"He's a snake in the grass, I tell ya guys; he may look dumb but that's just a disguise; he's a mastermind in the ways of espionage." Charlie Daniels, "Uneasy Rider" More curious blindness to corporate statism, or, fun with Bob Murphy's paid energy/enviro policy posts - TT's Lost in Tokyo

More curious blindness to corporate statism, or, fun with Bob Murphy's paid energy/enviro policy posts

 I like Bob Murphy, and think he's doing very important work in fighting nonsense from the Fed and from Keynesians.

But I am deeply disappointed with his ongoing shallow, partisan and decidedly non-libertarian work that he does for pay for the fossil fuel lobby. It's not quite Dr. Jekyll versus Mr. Hyde, but it's very clearly Bob Murphy/libertarian morphing into Bob Murphy/hired-gun-for-rent-seekers. I've got to admit that, as a hired gun, Bob still comes off well, even if not convincing to libertarians; the fossil fuel interests are getting their money's worth!

Bob has a post up on his Free Advice blog  - EPA Will Destroy Jobs, Not Make Them - that excerpts a post of the same name that is now the lead item at the "free market" fossil-fuel lobbying outfit "Institute for Energy Research"(no comments allowed there, of course).

IER was started by fellow rent-seeking "libertarian" Rob Bradley (IER is now in DC; Bradley is CEO but has turned over operations to lobbyists; Bradley now focusses on the "Master Resource" "free market" for-pay fossil fuel think tank that features Bob and a host of other paid apologists for rent-seekers (Rob blocks dissenting libertarians like me).

I couldn't resist making a few comments at Bob's (emphasis added) 

TokyoTom says: Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Bob, WHY must you “press on” with your thin and one-sided analysis on environmental issues? Because you’re being paid by polluters to do so?

It pains me to see that the nuanced, libertarian Bob whom we see explaining what’s wrong with the Keynesians and the Fed always takes a leave of absence, and sends in his poor substitute, the utilitarian It-Grows-Jobs-And-Makes-Us-Wealthy-To-Destroy-Commons Bob.

Yes, CERES’/PERI’s argument that regulations create jobs ignores jobs likely to be lost by mandating investments in pollution controls, their overall argument is not as simple or as obviously stupid as you make it out to be. From the executive summary:

“Clean air safeguards have benefitted the United States tremendously. Enacted in
1970, and amended in 1990, the Clean Air Act (“CA”) has delivered cleaner air,
better public health, new jobs and an impressive return on investment—providing $4
to $8 in benefits for every $1 spent on compliance
.1″

“History has proven that clean air and strong economic growth are mutually reinforcing. Since
1990, the CAA has reduced emissions of the most common air pollutants
41 percent while Gross Domestic Product increased 64 percent.2″

“Focusing on 36 states3 in the eastern half of the United States, this report evaluates
the employment impacts of the electric sector’s transformation to a cleaner, modern
fleet through investment in pollution controls and new generation capacity and
through retirement of older, less efficient generating facilities. In particular, we assess
the impacts from two CAA regulations expected to be issued in 2011: the Clean Air
Transport Rule (“Transport Rule”) governing sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxide
(NOx) emissions from targeted states in the eastern half of the U.S.; and the National
Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants for Utility Boilers (“Utility MACT”)
rule which will, for the first time, set federal limits for hazardous air pollutants such as
mercury, lead, dioxin, and arsenic. Although our analysis considers only employment-related
impacts under the new air regulations, the reality is these new standards will
yield numerous other concrete economic benefits, including better public health from
cleaner air, increased competitiveness from developing innovative technologies and
mitigation of climate change
.”

Given the externalities involved, you are wrong to assume that the new jobs are all costs and do not represent wealth-creating activity. If we junked the EPA and environmental laws and regulations altogether and replaced them with a strict enforcement of property rights (Block points out that we lost this because corporations bought off judges), THEN would the jobs created as people scrambled to sue and businesses scrambled to reduce pollution be wealth-creating? Surely such policies also would “stimulate productive investment and job creation”, right?

Why, then, do you consistently drop your libertarian principles when it comes to energy and environmental matters and adopt a shallow assumption than only corporations producing “desired goods” is a “productive purpose”? Why instead of a recognition of external effects/catallaxy problems, we get suggestions that government should help “the economy” via policies such as – surprise! – “lift[ing] arbitrary restrictions on domestic energy production” that would “stimulate productive investment and job creation.” (Um, remember BP, the Gulf of Mexico and all of the “wealth creation” and great new jobs that just got “created” down there?).

Why, indeed, if you’re still an honorable man? You’re better than this, Bob.

http://mises.org/Community/blogs/tokyotom/archive/2009/08/25/fun-with-self-deception-and-rent-seeking-bob-murphy-s-quot-man-in-the-mirror-quot.aspx

http://mises.org/Community/blogs/tokyotom/archive/2009/10/28/bob-murphy-rob-bradley-and-the-austrian-road-not-taken-on-climate.aspx

http://mises.org/Community/blogs/tokyotom/archive/2009/12/19/bob-murphy-speculates-on-quot-the-benefits-of-procrastination-the-economics-of-geo-engineering-quot-cui-bono.aspx

I’m sorry to be pushing meta-issues, but one of the reasons why the Left doesn’t listen to libertarians and ‘free market’ criticisms is that these criticisms seldom are acknowledge, much less directed at, the major impersonal corporate rent-seekers who REALLY are behind government and whom the Left rightly distrust.

Best,

Tom 

Published Fri, Feb 11 2011 9:36 PM by TokyoTom

Comments

# Welcome to Ranch Mirage: Why, when we need John Galt, do we end up with the rent-seeking Koch brothers, who are 'now at the heart of GOP power'?

Monday, February 21, 2011 9:17 AM by TT's Lost in Tokyo

I can understand the desire to protect one's business from new government carbon mandates and from