ex coal miners who voted for Drumpf because he’d get them jobs back so that they work their butts off to be given what they were hoping for.

    1. Aww you and Tony should hug

  33. What Nick doesn’t seem to get is that it’s the presence of the regulations themselves that is the problem, both in moral terms and practical terms. (gee, ain’t they the same?)

    Even if deregulation immediately created not one new job, it would still be important as the unforeseen consequences of the deregulation might–actually, must–result in greater long-term benefits not even specifically related to the coal mining industry. This is Market Economics 101. Human Action 101.

    1. Thankfully there remains some reasonable people here.

  34. There is no reason in Nick’s opinion piece that subversly advocates regulations and big government. Is this even a Libertarian pub anymore?

    The states of WV and KY depend on coal, that’s why it will always exist, that’s all those states have for the most part. And no, healthcare and government is not a legitimate economy and is not the answer to replacing lost coal jobs.

    1. ^^*subtly. Not subversly.

  35. “cleaner natural gas and wind power….”
    Which, and how many cities is wind power powering?
    If the freaking Nazi’s could turn coal into gas with 1940’s tech…….

  36. Didn’t read all the posts but:

    1. Less regulation is good.

    2. No, quadrillions of manufacturing jobs won’t come into existence overnight… But some will, which is good. Same goes for coal. Coal won’t become a big hot commodity again overnight, but at least the FREE MARKET will be deciding how much or how little of it is used.

    3. Manufacturing is NOT some silly quaint little industry out of the hunter gatherer days we should just pretend we don’t need or that it doesn’t exist. Manufacturing is still supremely important on the global scale… GLOBALLY there are more people working in manufacturing today than any point in history before. Automation has made it more efficient, but the demand has grown faster than automation can offset. The thing is WE don’t have manufacturing HERE due to regulations on industry, AND having shit trade deals where we allow our products to get taxed to shit going into other countries, and we let foreigners bring in their goods for nada.

    1. Whether you just remove regulation and keep bad trade deals, or if we bend over China and force open their markets to our goods (better idea than putting tariffs on their stuff coming in as it would actually be MORE free trade than it is now), more manufacturing here will be a boon to the economy.

      As an example Germany has 20% of employment in manufacturing… Not exactly a backwards economy right? More than twice the percentage we do. So doing BETTER than we are is not a bad or backwards idea. The idea that everybody has to either be a programmer, nurse, or barista in the USA in 2017 is ludicrous.

      Manufacturing is very important for the economy AND for jobs for the time being. It will continue its decline with increased automation in the future, but in the here and now half of that loss from the 90s to now is us fucking ourselves by bad policy, not the natural decline of a dying industry.

  37. What does the world demand, that we produce?
    What can we produce, that the world demands, that we can produce at a higher quality or a competitive price to China, Mexico, and other places where labor is dirt cheap?
    What do we demand, that is produced in the United States? Of those things produced in the United States, how much of the parts for the product are produced in the United States?

    We can’t assume that coal will come back. It’s only going to last for so long, anyway, and the next president may just kill it again — even if Nick’s hypotheses are incorrect and the coal industry does somehow return to its former glory in just eight short years.
    We’ve been complacent as a consumer for so long now, that it’s going to be really difficult to catch up to everybody else who has come up to take our place at what we had going.
    There are a LOT of strands to consider with something as complicated as global trade, and I’m not convinced that a guy who has filed bankruptcy as much as Donald Trump is the guy who has that capacity. Instead of surrounding himself with military hawks and others, he should be clamoring for every economist he can get into the White House.

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  40. Coal, as it existed even a few years ago is Dead, Dead, Dead. Renewable energy has seen to that. Studies have shown solar can be profitably placed over ranch and crop land without harming the land’s production, especially in the south. Old time manufacturing is Dead, Dead. (Notice only 2 ‘Dead’s) 3D printing will replace much of the remaining manufacturing over the next couple of decades. Want a Piston for the antique gasoline engine you are rebuilding? Just call a local 3D printing shop and have them print one out. No more ordering it from China. A nob for your oven? Print that yourself.

    1. I’m very excited to watch what happens with 3D printing. It shows great promise for a vast multitude of things.

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