Analyzing the Unanalyzable

by Paul Chesser, Heartland Institute Correspondent on November 12, 2009

in Blog

That’s what the Beacon Hill Institute attempts in an economic impact study of the recommendations produced last year by Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle’s Task Force on Global Warming. Unlike similar exercises in other states, where in most cases the Rockefeller Brothers Fund Center for Climate Strategies controlled outcomes but at least delivered some economic assumptions that BHI could chew on, the TFGW chose not to fantasize. Instead the Wisconsin panel decided to punt on the costs of most of their carbon-capping recommendations, with statements like “to be determined” or “costs were not estimated for this policy.”

Kind of surprising considering that the TFGW, instead of hiring CCS, chose the more prestigious and better-financed World Resources Institute as their management team. With an enormous research staff at their disposal you’d think they’d try to crunch some numbers, but then again, if the numbers just ain’t going to be all that pretty…

So as a result their work product is basically dung, but hey, sometimes even that is taken seriously by lawmakers and you’ve got to analyze it anyway. That’s what Beacon Hill did, extracting out 13 of the more than 50 unquantified proposals that they could calculate some estimates on.

BHI selected these (13) policies because the [TFGW] report provided specific information regarding costs and a description of the policy proposal.  Many of the [TFGW] policy recommendations are vague and do not provide enough information to conduct an analysis.

The report was published by the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute and embraced by Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce. It concludes that if all the policy recommendations are enacted, that:

  • Wisconsin will lose 43,000 private sector jobs over 11 years.
  • Wisconsin will add 12,000 government jobs.
  • Motor fuel costs will increase $3.2 billion over 11 years.
  • Electricity bills increase $16.2 billion by 2025.
  • Every state resident will lose $1,012 a year in personal income by 2020.

As Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel columnist Patrick McIlheran writes today, “about 30,000 of you can get off the train to the 21st century economy right now.” From my view, I’ve seen these Blue Ribbon Task Force Peachy Panel proposals in most of the states now, and Wisconsin’s has got to be one of the worst: sloppy, lazy, with catatonic abiding in long-ago debunked assumptions.

Carbonicus November 14, 2009 at 5:53 pm

If there's anyone in the local media with a shred of journalistic integrity left, please ask Wisconsin voters what they'd rather have for tens of billions of dollars over several decades: no difference in temperatures that can be differentiated from natural climate variability over the next 1000 years, or to get all the contaminated sediments out of the Wisconsin shoreline of Lake Michigan, all the state's brownfield sites cleaned up, and all the state's Superfund (and state analogue) sites cleaned up, etc. Because that's about what we're talking about here.


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