- - Monday, August 4, 2014

A hundred years have passed since the American economist William Graham Sumner described “the forgotten man” of society. “He works, he votes, generally he prays — but he always pays.” A century on, there is no better description of the thousands of Americans who have toiled for generations in America’s coal mines, and who are now paying dearly for the energy follies of President Obama.

The White House has been scheming to “bankrupt” coal, a plentiful and affordable source of energy, to make way for the trendier alternatives that win the applause and admiration of billionaires from New York and San Francisco. They never have to think about their impact on coal country.

This past weekend, several thousand forgotten men marched in Pittsburgh to protest the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to further reduce carbon-dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants — a policy intended as a death sentence for coal.

Demanding to be heard, more than a dozen union activists, including Cecil Roberts, the president of the United Mine Workers of America and who endorsed Mr. Obama for president in 2008, were arrested for sitting in front of the federal building where the EPA was conducting a hearing. The demonstrators wore shirts emblazoned with “We Are One” and “Stop the War on Coal.”

This was in Pennsylvania, where Tom Steyer, the California billionaire, has unleashed a barrage of television ads attacking Republican Gov. Tom Corbett for his support of affordable energy. Mr. Steyer wants to “save the planet” by stamping out carbon dioxide.

Mr. Steyer can afford electric cars and windmills, and he never has to worry whether he will make the rent this month, buy new shoes for the kids on their way back to school, whether he can afford electricity or how he will pay for the heat this winter. Mr. Steyer could have learned a thing or two in Atlanta, where Walter Parker, a coal miner who takes pride in his hard work, testified at an EPA field hearing with another view of the war on coal. “Most people here,” he said, “will not wonder or care what happens to my wife and kids if I no longer have a job … . I feel pride in my work. I want to be able to continue my profession and produce coal to power this nation.”

Mr. Parker is paying dearly for the fear of global warming, a phenomenon that exists mostly in the fevered imaginations of liberals. The planet is no hotter today than it has been more than a decade. The polar ice caps haven’t melted. Islands in the South Pacific that were supposed to be under water by now are all still there and above water.

Liberals cling to a fairy tale, heedless of its impact on real families and real lives of everyone. They label carbon dioxide a “pollutant,” though if it is, everyone is a polluter, and without this “pollution” there would be no life on this planet.

The price of relieving liberals of their irrational fears does not come out of the pockets of Tom Steyer or Al Gore, but from the wages of forgotten men like Walter Parker and thousands more like him. They deserve to be listened to.