The Obama administration seems to have no end of regulations in the hopper that supposedly make the environment better but definitely make energy more expensive. This is especially burdensome to low and middle-income families. 

How much of a family’s income goes for energy now? The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) has done a study of “Energy Cost Impacts on American Families.” The study found that “rising electricity prices and declining family incomes are straining the budgets of America’s lower and middle-income families.”

Some of the findings are stunning: American families with a pre-tax income of under $50,000 now spend an estimated average of 17 percent of their post-tax income on residential energy and transportation energy, while the breakdown for families earning $30,000 in pre-tax income is 23 percent of their income on energy, before accounting for any subsidies.

This situation obviously affects the poor and elderly disproportionately. Indeed, the report quoted from a 2011 survey of low-income families by the National Energy Assistance Directors Association that found that because of high energy bills nearly a fourth (24 percent) went without food for a day. The study also found that 37 percent went without dental care, 34 percent did not fill a full prescription, and 19 percent said that they had become sick because their house was too cold.

This latest study is something everybody who wants to talk about energy should read. It gives you a sneaking feeling that what the public at large needs is not more regulations but cheaper energy.

Before taking actions that raise the cost of energy, the government needs to recognize that most Americans already are being squeezed.