Congressional Budget Office and Politifact debunk Glenn Becks ˜lies: Clean energy economy costs only a postage stamp a day

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"Congressional Budget Office and Politifact debunk Glenn Becks ˜lies: Clean energy economy costs only a postage stamp a day"

This post, written by Brad Johnson and Daniel J. Weiss, a Senior Fellow and the Director of Climate Strategy at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, was first posted here.  See also “EIA analysis of climate bill finds 23 cents a day cost to families, massive retirement of dirty coal plants and 119 GW of new renewables by 2030 “” plus a million barrels a day oil savings.”

FalseAs Politifact wrote Friday, the numbers that conservatives like Beck are using are “false” — “Nowhere in the documents does the Treasury Department cite the $1,761 figure,” explains the fact-checking website.

Last night, Glenn Beck accused President Obama of “outright lies,” engaging in a “coverup” of the cost of his green economic agenda. Beck claimed that “buried” Treasury documents from March show that the cost of a cap-and-trade carbon market to regulate global warming pollution is $1,761 per household per year, despite the president’s assurance to the American public in June that “the price to the average American will be about the same as a postage stamp per day“:

I have a question. Did the President of the United States tell the people in Congress about this? Facts are stubborn. Don’t they suck? It is always the coverup that gets you. March 9. June 25. Mr. President, did you tell Congress about prior estimates? That, you know, that you knew about? Or did you just kind of keep it secret and hide it away from them and those pesky American people? I want to show you something that I said a few weeks ago. I was talking directly to the Democrats. I was telling them wake up. “Democrats in Congress, wake up! You are being played and you’re being bypassed.”

Watch it:

In reality, Beck’s figure of $1,761 per household for the Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES) is not actually based on secret Treasury documents, but on the confabulation of a right-wing blogger at CBSNews.com. Although the Treasury Department has called this story “flat out wrong,” conservatives and the oil industry have heavily promoted this inflated number, much in the same way they wildly overestimated the number of Tea Party activists who attended the Glenn Beck rally in Washington, D.C. last weekend.

On June 19th, the Congressional Budget Office analyzed the ACES Act “” legislation crafted by Congress, not by “czars” in the White House “” and determined “that the net annual economywide cost of the cap-and-trade program in 2020 would be $22 billion””or about $175 per household.” Yesterday, the CBO “” a Congressional research arm independent of the “spooky” executive branch “” released an updated analysis that lowered its previous cost projection to “$160 per household.” In other words:

The average household would spend 44 cents per day – less than a postage stamp.

The revised analysis also determined that the least well off Americans would receive a greater net benefit than its previous projections. “CBO estimates that households in the lowest income quintile in 2020 would see an average gain“¦ [of] about $125” per household. By 2050, this net gain would increase to “$355 measured at 2010 income levels.”

A clean energy economy would enjoy massive growth, according the the CBO:

CBO projects that real (inflation-adjusted) GDP [Gross Domestic Product] will be roughly two and a half times as large in 2050 as it is today.

Investing in efforts to prevent catastrophic climate change, the CBO concluded, would reduce this GDP by as little as one cent per dollar. CBO concluded that the impact of the ACES Act on the overall economy would be “modest.” However, the CBO did not analyze elements of the legislation that would increase our energy independence and household savings further:

The analysis does not include the effects of other aspects of the bill, such as federal efforts to speed the development of new technologies and to increase energy efficiency by specifying standards or subsidizing energy-saving investments.

Glenn Beck is spinning a paranoid fantasy in which Democratic members of Congress are either puppets of “” or conspirators with “” an out-of-control, “racist” and “spooky” President. In the real world, the Congressional Budget Office has repeatedly found that a clean energy future can be ours for less than a (real) postage stamp a day.

Transcript:

BECK: You have what came out today, the outright lies coming out of the White House. I hate to call anybody a liar. You tell me. It’s the cap and trade energy bill. We want to thank our friend Chris Horner at CEI for pointing this out to us. Chris, watchdog, thank you very much. This is a document behind me. This is something that the Department of the Treasury did for the White House and the government, so, you know, they could be informed. I want you to take a look at the date. It’s March 9th, 2009. You remember that date. This is when the White House got this, and then it just lkinda was buried, lost. We had to get it through a Freedom of Information Act.

Look at the document, because in the document, it says “a cap and trade program could generate receipts on the order of $100 to $200 billion annually.” Wow, that’s a lot. In fact, it’s so much it’s the equivalent of hiking personal income taxes by about 15%. Huh. Bigger is always better. That’s $1,761 a year, per household, all of us, every one. Okay. That’s in March. March 9th, 2009, The Department of Treasury issues a report and says, “Here, Mr. President, boy, that looks like it is going to suck. It is going to cost $1,761.” Got it?

Now let’s fast forward to April 20th, 2009. March “” April “” I’m not very good with numbers and calendar stuff, because that’s complicated, because there are 12 whole months out of the year, but I think April comes after the report came out! Here is Henry Waxman, you know, from the Waxman-Markley [sic] energy bill. he said this “”

“The cost of the bill that Mr. Markey and I proposed, this analysis says the bill will cost the average family less than 40 cents per day.”

