The $3100 Lie That Won't Die


“Anyone who thinks you can pay $3,100 to the federal government and thinks you can get that money back completely in services — like I said — he may go to M-I-T but he is an N-U-T.”

— Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) referring to Dr. John Reilly, the MIT economist who coauthored the 2007 “Assessment of U.S. Cap-and-Trade Proposals [pdf].”


Thanks to Think Progress’s The Wonk Room for reporting on Rep. Gohmert’s childish antics. Are we really resorting to name-calling when debating something as serious as global warming?

Beyond the question of maturity, Rep. Gohmert is repeating a lie that won’t die. As we point out in this Climate 411 post, the $3100 figure has been thoroughly debunked. There are lies, damn lies and then there’s this $3100 claim.

Rep. Gohmert and anyone else who continues to use this $3100 figure should know the facts.

Here’s what Dr. John Reilly, the author of the MIT study, told Politifact about the NRCC’s $3100 claim: “It’s just wrong. It’s wrong in so many ways it’s hard to begin.”

And, in two recent letters to House Republican Leader John Boehner, Dr. Reilly asked that the NRCC stop using the “misleading” figure, noting that MIT’s estimates are less than one thirtieth of what the NRCC is claiming.

“A correct estimate of that cost … for the average household just in 2015 is about $80 per family, or $65 if more appropriately stated in present value terms discounted at an annual 4% rate,” Dr. Reilly wrote.

Go to Climate 411 for a more detailed response.

Global warming is a serious issue and it should be debated in a serious way. Rep. Gohmert should know better than to resort to lies and name-calling.

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