6 Responses to Palin’s “Going Rogue” spreads falsehoods about bipartisan clean energy legislation
During the 2008 campaign, the Washington Post itself gave Sarah Palin its highest (which is to say lowest) rating of “Four Pinocchios” for continuing to “to peddle bogus [energy] statistics three days after the original error was pointed out by independent fact-checkers.” That didn’t stop the Post from running a 2009 piece by her filled with bogus information attacking climate action and clean energy action, which Senators Boxer and Kerry later debunked: “The governor’s new refrain against global warming action reminds us of every naysayer who has spoken out against progress in cleaning up pollution.” Still Newt Gingrich said she was a conservative leader on energy issues.
So now Palin’s book Going Rogue is out — hmm, the subtitle of the original Freakonomics is A Rogue Economist explores the Hidden Side of Everything – and Media Matters has two debunkings of it that I’ll repost below. First, MM’s “ongoing list of falsehoods in Palin’s memoir“:
1. Palin falsely suggests poor will be “hit hardest” by cap and trade
Palin: Obama “admitted” cap and trade will cause “electricity bills to ‘skyrocket’ ” and “those hit hardest will be those who are already struggling to make ends meet.” Palin falsely suggests that “those hit hardest [by cap and trade] will be those who are already struggling to make ends meet” and that Obama “has already admitted that the policy he seeks will cause our electricity bills to ‘skyrocket.’ ” She added: “So much for the campaign promise not to raise taxes on anyone making less than $250,000 a year. This is a tax on everyone.” [Going Rogue, Pages 390-391]
CBO says poorest quintile will benefit from Waxman-Markey. The Congressional Budget Office found that in 2020, the version of the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill that passed the House in June with the support of the Obama administration would result in a $125 average annual benefit to the quintile of households with the lowest income and a $160 average annual cost to all American households.
Obama was talking about a different plan causing energy costs to “skyrocket.” As the Associated Press noted in fact-checking Palin’s book, Obama was not talking about the cap-and-trade legislation that has since passed in the House when he referred to energy costs “necessarily skyrocket[ting].” When Obama made that statement to the San Francisco Chronicle editorial board in January 2008, he was describing a cap-and-trade proposal that would auction off 100 percent of available carbon allowances, and he made no mention at the time of a plan to compensate consumers for potential cost increases. But as PolitiFact.com noted, the Waxman-Markey bill initially would distribute most of the carbon allocations for free and contains substantial provisions to offset costs to consumers, and thus “should reduce costs to consumers.”
2. Palin still falsely claiming stimulus money for energy efficiency she vetoed required tougher building codes
Palin: “One-size-fits-all codes” required to get funds “simply wouldn’t work.” Palin claims that she vetoed a $25 million “earmark for energy conservation” available through the stimulus because Alaska would have needed to adopt “universal energy building codes” to be eligible for the funds. She comments: “Universal building codes — in Alaska! A practical, libertarian haven full of independent Americans who did not desire ‘help’ from government busybodies. A state full of hardy pioneers who did not like taking orders from the feds telling us to change our laws. A state so geographically diverse that one-size-fits-all codes simply wouldn’t work.” [Going Rogue, Pages 361-362]
PolitiFact: Palin’s claim that funds were “tied to universal energy building codes” is “false.” After Palin made similar comments on Fox News’ Hannity, PolitiFact said she was “wrong” because “municipalities are not forced to accept the specific standards and, given that local governments set their own codes, the feds would be satisfied if Alaska merely promoted such building codes [emphasis in original].” PolitiFact also reported that in a letter to Palin’s chief of staff, a Department of Energy official “wrote that the provision ‘provides flexibility with regard to building codes’ and ‘expressly includes standards other than those cited so long as the standards achieve equivalent energy savings.’ “
And here is from MM’s Fact Check on Clean Energy Legislation:
In her upcoming book Going Rogue: An American Life, Sarah Palin made a slew of false charges concerning clean energy legislation. Contrary to Palin’s tired claims, legislation increasing our investment in clean energy technologies would create jobs in every state and help America become more energy independent, all for less than a quarter a day.
