Jim Manzi attempts to push back against the CBO’s costing of Waxman-Markey:
First, this isnâ€™t news. As per my post of about a month ago (helpfully titled â€œWaxman-Markey Cost Benefit Analysisâ€), this is consistent with the earlier EPA cost prediction of about $160 per household per year by 2020. Technically, the new CBO prediction is about 10% higher.
So whatâ€™s the problem? Doesnâ€™t this mean that opposition to Waxman-Markey on cost/benefit grounds is blind and uniformed? The problem is that achieving the benefits of Waxman-Markey would require that the emissions abatement continue long, long past 2020. Costs will continue to rise decade after decade. The same EPA report projects that the average cost per household will be about $1,100 per year (equal to a little less than 1% of total economic consumption) by 2050. Thatâ€™s according to the EPA, who Iâ€™m sure are grossly over-estimating the costs of environmental protection, just like those other anti-environmental crazies at the CBO.
First, it’s news because it’s the CBO. Second, the cost overestimates have nothing to do with any underlying issue bias; as Brad Plumer notes, those favoring and opposing regulations both historically overestimate costs. Third, the EPA report estimates a net present value cost of the legislation in 2050 at between $140 and $180 per household. And fourth, these estimates don’t include the benefits of reduced warming. And fifth, even Manzi’s stated cost is below the bunk cost estimates GOP legislators throw around.
And sixth, Manzi still thinks we have no obligation to reduce our emissions, even though the costs associated with our carbon output will overwhelmingly be felt by the global poor, who are least able to do anything about it.