Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

April 8, 2009

THE MIT MYTH.... The irreplaceable Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) wrote an op-ed for the Minneapolis Star Tribune today, showing off her impressive expertise on energy policy. (thanks to reader S.A. for the tip)

President Obama has repeatedly said he will not raise taxes on low- and middle-income families, yet his policies do not match his rhetoric. Take for instance, a new tax he has proposed on the use of energy. It's called cap-and-trade or, more appropriately, cap-and-tax. The tax would require energy producers and businesses to pay to emit carbon emissions in the hope of reducing greenhouse gases. [...]

Any way you look at it, it's low- and middle-income Americans who will pay dearly for this. 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. Using an analysis by Peter Orszag, President Obama's budget director, that number would be closer to $4,000.

As is often the case with Bachmann, this claim is funnier than most. We already know that there is no M.I.T. analysis pointing to the $3,128 number. The M.I.T. scholar in question has specifically told House Republicans that the number is completely wrong. (Whether Bachmann is ignorant or dishonest is unclear.)

But what I like about Bachmann's piece is that she pushes the envelope, pointing to an OMB analysis saying that the make-believe M.I.T. figure understates the case. And what OMB analysis would that be? As it turns out, that doesn't exist, either.

Bachmann, in other words, is pointing to one imaginary report to bolster the conclusion reached by a different report that doesn't say what she thinks it says. That takes real talent. She did all of this in a piece for publication, which she and her staff presumably took a little time to look over before sending it in.

That said, Brian Beutler and Eric Kleefeld seem inclined to cut the nutty lawmaker some slack: "[U]sing a fake statistic as a standard talking point isn't too bad compared to Bachmann's other pronouncements about the dangers of re-education camps and replacing the dollar, or the people becoming slaves, or how the country is at the point of revolution. Really, this is one of her tamer moments."

Fair enough.

Steve Benen 4:25 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (22)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

it appears the wingnuts have found a way to run salt in America's wounds while she is down. as the newspapers that were once a cherished part of a functioning democracy continue their demise, the vultures on the right rush in, knowing the odds are better than ever that there is not enough staff to fact check hard news, much less editorials. there is no appetite at these print outlets for standards, which are seen as akin to putting make-up on the patient that is dying of a heart attack. far be it for the right to resist taking advantage -- expect ever more looney RW pieces to run in ever more media as they exploit this for all it is worth.

Posted by: zeitgeist on April 8, 2009 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

(Whether Bachmann is ignorant or dishonest is unclear.)

In Bachmann's case, it seems clear that the answer is both.

Posted by: The Fabulous Mr. Toad on April 8, 2009 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

"Really, this is one of her tamer moments."

Maybe but the ideation surrounding Gestalt Psycology is that the whole equals the sum of the parts. This part may be low hanging fruit but the whole package, like the rest of her "fruit", is noxious. Why the MSM gives airtime to what they know are outright lies has continued to amaze me. It's like the US has become a Truman Show. Nauseating....

Posted by: stevio on April 8, 2009 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

I used to deliver the Minneapolis Star and the Minneapolis Tribune and I am sad to see what the eventual combining of the two papers has become. All of the readership should be offended, but many that still buy the paper wont be. Maybe the "Big Newspapers" think that in order to survive they must become the print version of A.M. radio?

Posted by: So on April 8, 2009 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

OK, now that that's settled, how much WOULD a cap and trade plan cost American households?

Posted by: Wrecktum on April 8, 2009 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

Doesn't the newspaper play a role here? Shouldn't they fact-check these claims, or at least ask where she got them from, before they're published? I know, I know, that's asking a lot these days.

Posted by: Matt on April 8, 2009 at 4:39 PM | PERMALINK

"Tail gunner" Joe McCarthy has been resurrected, this time as a woman.

I winder how much she

Posted by: Rick B on April 8, 2009 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

Tempting as it may be to bring up her breathtaking idiocy, from a branding perspective it's more important to point out that she's LYING. The GOP can. Not. Be. Trusted. Ever. Rinse, repeat.