Palin Falsely Claimed Clean Energy Legislation Would Kill Jobs
One such cure: Washington’s misguided “Cap and Trade” plan. But let’s call it what it is: a “Cap and Tax” program. The environmentalists’ plan to reduce pollution is to tax businesses according to how much pollution they produce. Industries that emit more pollutants would have to pay more in taxes. Businesses that reduce emissions and thereby avoid all or part of the cap and tax hits could trade or sell their government credits to other companies.
There are big problems with this. We have the highest unemployment rate in twenty-five years, and it’s still rising. American jobs in every industry will be threatened by the rising cost of doing business under cap and trade. The cost of farming, for example, will certainly increase, driving down farm incomes while driving up grocery prices. The costs of manufacturing, warehousing, and transportation will also rise. We’ll all feel the effects of this misguided plan to buy and sell pollution.
The president has already admitted that the policy he seeks will cause our electricity bills to “skyrocket.” Sadly, those hit hardest will be those who are already struggling to make ends meet. So much for the campaign promise not to raise taxes on anyone making less than $250,000 a year. This is a tax on everyone.
Is that what the president meant by “change”?
As more and more Americans understand that cap and trade is an environmentalist Ponzi scheme in which only the government benefits, they will refuse to tolerate it. They will make their voices heard at the ballot box, and any lawmaker who supports destructive legislation like this will soon be turned out of office. That’s what we mean by “change”! [Sarah Palin, Going Rogue: An American Life pgs. 390-391]
Millions Of American Green Jobs
As Media Matters Action Network has noted, a recent study from UC Berkeley found that pollution reduction and energy efficiency measures would create up to 1.9 million jobs, boost GDP by up to $111 billion and increase families’ incomes by nearly $1,200 per year!
Investment In Clean Energy Technology Will Create Over 1.7 Million American Jobs. According to the Center for American Progress: “Investments in a clean-energy economy will generate major employment benefits for the entire U.S. economy. Our research finds that spending $150 billion on clean-energy investments would create roughly 1.7 million jobs. This is even after assuming a reduction in fossil fuel spending equivalent to the increase in clean-energy investments.” [Center for American Progress, The Economic Benefits of Investing in Clean Energy, 6/17/09]
- Every Single State Will Gain Jobs From An Investment In Clean Energy Technologies. According to the Center for American Progress, investments in clean energy projects would create 1.7 million American jobs in every state in the country. [Center for American Progress, The Economic Benefits of Investing in Clean Energy, 6/17/09]
Investment In Clean Energy Technology Creates FOUR TIMES As Many Jobs As An Investment In Oil & Gas. According to the Center for American Progress, “spending $1 million on energy efficiency and renewable energy produces a much larger expansion of employment than spending the same amount on fossil fuels or nuclear energy. Among fossil fuels, job creation in coal is about 32 percent greater than that for oil and natural gas. The employment creation for energy efficiency-retrofitting and mass transit-is 2.5 times to four times larger than that for oil and natural gas. With renewable energy, the job creation ranges between 2.5 times to three times more than that for oil and gas.” [Center for American Progress, The Economic Benefits of Investing in Clean Energy, 6/17/09]
Investment In Renewable Energy Has Already Salvaged Many Manufacturing Facilities Closed During Economic Downturn. Across America, factories and plants abandoned by the old economy have been re-tooled and re-opened to satisfy the growing demand for new energy technologies. For instance, once hopeless manufacturing plants in Pennsylvania, Iowa, and Michigan have re-energized their communities by creating jobs and leading the charge toward a new energy future. [Bloomberg, 4/2/09; Star Tribune, 4/22/09; Grand Rapids Press, 3/6/08]
Clean Energy Jobs Legislation Would Rebuild America For A Postage Stamp A Day
