Stephanopoulos Butchers CBO Climate Report
This Sunday on ABC’s This Week, host George Stephanopoulos twice misrepresented a recent Congressional Budget Office report on the costs of the recently passed Waxman-Markey climate cap and trade legislation. First he interrupted President Barack Obama strategist David Axelrod asserting that the EPA pegged the cost of Waxman-Markey at “about $150 a year.” Later he through the same talking point at Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) asking:
And [Axelrod] did point to these Congressional Budget Office numbers which show it’s only about a $150 in 2020 for an average family.
First lets focus on the two facts Stephanopoulos got blatantly wrong: 1) the CBO report used a $175 figure (not $150); 2) the report looked at the economic costs of just one year (2020) not the costs “per year” as Stephanopoulos claimed. This is important because the CBO report even admits it chose the 2020 year because it expected the costs to be lower after allowing for 8 years of economic transition.
Even allowing for these two blatant factual errors, Stephanopoulos completely failed to ask any critical questions of the reports many short comings, including:
1) GDP costs ignored: Footnote four on page three of the CBO report reads: “The resource cost does not indicate the potential decrease in gross domestic product (GDP) that could result from the cap.” That’s a pretty big chunk of change to ignore. The Heritage Foundation has estimated that the GDP hit in 2020 will be $161 billion (2009 dollars). For a family of four, that is $1,870 that the CBO chose to ignore.
2) The CBO’s own numbers don’t add up: The CBO’s earlier June 19 revenue estimate projected that the allowance price–the price to emit carbon dioxide–will be $28 per ton of CO2 in 2020. Since there are 5.056 billion tons of CO2 equivalent in the cap that year, this projection implies a $141 billion gross cost; however, CBO lists the cost as $91.4 billion. That is $50 billion in costs the CBO just magically made disappear!!!!