The nine-second video of two federal bureaucrats the White House posted on its blog last week was notable for something it omitted.
That something was very big — and putting it on display might not have fit with the apparent propaganda purpose of the video.
The video itself starred EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, who sat side-by-side at a table.
The video starts with McCarthy and Foxx simultaneously scratching their signatures onto separate and apparently singular sheets of paper.
Eight seconds into the nine-second clip, when McCarthy has finished signing her name, she looks up and declares: "Done."
Foxx, who signed even faster than McCarthy, spreads his arms in a gesture that appears to say: That's it, folks. Then he echoes McCarthy: "Done."
So, what exactly had these two bureaucrats done?
McCarthy and Foxx published a blog text that accompanied the video on the White House website. In it, they explained that — as part of President Obama's "Climate Action Plan" — they had approved a regulation that imposes new "greenhouse gas emissions and fuel efficiency standards" on vehicles ranging from heavy-duty pickup trucks to tractor-trailer combinations used to haul cargo.
A copy of the final regulation is posted as a PDF on the EPA website. The top of each page carries this disclaimer: "This document is a prepublication version, signed by the Secretary of Transportation, Anthony R. Foxx, and the EPA Administrator, Gina McCarthy, on August 16, 2016. We have taken steps to ensure the accuracy of this version, but it is not the official version."
The regulation is 1,690 pages long. Page 1,689 is the signature page for Secretary Foxx. Page 1,690 is the signature page for Administrator McCarthy.
When Foxx and McCarthy signed the regulation — as recorded in the video on the White House website — they did not place the first 1,688 pages anywhere within view of the camera.
Was that in deference to trees? Or did the Obama administration not want to show America that these two unelected bureaucrats were signing a 1,690-page regulation.
As this writer reported on CNSNews.com this week, the regulation includes an average of about 420 words per page or a total of about 700,000 words.
According to the EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, by model year 2027, the regulation will increase the cost of tractor trucks, depending on the type, between $10,235 and $13,749. Trailers will cost from $1,204 to $1,370 more.
The regulation follows from the EPA administrator's determination, made seven years ago under the terms of the Clean Air Act, that greenhouse gas emissions, including carbon dioxide, "endanger public health."
"Climate change caused by human emissions of GHGs threatens public health in multiple ways," says the new regulation.
"By raising average temperatures, climate change increases the likelihood of heat waves, which are associated with increased deaths and illnesses," it says.
"While climate change also decreases the likelihood of cold-related mortality, evidence indicates that the increases in heat mortality will be larger than the decreases in cold mortality in the United States," it says. "Compared to a future without climate change, climate change is expected to increase ozone pollution over broad areas of the U.S., including in the largest metropolitan areas with the worst ozone problems, and thereby increase the risk of morbidity and mortality."
McCarthy and Foxx argued that making truck operators buy the more expensive vehicles the regulation mandates will save these truckers money.
"Today's final standards will promote a new generation of cleaner and more fuel efficient trucks," they wrote. "That means 1.1 billion fewer tons of CO2 will be emitted into the atmosphere, and operators will save 2 billion barrels of oil and $170 billion in fuel costs. The additional cost of a new truck will be recouped within 2-4 years, saving truck owners more over the long haul."
The EPA also wants non-truck-driving Americans to believe this new regulation will save them money, too.
"The program will also benefit consumers and businesses by reducing the costs for transporting goods," says an EPA fact sheet. "In total, the program will result in up to $230 billion in net benefits to society over the lifetime of vehicles sold under the program. This includes fuel savings, carbon reductions, health benefits, energy security benefits, along with travel benefits, and refueling benefits."
This is the liberal vision for the future: New rules approved by bureaucrats that increase the capital costs to start, grow or maintain a business, will help save the world from climate change while saving Americans money.
Just don't let people see the actual size of the regulation.