By Ben Adler
Donald Trump’s big speech at the Republican convention on Thursday didn’t contain a single reference to the environment or climate change. It was vague on policy overall, focusing heavily on the primary themes of this year’s Republican National Convention: bashing Hillary Clinton’s character and fearmongering over crime and national security, with a heavy dose of Islamophobia and xenophobia.
There was, however, one section that dealt hazily with energy policy. Unfortunately, it was filled with falsehoods. Let’s go through the four key assertions one at a time:
“Excessive regulation is costing our country as much as $2 trillion a year, and we will end it.”
The apparent source for this figure is the National Association of Manufacturers, a conservative business lobbying organization that is fiercely opposed to regulations. The group’s $2 trillion estimate calculates only the cost of regulatory compliance and not the cost savings that result from government rules. So the fact that environmental and workplace safety regulations prevent health care expenses and missed work days, for example, is simply ignored in this calculation. When you do account for the benefits of regulations, they often end up saving far more money than they cost. Experts debunked NAM’s report; the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service cited the Office of Management and Budget in calling the kind of methodology used “inherently flawed.” No unbiased, empirical cost-benefit analysis would come up with anything close to the number Trump cites.
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