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March 08, 2011 05:53 PM UTC

Oh, What a tangled web we weave...

  • by: Duke Cox

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

As I walked over to the counter I immediately spotted it lying there . It was a response from congressman Scott Tipton to a letter sent to him by my wife. It was, in sum, a gratuitous, patronizing piece of claptrap.

She had written him asking him to support landowners, small communites, and water drinkers in general, by supporting legislation that would require natural gas and oil companies to reveal what they are injecting into the ground during the hydraulic fracturing process. Unless you just flew in on the midnight flight from Mars, you know that the poisonous soup some companies use (in prodigious quantities, I might add) to facilitate their profit picture is exempt from the Safe Drinking Water Act…and the Clean Water Act…and a number of others. They don’t have to reveal anything to anyone.

By the time I had finished the second paragraph, the familiar old “you lying jerk” response had started  to kick in…well, you decide for yourself;

Environmental stewardship is one of my top priorities, and I encourage the EPA to carry out this task in a responsible manner.

For one thing, I didn’t know “stewardship” was a synonym for “exploitation”…live and learn. And I guess he just forgot to include the rest of that last phrase;

“I encourage the EPA to carry out this task in a responsible manner”…after I cut their budget in half.

The rest of the letter was filled with the usual corporatist rhetoric Tipton is instructed to use. A few tasty samples:

…common sense has been lost in a regulatory process that has become politicized and wrought with bureaucracy and overlap.

maybe that should say…”wrought with bribery and overreach”

job killing regulation of carbon emissions

I guess he believes the only thing in this country that doesn’t kill jobs is tax cuts for the rich.

EPA regulations run counter to free market principles…

but massive subsidies and no bid contracts don’t?

cannot continue down this path of overregulation.

Well…that’s just stupid.

It was, though, in the third paragraph of the letter that I read the item that set me off and prompted this diary and the title. The letter says;

According to a 2010 Small Business Administration report, the economic burden of regulation on the American people totals 1.75 trillion dollars annually. That number piqued my interest. “How the hell do they know that”, I wondered? Sooo..I did a little checking.

That number comes from a report written by Nicole V. Crain and W. Mark Crain, who are professors at Lafayette College in Easton Pennsylvania. Their report is evaluated by Sidney Shapiro of the Center for Progressive Reform who says:

Upon examination, it turns out that the estimate is the result of secret calculations, an unreliable methodology and a presentation calculated to mislead.

comparing the SBA report to the 2009 report from the Office of Management and Budget, he states:

The 2009 OMB report, based on data from federal agencies under the Bush and Clinton Administrations, found that in the ten years ending in 2008 annual regulatory costs ranged from $62 billion to $73 billion (converted from 2001 into 2009 dollars).

The Crains only overestimated by $1,677,000,000,000.

Mr. Shapiro goes on to eviscerate the Crains’ report:

A new report today by the Center for Progressive Reform (Setting the Record Straight: The Crain and Crain Report on Regulatory Costs) shows that much more is at work than that.   In areas where the OMB and Crain and Crain calculations overlap, Crain and Crain use the same cost data as OMB, but, unlike OMB, which presents regulatory costs as a range, Crain and Crain always adopt the upper end of the range for inclusion in their calculations. More significant, Crain and Crain’s calculations for the regulations not covered by OMB’s report appear to be based largely on a decidedly unusual data source for economists – public opinion polling, the results of which Crain and Crain massage into a massive, but unsupported estimate of the costs of “economic” regulations.  Because Crain and Crain have refused to make their underlying data or calculations public.

 I recommend you read the entire article at the CPR website;


But now…to the fun part.

As I continued my investigation, I discovered the Crains’ cite a study by Joseph M. Johnson, among others, the googling of which leads to the American Enterprise Institute…surprised? It gets better.

The name that comes up at the link I googled was Veronique de Rugy, a right wing mouthpiece for, among other groups, the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. It seems Mr. Johnson also has a long affiliation with the Mercatus Center. The Mercatus Center is a hard right wing think tank that has received, since 1997, nearly ten million dollars from…wait for it…Koch Industries. Charles Koch is a board member.



5 thoughts on “Oh, What a tangled web we weave…

  1. I have a feeling the Koch kids have even more direct webs ensnaring the Colorado O&G scene. I’m wracking my brain to remember where I read something about an unfavorable public lands exchange with the Kochs about a year ago in Colorado, somehow brokered by then Rep. John Salazar. Can’t think for the life of me where I read it though. I hadn’t heard enough of the Koch boys back then for their importance to register, but I remember feeling it was just one more reason to be upset with Salazar. Anyway, thanks, Duke.

  2. Sending a response, even if “a gratuitous, patronizing piece of claptrap” is more than Lamborn bothers with. What I get from him is not even a stock letter on whatever topic I wrote about, but a stock letter of “thanks for writing, your input is valuable, no taxes, cut government”–same output letter for every input.

    Of course, I haven’t gotten a response from Udall’s offices (both DC and local) to my letter telling him signing on to the Balanced Budget Amendment is stupid policy and stupid politics.

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