What is a paltry $195 billion in real cost versus $1 trillion in potential savings? Fans of 'jobs created or saved' fuzzy economics will love a report by the Joint Center For Political and Economic Studies, which says that six new Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) air quality regulations, which will cost about $195 billion over the next 20 years, will save well over $1 trillion. 

I italicize $1 trillion because it works best if you use a Dr. Evil voice to read it so I wanted to give you a visual hook. Like him, it may take some trial and error to figure out what number will have enough impact to mobilize people into action so, like these numbers, just make them up until you get the desired effect.

How did they derive $1 trillion?  The EPA helped by coming up with new regulations and making up some numbers to say it wouldn't be so bad for the economy but the Columbia researchers who are behind the study go farther and highlight that more regulations will help minorities most, which is apparently bonus money in these calculations. Patrick L. Kinney, professor of Environmental Health Sciences and director of Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health's Program on Climate and Health, and doctoral candidate Amruta Nori-Sarma note the role that "environmental justice" issues play in the development of EPA regulations.   How did they get their numbers, then? Well, some of it involved just asking people if they thought regulations would help them.

You remember when Napster was big news?  Record companies made outrageous claims that every song downloaded was a lost album sale and it was all these billions of dollars they never would have gotten yet somehow still lost. And California health mullahs have claimed $86 billion 'saved' by charging people more to smoke cigarettes - even though California has been mired in debt for a decade and keeps raising taxes on cigarettes so if those health 'savings' were real we should have put the state in a surplus by now. The Columbia Mailman School of Public Health goes California one better there too. They recently proved cigarettes are a gateway to cocaine use because lot of cocaine-addicted mice they surveyed also smoke cigarettes.

Here the researchers claim that the six new onerous, anti-business laws from the EPA will save all this money in doctors' visits, hospitalizations, and a reduction in cases of bronchitis, respiratory illness, and aggravated asthma. If you disagree, you clearly don't care about African Americans, low income people and tribal individuals.  Seriously, they invoke the 'world ends - minorities impacted most' method of framing to rationalize why more laws are good even if they are not.   Last week, they also claimed gay marriage laws would reduce health care costs by 14%.  You see what I mean about never needing anyone to pay taxes with all of the advocacy-based healthcare savings we can get? The rules they asked people about are:

- The Heavy-duty Vehicles Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions Standards
- The 2017-2025 Model Year Light-Duty Vehicle GHG Emissions and Café Standards
- The Utility Air Toxics Rule
- The Cross-State Air Pollution Rule
- The Boiler MACT
- The new standards of Performance for Petroleum Refineries

but it really doesn't matter in this sort of report.  We know cars have a role in urban air pollution  - that makes sense, since there are a lot more people in a small area, so why environmentalists want to force more people into cities is a mystery. But that is where the facts end. The light-duty vehicle rule will cost an estimated $140 billion - that's real money not the fuzzy 'it takes 140 liters of water to make a cup of coffee math' these folks use -  but they claim the oil saved and the health benefits linked to reduced emissions will net $561 billion.

That's a lot of money.  It's like a big subsidy for the health care industry so if the car industry loses $140 billion and health insurers are going to gain $561 billion, why does the government need to be in health care at all?  Maybe they recognize that if projected saved money was actual real money, the government would make a profit just by adding in more layers of rules on actual businesses that employ people. Unfortunately it doesn't work that way, any more than DoE shills for Big Solar have actually made solar power better by wasting $35 billion on corporate welfare.

Most importantly for a good study from Columbia was taking a poll. These environmental justice researchers do not disappoint.   They surveyed 1,500 African American adults in Atlanta, Cleveland and Philadelphia and found:

  • 59% believe that global warming is causing serious problems
  • 84% want the federal government to take strong action to deal with global warming
  • 80% support EPA's Toxics Rule - this one is terrific.  80% of all Americans don't even know what these rules are but 80% of inner city African-Americans are experts.  Take that, teachers unions.  Clearly we don't need to spend more money for schools in low-income neighborhoods.
  • 40% described their air quality as excellent or good, 59% said it was fair or poor
  • 83% said air pollution causes asthma in children

That's clearly enough reason for the EPA to disregard the basics of science or economics and push through all kinds of new regulations. Minorities, 'it's for the children', all they have to do is link the new rules to lower mercury and the anti-vaccine folks are on board.  It would be a progressive trifecta!  

Oh wait, that third one does reduce mercury emissions, which an alarming chunk of the left blames for Autism using the same science used by Columbia researchers - polls and anecdotes.   
Clearly we need sensible regulation of emissions but the EPA has gone a little rogue anyway - and Columbia is not doing society any favors by engaging in scientization of politics.