Former Vice President Joe Biden, now on his third campaign for the presidency, likes to wrap himself in the mantle of the working class. Because of his hardscrabble childhood, due to financial reverses suffered by his father, Biden has at least pretended that he understands the travails of the working class American. Biden is wealthy beyond the measure of most Americans, but his shows of sympathy toward people who carry a lunch bucket to work have served him well throughout his political career, which stretched back to the Nixon Administration.
However, the Washington Examiner noted that recently the mask slipped a little bit. Biden showed a side that he does not often allow in public.
“2020 Democratic front-runner Joe Biden said miners need to find ‘jobs of the future’ when talking about transitioning the economy away from fossil fuels.
“Anybody who can go down 300 to 3,000 feet in a mine can sure as hell learn to program as well,’ Biden said Monday during a campaign event in New Hampshire. ‘Anybody who can throw coal into a furnace can learn how to program, for god’s sake!”
“On Sunday, Biden also said he wanted to throw fossil fuel executives in prison for damaging the environment.”
The comment came when Biden was asked whether he was willing to sacrifice hundreds of thousands of jobs to pursue a Green New Deal agenda.
Somehow, good old Joe Biden, a friend of the working man, has morphed into some weird combination of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Like Clinton, he wants to destroy the coal industry on the theory that burning coal for electricity is causing greenhouse gas emissions and hence climate change. He seems to regard the coal miners who would be thrown out of work as “deplorables” who need to adapt to new realities. Like Bernie, he wants to throw the people who run fossil fuel companies in jail as environmental enemies of the people.
As Tech Crunch once suggested, getting adept in computer analysis is a little more complicated than learning to program. Programing languages change at the drop of a hat and coders have the struggle to keep up, lest they lose their jobs. Problem-solving skills, hard to teach, are more highly prized than the ability to write lines of code. People who have spent sometimes decades tearing coal out of the bowls of the Earth, albeit with increasingly high0tech equipment, may not be a good fit for a silicon valley firm, navigating the ebbs and flows of technological fashion.
The reaction to Biden’s career advice to coal miners whom he has targeted was stark and to the point. Daniel Turner, an energy activist, tweeted:
“Joe Biden has launched a new war on coal. “No one is going to build another coal plant in America.” Thousands of Pennsylvanian coal miners would be put out of work. Joe’s chance of winning Pennsylvania and the White House just flew out the window!”
Homer Hickam, a former NASA engineer who writes eloquently of his childhood living in a West Virginia coal-mining town, was even more direct on Twitter.
“Sorry. I’m not usually political on this site but after his comments on coal & coal miners, I have to conclude that #JoeBiden is indeed a maroon (sic).”
Donald Trump won Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and other coal mining states on the strength of his championing of the coal industry and coal miners. Since President Trump’s election, the energy industry has been working on a new concept for power generation called carbon capture. Trump’s energy department is supporting developing technology.
HowStuffWorks notes that instead of pumping CO2 out into the atmosphere, a power plant with carbon capture technology would sequester the greenhouse gas, store it underground, and then later sell it to industrial users. Carbon capture could work for both natural gas power plants and those that run on coal. The coal-fired plants would gasify the coal first before using it to help turn turbines.
Conversion of fossil fuel plants to carbon capture technology would mean that coal miners would not be forced to learn to program. Fossil fuel executives (perhaps excluding Biden’s son Hunter) would not be thrown in jail. Joe Biden, for not championing carbon capture to help the working class stiffs that he pretends to like, has missed an opportunity not to pander to the environmental lobby.