Thursday, May 28, 2009

Burton Repeats Debunked Energy Cost Figure

On May 21, Rep. Dan Burton (R-Indiana) and Rep. Mike Pence (R-Indiana; House Republican Conference Chair) gave an interview to The Shelbyville News. The discussion focused largely on President Obama's proposed "cap and trade" legislation. Among the claims made by Rep. Burton in the interview is the following:
Now they say it's not going to be a tax on individuals or households, but the
fact is it will be an indirect tax because the business and industries of this
country that are taxed are going to pass those costs along to the consumer,
which means that every single household in this country will have to spend
between $3,000 and $4,000 in additional expenses every single year.
I'm all for a good and honest debate about whether the proposed cap and trade legislation is a good idea or a bad idea. However, honest is a critical component to the debate. With both that and Rep. Burton's claim in mind, recall the following portion of my post Michelle Bachmann: The Idiot Who Won't Shut Up from May 2, 2009:
On April 7, 2009, Rep. Bachmann wrote an op-ed for the Minneapolis Star-Tribunein which she repeated a Republican talking point that President Obama's proposed cap-and-trade program would impose a severe burden on American families: "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." Pretty scary, the idea of every family having to pay $3,128 more each year. And, hey, if MIT says that is what will happen, then we should probably be willing to rely on that information, right? Well, not so fast. You see, Rep. Bachmann, like a number of other Republicans, got the math wrong. In fact, one of the authors of the MIT report told Republicans that they were wrong before they began using their bogus scare-tactic. After the Republicans began touting this number, several news organizations demonstrated its falsity, but Republicans, including Rep. Bachmann continued to offer the false analysis. For more information, see GOP full of hot air about Obama's "light switch tax".
In other words, Rep. Burton continues to base his opposition to cap and trade on numbers that he should know are false and which were debunked nearly two months ago! So much for honest debate, but then this is Rep. Burton we're talking about...

Incidentally, yesterday I received an email from Twitter telling me that Rep. Burton was now following me. In response, I tweeted the following:
Rep. Dan Burton is now following me. Do you think I can lead him out of Congress?
Hmm. I haven't heard back from Rep. Burton.


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