Even if we assume that he will try, can Trump revive coal? (Part 2)
Last week's election would certainly suggest that experts can be wrong. That said, as I found last week when I first searched, it's hard to find economists who believe that the coming Trump administration can bring back the coal industry. Googling "Trump revive coal" yields lots of sources that use economic analysis -- almost all of which conclude that Trump cannot change the course of the coal industry. (My search found that hopefulness replaced evidence for the few general sources who believe that Trump will somehow make a difference.)
From business and economic sources
From today's Wall Street Journal:
The war is over,” said Ian Robertson, chief executive of Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp, on an earnings call last week. “The bad news, at least for coal, is that coal lost” to market forces, not politics.
Also, here's the title of an article in yesterday's Wall Street Journal:
"Cheap Gas Tests Trump’s Promise to Revive Coal"
Additionally, yesterday Forbes online asked:
"Will Trump's Policies Help Appalachia And Similar Places?"
The article details the conclusions of a recent study that links Appalachia to the "resource curse":
. . . the resource curse is the idea that areas that contain an abundance of a natural resource, such as coal, oil or diamonds, have worse long-run economic outcomes than similar areas that don’t contain such resources.
The study argues that reducing regulation might help in the short-term but:
Appalachia and other areas built around old industries such as coal, steel and labor-intensive manufacturing won’t prosper by focusing on the past. Growing, thriving economies are those that constantly adapt and advance. Additionally, the research on the coal resource curse shows that coal is probably not the best long-term strategy for a prosperous economy.
From non-business sources
Time magazine sums up the sentiment found in a number of these sources:
"Donald Trump Says He’ll Bring Back Coal. Here’s Why He Can’t"
And even Mr. "War on Coal," Senator Mitch McConnell, has expressed reservations. As USA Today reported:
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hedged on Friday about when and if Republicans would be able to bring coal mining jobs to Kentucky, saying that is a "private sector activity."
Okay, this post is similar to Friday's and it's time for me to move on (something I wish West Virginia would do). Unless I see evidence to the contrary, I'm going to work from the assumption that President Trump will be unable to change coal's diminishing role in America's energy mix.
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