You know, I’m not very good with numbers but I think $1,761 is more than 40 cents. I’m not a congressman. If you look at the Treasury estimates, Waxman is only underestimating the cost by 1200%. Now, let’s fast forward a little further. Listen to President Obama. Remember, March 9th, 2009, Department of the Treasury. Here’s their confidential analysis. “Dear Mr. President, it’s going to cost a lot of money.”

Let’s listen carefully to what President Obama estimated on June, June 25th.

“In a decade, the price to the average American will be about the same as a postage stamp per day.”

Wow. I think he just did it, too, 1200%, but he was a little more careful, you know. He did actually say, “in a decade from now.” He didn’t mention that today that stamp would cost $1,671! I’m just saying. He’s very accurate, because that’s the new stamp.

I have a question. Did the President of the United States tell the people in Congress about this? Facts are stubborn. Don’t they suck? It is always the coverup that gets you. Hah. March 9th. June 25th. Mr. President, did you tell Congress about the higher estimates? That, you know, that you knew about? Or did you just kind of keep it secret and hide it away from them and those, ha, pesky American people? I want to show you something that I said a few weeks ago. I was talking directly to the Democrats. I was telling them wake up. Democrats in Congress, wake up! You are being played and you’re being bypassed.

Look at all of the czars. I mean, what do you think they’re for? Look, they don’t answer to anybody. Look, the presidents have had czars for a long time. Woodrow Wilson, he was spooky. FDR, spooky with the czars! Some of the people, you know, they had a bunch of drinking buddies, you know like, oh, would you just make this guy go away? Fine. You want to put them in as special advisors and they don’t have any power, they don’t have any muscle. Wasn’t it Carol Browner who said that? Hey, I don’t ever want to see this in writing as she’s talking to the car dealers or the car companies, yeah, that kind of spooky power. If they have real power, it’s a problem. This guy, Woodrow Wilson, he was a progressive just like this president. He talked about, you know, ways to get things done by going around Congress.

Guess what? This is a progressive in the White House. That’s what he’s doing. He’s going right around Congress. When are you going to wake up, Congress?

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12 Responses to Congressional Budget Office and Politifact debunk Glenn Becks ˜lies: Clean energy economy costs only a postage stamp a day

  1. Leland Palmer says:

    This use of paid propaganda by the financial elite class of Americans, against the rest of us, is destroying our civil society, and taking us down the road to the sort of widespread flight from reality that occurred during Nazi Germany.

    This is information warfare, and class warfare, of the rich upon the poor.

    Reason and logic is what we need to deal with the potential for runaway global warming leading to a methane catastrophe, and we are coming to the point where this sort of disinformation and “energizing the base” is intolerable.

    Day by day, this is looking like more and more like the death throes of either Capitalism or the biosphere – or more likely probably both at the same time.

    This sort of paid propaganda is very difficult to deal with, by people who are not professional propagandists.

    All of the past evil societies, that we abhor and revile, such as Nazi Germany, the Stalinist USSR, and China under Mao Zedong, would be dwarfed by the loss of life we will see if continued unchecked burning of fossil fuels ignites a methane catastrophe.

    Plato believed in archetypes, which he called forms. He often speculated in his writings about the “form of the good”. Many people since have also wondered about the “form of the good” and what the definition of “goodness” is.

    I don’t know the answer to what the “form of the good” would be, but I have to believe that the destruction of the huge amount of information, intelligence, and complexity contained in the human race and life on earth in general has to be bad, and could even be called evil.

    I think we need to reinstate the fairness doctrine, on television, at least. Equal time for someone who specialized in debunking this guy’s mixture of lies, exaggeration, deliberate misunderstanding, and half-truths would certainly be a step in the right direction.

    But overall, we have to realize that corporate spinning and disinformation is really out of control, and wonder whether this sort of thing is threatening the future of life on earth. Perhaps we need to nationalize the “news” industry, and the broadcast media, and put control of broadcast information into the hands of a some sort of commission. Or perhaps the fairness doctrine was the right solution, to prevention of paid propaganda, after all.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairness_Doctrine

  2. pete best says:

    He has a massive audience though and hence holds a lot of sway realtive to here. Its not about what is true but about what is perceived to be true unfortunately.

  3. Bob Wallace says:

    Beck, on a very good day, gets 3 million viewers.

    That’s 3 million out of approximately 245 million people over the age of 14 in the US. On his very best days just over 1% of adults watch. Generally less than 1 out of every adult watches Beck on a given day.

    I have a strong feeling that we, those concerned about climate change, are spending too much time on Beck and his ilk. By paying so much attention to these people we are building them into something that they aren’t.

    Beck, Limbaugh, and others speak to a very small portion of the population and their positions are not supported by the large majority of citizens. Global climate change denial has fallen to a very small percentage of the population, as little as 5% on one poll.

    I think we’d be better off if the replies to their crap took the form of short, quick slap-downs which were largely a statement of fact.

