One hope, with Barack Obama taking the Oath of Office: that the traditional media would return to a tradition of actually seeking to weigh truth and seek some form of actual honesty in reporting.
Despite being in a minority, newspapers and television talk shows seem more ready to have Republicans (whether currently in office or out of office) dominating the discussion, no matter the disconnection of their comments from actual facts or sensibility. While its seen in many arenas (financial markets, budget discussions, auto industry, health care), the extreme might come in the interacting (intertwined, inseparable) domains of economy, energy, and environment.
Now that there is mounting seriousness in discussion of Energy/Global Warming legislation, from the White House to the House, the whining choruses of truthiness and deception are mounting in volume.
“Tax” is a discordant and dishonest verse that Republicans are singing in every venue they can … and, sadly, they are being given the venues even though their statements are not just deceptive but outright dishonest.
Have you heard? Listen to your neighborhood Republican member of commerce and they’ll tell you that global warming legislation will cost the average household $3100 per year. And, they will look you in the eye, totally absent any shame, and tell you that MIT told them so.
Oops, not true.
And, to place the icing on the cake, they know that this is false.
They know that they are lying … and they won’t stop.
This is what the Republicans, using this report as a source, say:
“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,”
What do the authors of the report say about this?
“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.
“Someone from the House Republicans had called me (March 20) and asked about this,” Reilly said. “I had explained why the estimate they had was probably incorrect and what they should do to correct it, but I think this wrong number was already floating around by that time.”
Oh, by the way, that Republican comment was distributed by the House Republican Conference on 24 March. Yes, that’s right, 4 days after Professor Reilly told them that their interpretation was incorrect.
In fact, while the total ‘revenue’ element in the analysis would total that $3128 per family (average household of 2.56 people), competent economists look at the total cost by analyzing costs and benefits. Thus, the actual cost, after those benefits are calculated, would be $30.89 per person or $79 per family. And, that cost is a relatively pessimistic analysis. And, that cost wouldn’t come to full force until 2015.
And, for that 10 cents per day? Reduced oil imports, cleaner environment, and a safer climate.
This is how the St Petersburg Times PoltiFact concludes its look at this:
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.