Apparently the right-wing blogosphere, not to mention some "news" organizations, will believe just about anything about the EPA. The most recent ridiculous rumor is that the agency, which currently employs 17,000 people, is on track to hire "230,000 new bureaucrats" — at taxpayer expense, natch — while bumping its $8.7 billion budget up to $21 billion.
How did this happen? Basically, the world's dumbest game of telephone. The EPA has proposed a rule called the tailoring rule, which would allow them to enforce greenhouse-gas emissions restrictions on only the biggest industrial emitters. This is because regulating more than 6 million sources of greenhouse gas would require a level of bureaucratic involvement far beyond what EPA can handle. It would require — wait for it — 230,000 employees. Here's a quote from a Department of Justice brief about the bureaucratic chaos that would result without the tailoring rule: "Hiring the 230,000 full-time employees necessary to produce the 1.4 billion work hours required to address the actual increase in permitting functions would result in an increase in the Title V administration costs of $21 billion per year." The tailoring rule avoids that kind of impossible expansion, according to DOJ.
You see where this is going? The Daily Caller, which is Tucker Carlson's attempt at a right-wing HuffPo if you're not familiar with it, apparently read that sentence and just saw "230,000 full-time employees" and "$21 billion per year," somehow missing out on the fact that both those things were being used as indicators of complete implausibility. It's like they overheard someone saying "I couldn't possibly take another job, I'd need to grow two more arms and start doing cocaine," and rushed to print "LOCAL MOM ENGAGES IN DRUG USE, GENETIC MANIPULATION." Then everyone picked it up and ran with it.
The Daily Caller's executive editor, David Martosko, is refusing to admit that this is an embarrassingly careless mistake:
"What's more likely: that the Obama administration's EPA wants to limit its own power, or that it's interested in dramatically increasing its reach and budget? Anyone who has spent more than a few months in Washington knows the answer," he added. "The suggestion that the EPA — this EPA in particular — is going to court to limit its own growth is the funniest thing I've seen since Nancy Grace's nipple-slip."
Nice attempt at a topical reference, Broseph (nipples are funny now?). But the real funny thing is that the EPA, whose budget amounts to 0.2 percent of federal spending, has somehow become the Right's big bugaboo.