There are approximately 65,000 coal miners working today in the United States. (Adding employment in coal fired electrical plants brings the number connected to coal to about 150,000.) In 1985, the number of coal miners was 173,700. By 2003 it had fallen to 70,000. Donald Trump and Republicans have made a big deal about President Obama’s so-called “war on coal” and that propaganda had been very effective. Republicans carried West Virginia and Kentucky against President Obama, and Donald Trump won Pennsylvania as well. He parlayed his cynically false promise to bring back coal jobs into big electoral majorities in coal country --- carrying West Virginia for example with 69% of the vote. And yes, coal mining jobs were at 65,400 in 2015 indicating that the downward trend in coal employment had continued under President Obama, though the major declines were much more precipitous before 2008. (These numbers are available from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis). Coal production on the other hand rose steeply from the late 1960s to 2008 reflecting increased productivity as strip-mining began to replace deep-shaft mining and equipment made the old pick and shovel image of a coal miner completely obsolete. Total production was 1.172 million short tons in 2008 falling to less than 900,000 in 2015. (The numbers are available from the U.S. Department of Labor, Mine Safety and Health Administration, Form 7000-2, “Quarterly Mine Employment and Coal Production Report”). Though the fall has been blamed on the “war on coal” in fact it is the result of cheap natural gas as a result of fracking. The only way to bring back coal jobs is to impose onerous taxation on natural gas so that utilities will cease switching over. Imagine how well that would play with natural gas companies.