The Colbert Report

Season 4 Episode 87

Dan Esty

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Aired Weekdays 11:30 PM Jul 14, 2008 on Comedy Central
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Tonight Stephen welcomes the head of Yale's Center for Business & the Environment, Dan Esty. Also Stephen talks with Lama Surya Das about whether Barack Obama should become a Tibetan Buddhist.

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    • QUOTES (3)

      • Stephen: That's what I like about being a Catholic. Jesus already did all my suffering for me - now I can just sit back and rake in Christmas presents.

      • Stephen: Tonight, the cost of living keeps going up although death is surprisingly affordable. Then I try to find Barack Obama a new church, hopefully one where they make you take a vow of not running for President. And my guest Dan Esty says that environmental awareness is good for business. He must be talking about wind power because that idea blows! Hey, InTouch magazine, if Brad and Angelina turn you down I got a pair of twins you can photograph! This is the Colbert Report!

      • Stephen: Luckily, prices are coming down in one sector, and it's tonight's Word: Priceless. Folks, everybody knows I'm a huge fan of market forces and it's always bugged my when people say you can't put a monetary value on human life. (Formula 401 now half-off!) Of course you can. That's why I demand ransom for the release of my summer interns. Pay up mom & dad! Well, it turns out there is an exact monetary value of human life. (Even higher if it's twins!) It is a number calculated by government actuaries based on risk assessment and payroll figures that is used to decide if life saving regulations are worth paying for. (Also used to calculate restaurant tip) For example let's say there's proposed legislation that would require inspecting possibly tainted Chinese shrimp, (And shrimp flavored toothpaste) and let's further say that regulation would cost $100 million and if you don't inspect the shrimp 100 people could die at a seafood restaurant. (Tragically never completing placemat maze) Now if you value those 100 people at a million dollars each, the benefit is equal to the cost so the regulation is worth it, but if you value them at less than a million dollars each the cost outweighs the benefit. (Sort of like watching The Happening) Now I happen to think, and this is just me, I happen to think tainted shrimp ads and element of danger to the appetizer course. It's like skydiving with cocktail sauce. (You read my bucket list!)

        Now, the Environmental Protection Agency uses numbers like this to decide whether to regulate things like pollution. And five years ago they estimated that a human life was worth $7.8 million, but recently they lowered that to $6.9 million. That's right. Under the Bush administration, human life has become a million dollars cheaper. (How does he do it? Volume!) This is great news because the lower the value of human life, the less it pays to protect it with regulations. That might be why last week the EPA announced its decision not to regulate greenhouse gasses. It's just not worth it for human life at such bargain basement prices. (Everyone must go!) But we can get those prices lower by devaluing life they've made it less likely to regulate water and air quality, and the worse the water and air quality get the less life is worth living, which further devalues life, which makes it even less likely to regulate water and air quality. It's like the circle of life, (Minus the life) and that's great. You see, why they may have lowered the value of a person, the EPA has giving us something worth a lot more. Because a human life, $6.9 million, (And dropping) gaming the system to protect industry from safety regulations: priceless. (Priceless)

        And that's the Word.

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