fresh voices from the front lines of change







Since the federal government picks up nearly all the cost of Obamacare’s voluntary expansion of state Medicaid programs, you might think all the governors would have accepted the sweetheart deal. While Republicans in some states have come around, there are still 19 states where Obama-hating Republicans have illogically refused to accept federal money to help their constituents.

Next up, President Obama and his EPA are working on a program to cap carbon emissions from power plants. As with Obamacare, states will have latitude how it is implemented. As with Obamacare, conservative states are threatening to refuse cooperation.

And as with Obamacare, those recalcitrant Obama-hating states will only be hurting themselves.

As a new report from Synapse Energy Economics shows, states that aggressively implement the EPA’s Clean Power Program with “strong energy efficiency and renewable energy investments” will significantly lower their constituents’ energy bills:

For the two‐thirds of residential consumers who participate in ratepayer‐funded energy efficiency programs under this scenario, 2030 bills are expected to be $35 per month lower than in a business‐as‐usual … scenario and, on average, $14 per month cheaper than residential bills were in 2012 … Monthly bill savings for participants in energy efficiency programs range from $0.50 in Kansas up to $94 in North Dakota…

…Electricity customers … save the most in states that are “first movers”, meaning their states invest in new renewable energy sources early on … First mover states are able to export clean power in later years to those states that continue to depend heavily on existing fossil fuel plants, which must eventually be retired.

In other words, not only is there a big opportunity for governors and state legislature to deliver big savings for their constituents, there is a big risk in being a childish holdout just because you hate Obama.

For health care and clean energy, Obama is providing what conservatives always say they want: flexible programs that allow for state-led innovation. Politicians whose thinking is clouded by Obama hatred failed to take advantage of the offer with health care. If these conservatives are capable of learning lessons, they might consider trying good faith implementation instead of petty resistance when it’s time to tackle clean energy.

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