Reuters: “Climate Legislation Moving Through Congress Would Have Only A Modest Impact On Consumers.” According to Reuters: “A new U.S. government study on Tuesday adds to a growing list of experts concluding that climate legislation moving through Congress would have only a modest impact on consumers, adding around $100 to household costs in 2020. Under the climate legislation passed by the House of Representatives in June, electricity, heating oil and other bills for average families will rise $134 in 2020 and $339 in 2030, according to the Energy Information Administration, the country’s top energy forecaster.” [Reuters, 8/5/09]
EIA: Clean Energy Legislation Would Cost Only $0.23 Per Day. According to a House Energy and Commerce Committee factsheet of the Energy Information Administration’s analysis of the American Clean Energy and Security Act: “The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) has completed an analysis of the American Clean Energy and Security Act (H.R. 2454), as passed by the U.S. House of Representatives… The overall impact on the average household, including the benefit of many of the energy efficiency provisions in the legislation, would be 23 cents per day ($83 per year). This is consistent with analyses by the Congressional Budget Office which projects a cost of 48 cents per day ($175 per year) and the Environmental Protection Agency which projects a cost of 22 to 30 cents per day ($80 to $111 per year).” [House Energy and Commerce Committee, EIA’s Economic Analysis Of “The American Clean Energy And Security Act Of 2009,” 8/4/09; emphasis original]
CBO: In 2020, Cap-And-Trade Will Only Cost An Average Of $175 Annually, “About A Postage Stamp A Day.” In its analysis of the American Clean Energy and Security Act, the Congressional Budget Office wrote: “On that basis, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the net annual economy wide cost of the cap-and-trade program in 2020 would be $22 billion-or about $175 per household.” Rep. Edward Markey noted it was “the cost of about a postage stamp a day.” [CBO, 6/19/09; House Committee on Energy & Commerce Release, 6/20/09]
- Cap-And-Trade Would DECREASE Energy Prices For Low-Income Americans. In its analysis of the American Clean Energy and Security Act, the Congressional Budget Office wrote, “households in the lowest income quintile would see an average net benefit of about $40 in 2020.” [CBO, 6/19/09; emphasis original]
Study: Clean Energy Legislation’s Benefits Far Outweigh Costs. According to the Wall Street Journal:
As flawed as it may be, the Waxman-Markey climate bill makes economic sense, offering benefits worth at least twice as much as it costs, if not more.
“From almost any perspective and under almost any assumption, H.R. 2454 is a good investment for the United States to make in our own economic future and in the future of the planet,” the paper concludes.
So, given that the Waxman-Markey bill would curb emissions over the next 40 years, it’s a pretty simple job to tally up the potential benefits: about $1.5 trillion on the middle-of-the-road estimate. The benefits could be as low as $382 billion or as high as $5.2 trillion, depending on how you fiddle with the numbers.
Since Waxman-Markey is meant to cost about $660 billion, that means the bill provides $2.27 in benefits for every dollar spent, the brief concludes. That doesn’t include extra benefits-cleaner air from a cleaned-up power sector, for instance. And it suggests that even tougher greenhouse-gas targets in the Senate version of the bill would make an even more compelling economic argument. [Wall Street Journal, 9/8/09; emphasis added]
By 2025, A Clean Energy Standard Would Save $95 Billion On Energy & Gas Bills. According to the Center for American Progress: “A national renewable electricity standard, a key piece of the clean energy legislation currently before Congress, would save households and businesses in every state billions of dollars in electricity and natural gas bills… The numbers come from the Union of Concerned Scientists, who earlier this year analyzed a renewable electricity standard that would aim to have 25 percent of our electricity come from renewable sources by 2025. They found that this standard would save families and businesses $95 billion in electricity and natural gas bills through 2030 and spur new investments and hundreds of thousands of new clean-energy jobs.” [Center for American Progress, 5/19/09]