Biden to Coal Miners: Learn to Program. Industry Spox Responds
By Karen Townsend
January 2, 2020 - Joe Biden had a moment on the campaign trail Monday in Derry, New Hampshire that created a stir. During a campaign event, he was asked about the coal mining industry’s future in a green new world. As he frequently does, Biden trashed the fossil fuel sector.
Using coal miners as examples, Biden expanded on his thoughts about the future. When a Biden administration produces policies that shutter coal mines, the unemployed workers can just learn to program. “Anybody who can go down 300 to 3,000 feet in a mine, sure in hell can learn to program as well, but we don’t think of it that way,” he said. He went on to make matters worse by going into his role in the Obama administration where he was in charge of looking into the “jobs of the future”. He droned on about Detroit’s bankruptcy and finding women to fill jobs after they were trained to program. Biden said that his liberal friends didn’t think the women, mostly women of color, were smart enough to learn to program but he knew they were, you see. And, if those women could do it, so can coal miners.
In the same speech, Biden cited the work he did to get Detroit out of bankruptcy. “We went out and hired this outfit that the major corporations hire when they need I.T.,” he said. “They went out into the neighborhoods. They found 54—happened to be all-women, not by intention—mostly women of color, with a few exceptions, ages 24 to 52 or 54. They went through a 19-week training program at the community college there, learning how to program.”
President Barack Obama created a similar nationwide program in January 2016, called “Computer Science for All.” The course offered students in elementary, middle and high school an opportunity to learn computer science.
“My liberal friends were saying, ‘You can’t expect them to be able to do that,'” Biden told his New Hampshire audience. “Gimme a break! Anybody who can throw coal into a furnace can learn how to program for God’s sake.”
Good old Lunch Bucket Joe sure talks down about coal miners. He reduced their jobs to throwing coal into a furnace. And, what about the white-collar workers in the industry? Do they all just learn to program, too? There are not enough technological job openings available in Trump’s excellent economy to fill the thousands of jobs that will be lost when a climate change alarmist like Joe Biden gets into office and shuts down the fossil fuel industry. The Democrats running for president all sound way too authoritarian about just coming in and shutting down private industry to fulfill their fever dreams of a world without fossil fuels.
Chris Hamilton, co-chair of the West Virginia Coal Forum noted the “disdain” Biden shows for coal miners during an appearance on Fox and Friends. Hamilton went on to say that Biden’s attitude is nothing new – since July, Biden has spoken about shutting down the industry.
Granted, West Virginia is a very red state that voted overwhelmingly for President Trump in 2016. There is no reason to believe that he will have any trouble easily carrying the state in 2020. Hamilton speaks about Trump saving the coal industry, as he promised to do. This kind of talk from Biden sure sounds like how Hillary Clinton spoke about the coal industry in 2016. She was going to shut it down, too, if you remember.
Imagine being a 59-year-old coal miner who has worked in the mines since he entered the workforce. His father probably worked as a miner, too. This is a multi-generational industry. Are the older workers just supposed to find new work? Older workers have it the hardest in finding a new job that is comparable to the old job. Biden said last month during the Democrat debate that he’d be willing to put hundreds of thousands of blue-collar workers out of jobs to fight climate change.
The coal industry is naturally drawing down due to the increase in the use of natural gas. Natural gas is cleaner and less expensive. There is an abundance of it. Just a few days ago, Biden went so far as to declare that oil and gas industry executives should be jailed.
It is alarming how easily Biden and the other Democrat candidates speak about shutting down entire sectors in the economy. Most of them have no idea what they are talking about. Not one of them has worked in the energy sector. The condescension from Joe Biden is disturbing, especially since he likes to think of himself as a friend of blue collar working men and women. Despite remaining at the top of national polls, his lead is shaky. As voters continue to hear him talk, they will be reminded of why they rejected him in two previous presidential primary contests.