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Bachmann statement on cap-and-trade disputed

In an op-ed article Wednesday in the Star Tribune, Michele Bachmann referred to an MIT study on cap-and-trade legislation, despite the study’s author having made public complaints that Republicans have misrepresented his work, according to the Hill.

 “According to an analysis by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the average American household could expect its yearly energy bill to increase by $3,128 per year,” Bachmann wrote.

Last month, other House Republicans, including House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, made the same claim, referencing the MIT study.

But John Reilly, an author of the study, told the St. Petersburg Times in March that the Republican’s $3,128 figure was “just wrong.”

“It’s wrong in so many ways it’s hard to begin,” Reilly said.

The MIT report says that previously proposed cap-and-trade legislation would raise $366 billion in revenue per year. The Republicans then divided that by the number of U.S. households to arrive at roughly $3,000 per household.

But Reilly told the St. Petersburg Times, and the Republicans who called him to ask about the study, that it is just not that simple.

From the St. Petersburg Times:

“That’s just not how economists calculate the cost of a tax proposal, Reilly said. The tax might push the price of carbon-based fuels up a bit, but other results of a cap-and-trade program, such as increased conservation and more competition from other fuel sources, would put downward pressure on prices. Moreover, consumers would get some of the tax back from the government in some form.”

On that note, Boehner responded on April 2, defending the Republican estimate:

“An MIT professor has questions about the $3,100 figure but his letter makes assumptions that are factually inaccurate. Moreover, he claims ‘government rebates to consumers’ must be factored in.  But we all know that Democrats have no intention of using a cap-and-trade system to deliver rebates to consumers; they want the tax revenue to fund more government spending.”

Bachmann’s office referred to Boehner’s statement as an explanation for continuing to use the $3,100 estimate.

Meanwhile, in testimony this March before the House subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support, CBO senior adviser Terry Dinan said that a 15 percent cut in CO2 admissions could cost the average household roughly $1,600 (in 2006 dollars).

 “Ranging from nearly $700 in additional costs for the average household in the lowest one-fifth [quintile] of all households arrayed by income, to about $2,200 for the average household in the highest quintile,” according to Dinan’s written testimony.

President Obama’s plan would cut emissions 14 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 and 83 percent below 2005 levels by 2050.

A top White House adviser also told Senate staff that the administration’s estimate for expected revenues could be “two-to-three” times higher than previously reported, according to the Wall Street Journal.

As a result, some conservative pundits and members of Congess, including Bachmann, have argued that the impact on households could be significantly larger.

On the opposite side, Obama has countered with a proposed tax credit that he argues will compensate for the higher utility costs that are expected after a cap and trade system goes into place.

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Comments (10)

  1. Submitted by Eric Ferguson on 04/09/2009 - 03:59 pm.

    Sometimes when Republicans quote these grossly inaccurate figures, we wonder if they are just truly ignorant and avoid contact with anyone you might correct them. In this case however, we know Boehner knows better, because he was responding to a question about the study’s author’s debunking. It’s as if they don’t care if they’re completely wrong, as long as the point works for them. Can’t they figure out this sort of nonsense is what put them in their current predicament.

  2. Anonymous Submitted by Anonymous on 04/09/2009 - 04:58 pm.

    So, the MIT article is a very authoritative piece of evidence, but the author of the article doesn’t know what he is talking about and Boehner is a better interpreter of the article than the guy who wrote it. These Republicans have no shame.

  3. Submitted by david granneman on 04/09/2009 - 06:50 pm.

    hello all
    in the post it seems the author is quibbling over wethere it will cost each amercan $3000 or $2000 or only $1000 in higher energy bills.
    it time more and more people realize the danger the GLOBAL WARMING HOAX presents to this country.
    president obama’s energy plan will be a disaster for the united states – the cap and trade carbon tax – is a tax that will be put on all the food you eat, the products you buy, gas for your car, and the energy to heat your home. worse yet industry and business are the greatest users of energy. this added cost will cause american businesses to be at a disadvantage to countries where energy is cheap and abundant. where do you think all the jobs will go, to a high tax, high energy cost states like minnesota. AH, fear not citizens, the president is going to tax the evil energy producers and return some of the money to help you pay the sky high costs he created. if you like this plan, i have a deal for you, please send me a $1000 a month, i will be glad to refund to you a $100 a month to help you pay your next month’s $1000 payment to me.

  4. Submitted by Glenn Mesaros on 04/09/2009 - 07:12 pm.

    Deepest Solar Minimum in Nearly a Century: Goodbye Global Warming

    by Gregory Murphy & Laurence Hecht

    Editors, 21st Century Science & Technology

    April 9, 2009 (LPAC) – A continued low in solar activity, as measured by the appearance of irregularities on the Sun’s surface known as sunspots, may be responsible for the recent phase of cooling experienced in many parts of the Northern Hemisphere. In the opinion of many specialists, the downturn in solar activity likely marks the beginning of a prolonged cooling period.

    The expected cooling will produce many hardships for a human population already stressed by a prolonged downturn in global physical economic productive capability. But the bright side may be that such bloated windbags as Al Gore and his leaner companion James Hansen, who have led His Royal Consort Prince Philip’s genocidal global warming promotion, will finally be silenced.

