No one would accuse the Brookings Institution of being a bunch of Tea Party radicals. In fact, the think tank is a bellwether of left-of-center thought in Washington, DC. So it’s an indication of just how far from reality the EPA has strayed that two Brookings scholars have criticized the math behind its new carbon regulations.
Brookings fellow Ted Gayer and Vanderbilt University economist Kip Vicusi argue that the agency incorrectly counts the “global” benefits of its regulations, while only taking into account local costs. That crooked bit of accounting making the proposed regulations look much more beneficial than they actually are.
Such “cherry picking” between global benefits and local costs allows the agency more leeway to advance its favored policies. The EPA estimates that the global climate benefits accruing from the regulations will be $30 billion by 2030. According to Gayer and Vicusi, however, “only 7 to 23 percent of these benefits would be domestic benefits,” meaning that the true “benefits” could be as low as $2.1 billion– far less than the estimated compliance cost for the rule of $7.3 billion.
Like the recent misleading “heat related deaths” data, these juiced numbers were used as the basis for major new carbon regulations that will negatively impact the lives of millions of Americans. Whether these revelations are justification for killing the proposed regulations before they become law is yet to be seen. But it’s clear, according to the Brookings authors, that the expansion of “benefit assessments to include global impacts merits much more scrutiny and justification than it has received to date.”