“Decoupling” is the fashionable term for the United States’ efforts to extricate itself from its dependence on Chinese manufacturing. “Dissolution” is the term often used by business partners who are ready to go their separate ways. But when it comes to Connecticut’s ill-advised decision to adhere to California’s auto emissions standards — rather than less-stringent federal ones — perhaps we should start considering a “conscious uncoupling.”
As everyone surely recalls, the phrase was popularized about a decade ago in the divorce between actress/website maven Gwyneth Paltrow and Coldplay frontman Chris Martin. According to Paltrow’s site, “Goop,” “Conscious uncoupling brings wholeness to the spirits of both people who choose to recognize each other as their teacher” (as set forth in pseudo-spiritual word-salad elite-speak so characteristic of those who style themselves as our moral and social superiors).
California can certainly teach Connecticut plenty about what happens to a state when its leaders embrace unduly restrictive environmental laws. In short: it doesn’t end well for working- or middle-class residents. They’ve been priced out of California because high energy costs end up making virtually everything more expensive — in fact, it even requires energy to be able to pump water! Ironically, net outmigration to harsher climates has largely offset all the emissions cuts.
The strict energy regulations make it difficult for industry to expand — much less locate — in the once-Golden State. So much for jobs, especially in manufacturing, construction and logistics: three sectors that can provide upward mobility for those without college educations.
Keep in mind that Connecticut’s legislature first voted to adopt California’s emissions standards — rather than those promulgated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) — for cars back in 1994. It became mandatory in 2004 when the General Assembly, on a bipartisan basis, passed the so-called “Clean Cars” bill, which was then signed by Republican Gov. John Rowland.
That was twenty years ago this year. It’s worth noting that the Paltrow-Martin alliance lasted only ten. So maybe it’s time for our own legislative “conscious uncoupling.” Think of it: California could go its way (a la Paltrow), dispensing hippy-dippy advice and overpriced products; in the meantime, like Chris Martin, Connecticut would be free simply to …rock on.