A week or so ago, via the Tweeters, I made the following prediction:
That tweet isn’t quite accurate, because not only does the trucking industry support the new efficiency rules, they were the ones asking for them in the first place.
This, of course, has to be maddening for anyone who believes that government regulations are a de facto death knell for businesses. And given the strength of the “regulations are destroying the economy” narrative among Republican presidential contenders, I wasn’t really going too far out on a limb here.
And lo and behold, on the same day I made that prophetic tweet, Brian Patrick, a spokesman for Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor, got the ball rolling by declaring the new rules “further tie the hands of job creators and add yet another hurdle to getting the economy up and running.”
Later, as Media Matters has noted, Jim Hoft wrote on his Gateway Pundit blog that the rules will “kill the American long-haul rig and work truck businesses” and “force thousands of long-haul truckers out of business.”
And the Lonely Conservative declared that the rules, which are projected to save shippers billions through reduced fuel costs, will somehow “drive up the cost of the food we put on our tables.”
To be fair, though, this particular spin is a fringe argument that has yet to gain traction in the broader media. But regulation opponents are still looking for the dark cloud behind the silver lining.
Melody Himel Scalley, writing for the American Thinker, believes she’s found the smoking gun.
Turns out, not everyone in the trucking industry supports the new rules. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, which represents about 160,000 truck drivers across the U.S., declared in a statement that the EPA “made an irresponsible mistake in its regulatory analysis by excluding the impact on those who actually buy and drive large trucks and by focusing only on truck manufacturers.”
The OOIDA, which has also opposed electronic speed limiters for trucks, contends that proper driver training is a more effective way to reduce fuel consumption, and that the EPA rule “is just another example of big moneyed interests working with government to protect their own bottom line.”
So what you thought was a fairly modest, industry-supported effort to reduce oil consumption is really a conspiracy to drive small trucking companies out of business.
Scalley then takes it a step further. The always-sinister EPA, it turns out, could be trying to take over the trucking industry:
There is more to the story; this legislation promises to put the EPA in charge of yet another fundamental sector of our economy — transportation of goods. EPA is in control of the stick and the carrot in this scenario, with both regulation and EPA’s administration of a special SmartWay grant program that benefits the shipping industry.
I suppose I should have seen that coming, too.