Carl at ChicagoBoyz has an interesting post up about how increasing costs for utility companies (e.g. legal fees) are ultimately passed on to the poor:
Ever wonder who pays for all those law suits the environmentalists come up with to sue the local power company? The customer. Ever wonder who pays for all the emissions clean up (scrubbers, clean coal) and for the more costly technologies like natural gas against plentiful US coal? The customer. Who pays for the fact that it takes 20 years of red tape and permits to build a transmission line? The customer.
Not only that, but the grants that fund all these non profits usually come from cities, counties and governments. How do they pay for this? Tax revenues, and utility taxes make up a sizable portion of their take from the public. Look at any utility bill and you can see that it is riddled with tax after tax, and you can’t even see the impact of other taxes levied on the utility (property and sales taxes) because these are built into the rates.
Thus I would love for all those doe-eyed environmentalist believers to go to a utility and volunteer THERE at the customer service window for a while and watch the poor decide whether to pay the power bill or buy medicine. They can watch people decide on back to school clothes and supplies or the gas bill. These are real choices, and they will become more and more evident should the economy go into a spiral.
There are no two ways about it - 17% of the income of the poor goes to energy bills which are VASTLY inflated by taxes and regulation, without which the cost of energy would probably be 50% lower (or more… we are the “Saudi Arabia” of coal). Think of this next time they volunteer at a soup kitchen or go on a clothing drive… couldn’t they accomplish the same exact thing by working to lower the costs of energy for the poor so that they’d have more income in their pocket?
We need to remember that when a company is attacked, the person who really gets hurt is the poor schmuck making $6 an hour at the bottom of the financial food chain.
Previous thoughts here and here.