Industry representatives have long made exorbitant claims about the costs of regulations, only to be proven wrong again and again. And despite that history, anti-regulatory campaigners repeat the scariest statistics their own experts come up with, even if those statistics were meant to include a range of possible outcomes, or included caveats of uncertainty.
An important batch of articles this week dug into these issues. Here are some of the highlights:
Yet in testimony before House committees now run by anti-regulation Republicans, industry witnesses repeat numbers from imprecise economic models. Members of Congress often cite the same figures without the researchers’ caveats.
… industry lobbyists warned in 1990 that the latest round of Clean Air Act amendments would mean a “quiet death for businesses across the country.” Businesses claimed the acid rain emissions trading program would cost ratepayers $5.5 billion annually between 1990 and 2000 and increase to $7.1 billion per year after that. But as it turned out, the costs were between $1.1 billion and $1.8 billion per year, according to a 2005 White House report to Congress.
Critics of the new EPA regulations are claiming that the measures will undermine the weak-as-a-kitten economic recovery, perhaps leading to a million or more lost jobs in coming years. But a cadre of economists trying to puncture that widely held view – which they call a persistent “myth” – are turning to history in an attempt to show that the impact of environmental regulations is far more positive than negative.