Posted by: Cazart on April 8, 2009 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

It kind of amazes me the stuff that gets political attention. The U.S. should be doing way more to address the Millennium Development Goals. The plan to end world hunger has been getting seriously ignored.

$30 billion: Annual shortfall to end world hunger.

$550 billion: U.S. Defense budget.

(source: borgenproject.org.)

Posted by: David Waters on April 8, 2009 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

The real problem is not that people like Michele Bachmann and George Will are deliberate liars.

There will always be such deliberate liars -- especially in cases like this, where trillions of dollars in fossil fuel industry profits are at stake and there are thus people willing to pay deliberate liars like Bachmann and Will a lot of money to lie.

The real problem is that newspapers like the Minneapolis Star Tribune and The Washington Post publish their deliberate lies.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on April 8, 2009 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

Michelle Bachmann is a train wreck that has already happened! Her constituents must surely be embarrassed! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on April 8, 2009 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

(Whether Bachmann is ignorant or dishonest is unclear.)

I think the jury is in on this one. She's a lying piece of @#$! and the fact that she's stupid to boot, doesn't make her less responsible for her statements.

Posted by: AK Liberal on April 8, 2009 at 4:49 PM | PERMALINK

The figure is the average cost over a period of ten years. But the figure doesn't include the potential offset for things like higher food prices due to perpetual drought in California or the extra cost of cooling in the longer Summer months.

Posted by: tomj on April 8, 2009 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

"OK, now that that's settled, how much WOULD a cap and trade plan cost American households?"
Posted by: Wrecktum

See this site, April 4th "Boehner's Rationalization
"But the actual MIT study implies that the welfare cost would be around $31 per person in 2015, rising to an average of $85 per person per year -- not including the benefits of cleaner air and a habitable planet"

Posted by: Johnny Canuck on April 8, 2009 at 5:16 PM | PERMALINK

Michele Bachmann must never be silenced. She is a walking, gibbering recruiting poster for the Democratic Party.

Posted by: jprichva on April 8, 2009 at 5:26 PM | PERMALINK

As is often the case with Bachmann, this claim is funnier than most.

I am not as amused by the constant stream of outright lies and misinformation, and its widespread propagation, as you are.

Posted by: qwerty on April 8, 2009 at 5:45 PM | PERMALINK

I think it's pretty obvious by now that Bachman is both ignorant and dishonest. What I would like to know is why no one at the Minneapolis Star Tribune's editor bothers to fact check opinion pieces before running them.

Posted by: sparrow on April 8, 2009 at 6:01 PM | PERMALINK

(Whether Bachmann is ignorant or dishonest is unclear.)

Steve, the default position here ought to be that she is lying, not that it could go either way. To do otherwise is an insult to her and her staff, as well as your readers.

Posted by: scudbucket on April 8, 2009 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK

(Whether Bachmann is ignorant or dishonest is unclear.)

You should include the possibility that she has lost touch with reality. Certainly she seems to have some serious psychological problems.

Posted by: Leisureguy on April 8, 2009 at 6:44 PM | PERMALINK
That said, Brian Beutler and Eric Kleefeld seem inclined to cut the nutty lawmaker some slack:...

Fair enough.

No, it's not. Arguably the whole point of making utterly outrageous accusations is to make run-of-the-mill lies seem not worth bothering with, and therefore letting them become acceptable. We shouldn't play along.

Posted by: Redshift on April 8, 2009 at 7:08 PM | PERMALINK

I wish you hadn't said "fair enough," Steve. The thing about the more crazy Bachmann moments is that they're plainly crazy, and we don't have to worry nearly as much about the average person being misled by them. By contrast, this lie sounds at least plausible, and the end result is that some people who listen to her will end up thinking, "I'm going to pay a lot more in taxes, thanks to Obama."

Posted by: Brendan on April 8, 2009 at 7:09 PM | PERMALINK

Michelle is my congressman. I just learned she is a grad of Oral Robert's Univ. On a worse note her husband is a grad of Pat Robertson's univ. I also heard a rumor that her local church is quietly working on a plan to give her the boot.

I think she is totaly frustrated by being in the minority party and can't handle it.

Posted by: Don Lowell on April 8, 2009 at 10:37 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly