Who benefits, loses from regulation?


A Powerline post discusses the Upton-Imhofe bill, which would bar the EPA from regulating carbon dioxide emissions. The article quotes Ranking Democrat Henry Waxman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce as stating this bill benefits “big polluters like Koch Industries.”

But who really benefits from the regulation of greenhouse gases? First, large companies do. They are better able to absorb the costs of regulation than their smaller competitors. This is why we often see big business promoting increased regulation. It places their smaller competitors at a disadvantage. As Koch Industries is a large company, it is in a position to benefit from the proposed regulations relative to their smaller competitors. But, the company does not support the regulations.

Who will lose from increased regulation of greenhouse gases? Ultimately consumers will, but business is harmed, too. The cost of regulation causes a loss of income, which leads to less of the product (energy) being produced, and a corresponding rise in price. As energy becomes more expensive, it is low-income people that are hurt the most.

Aside from these market effects, the Powerline piece explains an entire industry that has developed to benefit from government subsidy of green energy sources and producers:

But there are, in fact, some companies that would benefit from the imposition of CO2 regulations on power plants, refineries and so on. Those companies are the ones that peddle inefficient forms of energy that cannot compete with fossil fuels absent government subsidies. Those subsidies come in two forms. The government can give money and tax breaks to inefficient energy producers like solar and wind, and it has indeed done that. However, those subsidies are relatively transparent and controversial. The second way in which government can help producers of inefficient energy is, therefore, actually better: it can make energy produced with fossil fuels more expensive by imposing needless regulations. And that is exactly what “green” — i.e., inefficient — energy producers lobby for.

And who are the green energy subsidy-seekers that benefit from increased regulation? Powerline identifies one: Thomas Steyer, a west coast hedge fund manager with investments in green energy companies. He has a personal financial motive, as Powerline describes: “As an investor who has placed a big bet on non-fossil energy, he has an obvious personal interest in the government imposing regulations that make his competitors — producers of fossil fuel energy — more expensive. In fact, without such government action, the ‘green’ projects in which he has invested are likely worthless.”

It should not be surprising that Steyer makes large campaign contributions to Democrats and is a board member of Center for American Progress, a left-wing think tank closely associated with the Obama Administration.

A case study in liberal hypocrisy

By John H. Hinderaker

On Monday, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce began its consideration of the Upton-Imhofe bill, which would bar the EPA from regulating carbon dioxide emissions. Upton-Imhofe is critical to any effort to restore our economy, so the Democrats are against it. Ranking Democrat Henry Waxman went on a hysterical rant against the legislation:

This is dangerous legislation. Climate change is real; it is caused by pollution; and it is a serious threat to our health and welfare. We need to confront these realities, not put our head in the sand like an ostrich.

We have written about this issue many times. Climate change is “real” only in the sense that the climate is always changing. That has been true for millions of years. Climate change is not caused by pollution; history proves that the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere does not control worldwide temperatures. Nor is global warming a serious threat to our health and welfare. Humanity has consistently thrived during warmer periods and suffered during colder ones. The Dark Ages were dark largely because they were cold.

Waxman continued:

Yet instead of promoting a clean energy future, we are pursuing this partisan bill that benefits no one except big polluters like Koch Industries.

I suppose Waxman thought he was punching his liberal ticket by mouthing the Democratic Party talking point du jour. Evidently he didn’t get the memo, and hadn’t heard that the Left has backed off on its daily attacks on Koch because those attacks were so over-the-top and so factually deficient that they made laughingstocks of the lefties who asserted them.

Continue reading at Powerline.


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