    Quit giving Beck et al. so much free publicity and quit portraying them as “leaders” when they are really nothing but minor sideshows.

  4. ferridder says:

    And since the exaggerated cost is not enough, he has to inflate it by 400.000%:
    Waxman: “The cost of the bill that Mr. Markey and I proposed, this analysis says the bill will cost the average family less than 40 cents per day.”

    Obama: “In a decade, the price to the average American will be about the same as a postage stamp per day.”

    Beck: “[Obama] didn’t mention that today that stamp would cost $1,671! I’m just saying. He’s very accurate, because that’s the new stamp.”

  5. Jim Bouldin says:

    “I hate to call anybody a liar.”

    Oh sure you do, Glenn, you liar.

  6. Rick says:

    Beck is a cartoon. I’m sure he believes this stuff 100% but that’s what happens when you are a hard boiled partisan. You are quick to believe the first thing you hear that supports your worldview.

    Granted, Beck is nuts, but 44 cents a day? really – and with that you are going to re engineer the oil economy that we know today? You are going to develop a meaningful amount of csp? you are going to turn the transportation industry around and it’s all going to work for 44 cents.

    you know what – that seems crazier than Beck on his worst day.

  7. Rick says:

    probably I jumped ahead too far – maybe waxman markey won’t really set us on the road to accomplishing those things – but if thats true, then it seems reasonable that what you get for 44 cents will be just about nothing. maybe thats whats going on here – a bunch of watered down jabber that tries not to cost too much and accomplishes nothing. Is that it?

  8. pete best says:

    A agree with you there Bob but its the seems the same thing is going on in the health budget proposals to. It all seems to come down to Fox news and not just Beck but he is part of the Fox agenda. Fox news is run by Murdoch I believe and for some reason telling lies is not a big deal for them.

  9. Bob Wright says:

    That Treasury Department letterhead on his screen looks official. That’s a killer. If its real, there should be some sort of document control. I believe more than 3 million watch his show and its repeats later and on weekends, and those watching are disaffected middle aged and senior white guys who believe the America they grew up in is going away. If nothing else, their concern that the current deficits are on the backs of our grandchildren is real. (Somehow Bush’s deficits are “good” and Obama’s are “evil”.)

    I get hammered almost daily on ACORN, Obama’s “lies”, health care reform problems real and imagined, union giveaways, socialst conspiracies… by talk radio and Fox fans. These guys make a lot of noise, they vote and write their congressmen, and they will follow the right wing radio and Fox lead on climate change legislation.

  10. Mike#22 says:

    I suggest differentiating between the various denier types, which each type having a distinct population, leadership, and motives. Each type’s population might have a normal distribution; one tail is anchored close to scientific reality, the other tail defined by their leadersip.

    With Beck followers, we have “those watching are disaffected middle aged and senior white guys who believe the America they grew up in is going away” Beckians are ready to believe in “paranoid fantasy in which Democratic members of Congress are either puppets of — or conspirators with…”. If they have heard of the IPCC or Mann, it is only in terms of conspiracy. Call them Beckiners, they are anti science. Why is it so hard to find demographics for Rush and Beck watchers?

    I see a different type over at Watt’s or Climate Audit. They sometimes talk like engineers or middle level management. They embrace graphs and statistics (or try)–their reasoning is often faulty, their facts cherry picked, but at least they are trying. Call these Wattsonians. They have definitely discussed the IPCC and Mann.

    Another possible type would include industry flacks. They are less about having a personal following and more about exerting force on public opinion through the media. The comment “This use of paid propaganda by the financial elite class of Americans” applies. Not only have they heard of the IPCC and Mann, they are likely guilty of putting forward mutliple outright lies about these topics.

    Don’t know if this helps.

  11. Mike#22 says:

    Klem, the really fun thing about investing 1% of GDP across many sectors is that about half of the investments make money. (for facts, search this site for McKinsey, and RTRs). Efficiency investments will create cash which pays for the renewable infrastructure–then we get a clean energy economy with a sustainable future.

    Keep in mind the main goal is to phase out about half of our nation’s grid electricity (the coal part) and replace it with effciency and renewables. We also should upgrade our buildings to use less on site fuels, and make sure everyone’s next vehicle purchase reflects the many high costs of petroleum.

    Where is any of this costly?

  12. Peter Sergienko says:

    I’ve never watched Beck and honestly couldn’t sit through this diatribe, either. However, he doesn’t believe in science’s ability to predict future climate impacts, even though much of it comes down to well-understood physics and chemistry. Why does he believe in economists’ ability to predict future consumer costs of various energy and environmental policies to exact dollar figures?

    I do think this propaganda is dangerous, though, whatever Beck’s level of viewership, because it preys on the fearful and ignorant to serve the short-term needs of the ownership class at the expense of everyone else on the planet. I don’t think it will affect his existing viewership or status, but Beck needs to be called out as a propagandist because that’s what he is. When he misrepresents facts or makes thing up, it’s important to debunk them. So, even though I need another shower this morning, I’m thankful Joe posted this and is responding to Beck in this manner.