    For students of the Sun, the length of the solar cycle, which lasts an average of 11-years but may go longer or shorter, has proven the best historical indicator of short-term climate. At the ends of these solar cycles, sunspot activity first declines, and then picks up markedly, indicating the beginning of a new cycle. The precise relationship between the sunspots, which are thought to be determined by magnetic activity within the Sun, and the energy output of the Sun are not known. However, long-term studies of the historical record have shown that when the minima in sunspot activity extend beyond the average 11 years, significant declines in temperatures on Earth are experienced. Regular records of sunspot activity go back to the 17th century.

    The current solar cycle, numbered 23, began in 1996, and was expected to reach minimum and transition to solar cycle 24 in January 2007.

    It did not. Instead, a prolonged period of excessively low solar activity has continued through this moment. In the year 2008 there were no sunspots observed on 266 of the year’s 366 days (73%). “To find a year with more blank suns, you have to go all the way back to 1913,” NASA reported in a press release on the subject. Since the beginning of the current year, sunspot counts have dropped even lower. As of April 9, there were no sunspots on 89 of the year’s 99 days (90%

  5. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 04/09/2009 - 09:20 pm.

    from Wikipedia:

    “21st Century Science and Technology is a quarterly magazine covering scientific topics from the perspective of Lyndon LaRouche and his movement.”

    An interesting source for ‘scientific’ information indeed.

  6. Submitted by david granneman on 04/09/2009 - 09:21 pm.

    hello all
    THANK YOU Glenn Mesaros
    for your informative article.
    its time america starts listening to REAL SCIENTISTS instead of failed politicans making millions on the GLOBAL WARMING HOAX.

  7. Submitted by Steve Titterud on 04/09/2009 - 11:10 pm.

    The braying of people like Boehnert and Bachmann contributes nothing to a rational discussion of the tricky subject of cap-and-trade. It seems there is no way of reducing emissions without some kind of tax, but I would prefer something other than cap-and-trade – something more straightforward.

    RE: global warming. For a good source of information about changing ice conditions in the Arctic and Antarctic, see NSIDC is supported by the NSF, NOAA, and NASA.

  8. Submitted by david granneman on 04/10/2009 - 07:24 am.

    hello all
    THANK YOU Paul Brandon
    for informing us that any information from a conservative source must be biased, misleading, and totally inaccurate. information from liberal sources is always acurrate and unbiased and the truth. why don’t you discuss the information rather than try to discredit the messenger. did you ever notice someone with a weak argument oftem resorts to name calling to discredit the messenger instead of discussing the merrits of the information.

  9. Submitted by Eric Paul Jacobsen on 04/10/2009 - 08:12 am.

    Here’s some text from MIT’s “Assessment of U.S. Cap-and-Trade Proposals,” page 55:

    “The purpose of U.S. mitigation measures is to substantially reduce the amount of climate change we would otherwise experience. Absent controls on greenhouse gas emissions, global temperatures could rise by 3.5 to 4.5 °C by 2100 given our reference emissions and reflecting a climate response to greenhouse gas emissions like that of the models of the three major U.S. climate modeling centers. Our results confirm the well-known fact of global climate change: to meet temperature or concentration goals requires concerted efforts from much of the world over a substantial period of time.


    Poorer countries see a U.S. and developed world that has freely emitted CO2 over the history of fossil use, and are thus responsible for the level of concentrations we see today. And they see economies with far higher incomes that are in a better position to afford the burden of mitigation. Thus, a perception of the U.S. taking on an equitable share of the burden of abatement is probably essential if the U.S. policy is going to serve the strategic goal of moving climate policy forward elsewhere.”

    The real question we face is not whether a cap-and-trade system will be expensive. The question is whether it will be more or less expensive than global climate change itself. What would be the cost of building protective dikes around New York City and Miami? What would be the cost of absorbing ecological refugees (for example from lost Pacific islands)? What would be the cost of submerged coral reefs and the loss of the oceanic food chains that depend upon them? What would be the cost of additional violent storms and lost agricultural production due to expanding deserts?

    Mr. Granneman’s comments can be safely ignored. Apparently, his “REAL SCIENTISTS” do not include the members of the two largest organizations of scientists in our country: the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), both of which endorse the view that global warming is real and that it is caused by human-generated greenhouse gases. Don’t take my word for it: Check out their websites!

  10. Submitted by Amanda Nesheim on 04/10/2009 - 08:27 am.

    Let’s all just walk around with our eyes wide shut and our heads in the sand.

    Let’s ignore the fact that we are limited in our fish consumption, (Walleye, Northern Pike, Muskellunge), to one per week and if you are pregnant limited to one per month with restrictions on the size of the fish. And the mercury levels are on the increase in Minnesota. All because of mercury contamination from burning coal and other fossil fuels.

    Let’s ignore the fact that when you add the health care costs of burning fossil fuels, (asthma, cancers, heart disease, etc.), that we are already paying thousands of dollars per household through high insurance premiums and taxes, (for those who are not able to afford insurance).

    It’s not just global warming that we should be concerned about. And it’s not like we can pack up and move to Mars. So maybe, just maybe we should think about taking care of and cleaning up the place where we live.

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