According to a Fox News story today, administration officials acknowledge privately that the EPA’s newly-claimed powers allow the executive branch to function as a dictatorship if it so chooses.
The Obama administration is warning Congress that if it doesn't move to regulate greenhouse gases, the Environmental Protection Agency will take a "command-and-control" role over the process in a way that could hurt business.
The warning, from a top White House economic official who spoke Tuesday on condition of anonymity, came on the eve of EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson's address to the international conference on climate change in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Jackson, however, tried to strike a tone of cooperation in her address Wednesday, explaining that the EPA's new powers to regulate greenhouse gases will be used to complement legislation pending in Congress, not replace it.
"This is not an 'either-or' moment. It's a 'both-and' moment," she said.
But while administration officials have long said they prefer Congress take action on climate change, the economic official who spoke with reporters Tuesday night made clear that the EPA will not wait and is prepared to act on its own.
And it won't be pretty.
"If you don't pass this legislation, then ... the EPA is going to have to regulate in this area," the official said. "And it is not going to be able to regulate on a market-based way, so it's going to have to regulate in a command-and-control way, which will probably generate even more uncertainty."
So. Obama would prefer that Congress take the actions that the administration demands of it. But if Congress fails to get its act together, the administration will publicly hold Congress responsible for the economic chaos that will follow.
And that economic chaos is a virtual certainty if the administration resorts to fiat rule through the EPA. Who would want to invest in an economy where regulations are changing suddenly and radically (and almost always to the detriment of businesses)?