Tomblin tells the federal government to butt out

Frustration with the federal government has grown steadily among many West Virginians during the past few years. Far from helping us, Washington seems determined to make state government more burdensome to Mountain State residents and businesses, while at the same time making it harder for some to earn a living.

That may well explain the loudest applause Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin heard Monday during the speech he gave after being inaugurated for a four-year term.

In discussing the need to improve the state’s economy and increase the number of jobs available here, Tomblin commented that, “Unfortunately for me, that means in many instances fighting the federal government to get off our backs and leave us alone.”

Those were strong words from a governor who was a Democrat Party leader while President Barack Obama was still in middle school. But like many loyal Democrats, Tomblin has grown disenchanted with control of the party by Obama and liberals in Congress.

During the first four years of Obama’s presidency, the federal government has grown faster than at any other time in most people’s memories. And through initiatives such as the national health care law, it is forcing states to become bigger and more expensive, too.

For example, expansion of the state-federal Medicaid program has created a gap in the state’s budget, requiring spending cuts for other services. And under “Obamacare,” even more growth is being demanded.

But the Obama administration’s war against the coal industry has been the biggest irritant for many Mountain State residents. Tomblin has made his displeasure about it clear.

One way of battling the federal government is to file lawsuits against some of the Environmental Protection Agency’s clearly unconstitutional attempts to batter the coal industry. Already the Tomblin administration has done that over mining permits.

Judges have upheld complaints against the EPA in several lawsuits involving the coal industry – and that should help guide Tomblin’s defense of our state. More lawsuits, chosen and fought carefully, should be considered by Tomblin. Perhaps if Washington is told forcefully enough to “leave us alone,” Obama and his fellow liberals can be reined in.