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EPA Issues First Waiver For New Greenhouse Gas Regulations

Guess who it went to? That's right. Jeffrey Immelt.

Let's do a quick recap. As National Review points out, back in 2009, Obama awarded GE $24.9 million in stimulus funds, and "roughly $20 billion more slated for health care record modernization of the kind that GE specializes in — 'with a direct request to do so from GE’s CEO Jeffrey Immelt.'" Then last month, the President appointed Jeffrey Immelt, the CEO of General Electric, to his Head Council of Competitiveness and Jobs.

This all holds incredibly consistent with Immelt's notion that for businesses to be successful it must work "in concert" with the government. However, it's also known as "rent seeking" and is a glaring example of Big Government interfering with Big Business. Which is a problem. Rent seeking not only comes at the expense of American tax payers, but works to the detriment of both competitors and ultimately consumers. Basic economics says that competition drives down prices. Government interference eliminates competition. Prices go up. This isn't hard.

The regulations on greenhouse gases are inconvenient for corporations, and act as a handicap. They cost a lot of money. Businesses will suffer as a result. But CLIMATE CHANGE!!!1!! they say. It's better for the environment! Only until it's moved out of the country to another country with lower taxes and looser regulations that shares the same planet with us and thousands of Americans are left unemployed. Again. For example, 53% of GE's employees are not based in the US.

The arrangement gives the EPA the upper hand. Now they're in a position to get their hands in big corporations and do business. When someone is willing to deal, they'll get the kickbacks. Suddenly, regulating the big corporations isn't that important. That's where waivers come in. Tim Carney, who has consistently worked to illuminate the relationship between government and big business writes:

Maybe GE CEO Jeff Immelt's closeness to President Obama, and his broad support for Obama's agenda, had nothing to do with this exemption. But we have no way of knowing that, and given the administration's record of regularly misleading Americans regarding lobbyists, frankly, I wouldn't trust the White House if they told me there was no connection.

Nor would I, Tim.