Current Events and the Psychology of Politics

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Bachmann Gets Constituents ‘Armed and Dangerous’

Announces forum (not a townhall)


By Emily Kaiser
City Pages
April 8, 2009

Rep. Michele Bachmann announced public forums last month to help get her constituents “armed and dangerous” on the issue of cap and trade policies. …

The forum’s speaker, Chris Horner, has called global warming just “hype.” …

Bachmann wrote an editorial for the Star Tribune Tuesday [Apr. 7, 2009] explaining her position against Obama’s cap and trade proposal. She makes the point that his proposal would cost every household more than $3,000 in energy costs every year.

All’s good until the the study’s author says that fact is completely wrong and misrepresented.

Here is what MIT professor John Reilly said in response to House Minority Leader John Boehner’s use of the same fact:

The press release claims our report estimates an average cost per family of a carbon cap and trade program that would meet targets now being discussed in Congress to be over $3,000, but that is nearly 10 times the correct estimate which is approximately $340.


PolitiFact Truth-O-Meter Fact-Check

“The administration raises revenue for nationalized health care through a series of new taxes, including a light switch tax that would cost every American household $3,128 a year.” (House Republican Conference on Tuesday, March 24th, 2009 in a press release and Web post) …

To back up the claim, their staff pointed us to an M.I.T. report [PDF]. …

“It’s just wrong,” said John Reilly, an energy, environmental and agricultural economist at M.I.T. and one of the authors of the report. “It’s wrong in so many ways it’s hard to begin.” Not only is it wrong, but he told the House Republicans it was wrong when they asked him. …

PolitiFact Truth-O-Meter

If the Republicans had simply misstated the results of the MIT study, the Truth-O-Meter would have been content giving this one a False. But for them to keep repeating the claim after the author of the study told them it was wrong means we have to set the meter ablaze. Pants on Fire.

Read full PolitiFact Truth-O-Meter report

Read April 1, 2009 letter by John Reilly to House Minority Leader John Boehner [PDF] informing him that the MIT study of proposals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Report No. 146, Assessment of U.S. Cap-and-Trade Proposals, “has been misrepresented in recent press releases.”

A Rash of Lies and Falsehoods (MSNBC, April 8, 2009) – Rachel Maddow points out the surprising number of flatly wrong arguments being made by U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) and other lawmakers. MSNBC political analyst Eugene Robinson offers his perspective. (08:30)


4/10/09 Update

Report and Fact-Check of Bachmann’s Cap-and-Trade Forum

By Noah Kunin
Senior Political Correspondent
The UpTake
April 9, 2009

Woodbury, MN — Representative Michele Bachmann (MN-6) is still spreading false information regarding an MIT study on cap and trade.

She held two townhalls today to discuss proposals for a cap and trade program to abet greenhouse gasses. She was joined by Chris Horner, a lawyer for the Competitive Enterprise Institute. They gave prepared presentations and only took highly moderated pre-written questions.

For us to know if Rep. Bachmann is “willfully lying” vs “unwittingly misrepresenting” we would have to know if she knew the author of the MIT report had spoken out on the subject.

Regrettably, Rep. Bachmann refused to speak with all press today.

Citations used in fact-check video compilation


Related link

“Pants on Fire” — The UpTake reports on Bachmann’s faux forum and fact-checks her lies

6 Responses to “A ‘Rash of Lies and Falsehoods’”
  1. Aubrey Immelman Says:

    MIT professor John Reilly, saying he made “a boneheaded mistake in an Excel spread sheet,” adjusted his original cost estimate for cap and trade ($215 annually per household) upward to $800.

    However, many Republicans, including Rep. Bachmann, add that figure to the $3,100 originally cited in press releases distributed by the National Republican Congressional Committee, yielding a figure of $3,900 per household per year.

    I don’t have the background and training to calculate the cost independently; however, below is a link to an analysis by the American Energy Alliance addressing “The $3,100 Question: How Much Will Cap and Trade Cost Households?”

    Seems it will cost $800, $3,100, or $3,900 — depending on how you slice and dice it.

    Either way, the current cap-and-trade proposal seems like a bad idea — too expensive and too many ways to game the system.

    Until someone establishes the actual cost of cap and trade for taxpayers, I reserve judgment on the figures Rep. Bachmann cited in her April 7 op-ed in the Star Tribune. They could be correct.

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