If you've been following "climategate", you know that one of the denialists' main lines of attack is that the stolen CRU emails "prove" that current mainstream climate science can't be trusted because climate scientists are hiding their models and data.* Given that, you might believe that the folks who oppose global warming regulations, like Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce and the Wisconsin Policy Research Institute, would base their opposition on actual verifiable facts and research.
Not so much. A couple of weeks ago WPRI released "The Economics of Climate Change Proposals in Wisconsin" a study they commissioned from the Beacon Hill Institute, which uses an economic model called STAMP. A proprietary economic model. As in top-secret. Beacon Hill won't release their computer code, the model's coefficients, or their input data, so none of it can be independently verified by real economists. Sounds kind of fishy, doesn't it? Now, why would Beacon Hill be so reticent about sharing the fruits of their research? Perhaps there's a hint in their mission statement, which says, in part, "Grounded in the principles of limited government, fiscal responsibility and free markets...".
It's fairly simple to rig a complicated economic model to get answers that support your ideological preconceptions. Just looking at the limited info on STAMP that's publicly available I can see some pretty obvious biases. Without open and independent verification WPRI's study is completely worthless. They might as well have pulled the numbers out of a hat. Beacon Hill lets groups like WPRI and WMC slap a pseudo-academic veneer of respectability on their policy positions, but it's all just smoke and mirrors designed to take advantage of the public's, and the press', gullibility.
Paul Soglin has a nice post on this issue, and he beat me to the punch by a couple of weeks!
*The denialists' claim that climate models and data aren't available is simply a lie. All the significant climate models and almost all of the data (with the exception of data that was purchased from vendors with non-disclosure agreements) is easily available, most of it online.