The reactions continue to roll in over the Bachmann sponsored lecture series held yesterday on the campus of St. Cloud State University. They range from the rational analysis at SCSU Scholars and Minnesota Independent to the mid level sanity of Gary Gross at Let Freedom Ring to even the apoplectic lunacy of Andy Aplikowski at Residual Forces.

As I said, and as King Banaian noted, the pace at which Mr. Horner spoke made it difficult for anyone not equipped with handy dandy powerpoint notes to follow along. While it certainly doesn't make him wrong about anything, it seems to me that anyone trying desperately to have their viewpoint understood would have taken their time. Unfortunately, I do not believe that this was Mr. Horner's purpose. His purpose was to speak to his believers and overwhelm the non-believers so that they would not have adequate chance to address any one specific piece of data. Although, I will give him that it made for fantastic political theatre!

For her part, Michele Bachmann provided only the introductory remarks to an event touted as a Bachmann Forum. Those remarks, read from a piece of paper in front of her sounded remarkably similar to the already discredited Star Tribune Commentary which had been published the day before.

Here is the video (I apologize for the shakiness) of her SCSU introduction:

It is interesting that Bachmann begins her remarks by recognizing that there are two sides to this issue and thanks everyone for attending. Unfortunately, those empty thanks are followed up by a one sided presentation with no information presented from those that believe cap and trade to be effective and who believe that climate change is a real issue that needs to be addressed. For someone who wants us to be the "most educated people in America", she certainly did not demonstrate it with this presentation.

The rest of her opening statement is filled with slanted information and veiled attacks on the Democratic Party.

She begins her attacks with news that Senator Harry Reid has signaled that he may use a process known as Reconciliation to pass certain pieces of legislation. What she conveniently leaves out of this description of an "obscure parliamentary maneuver" is that Republicans used this maneuver several times during their tenure in power.

From Media Matters:

As Media Matters for America has noted, Republicans used the reconciliation process to pass legislation including the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001, the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003, and the Tax Increase Prevention and Reconciliation Act of 2005. In a March 28 article, The New York Times reported: "[T]here are a couple of problems for Republicans as they push back furiously against the idea, chief of which is the fact that they used the process themselves on several occasions, notably when enacting more than $1 trillion in tax cuts in 2001."

As Bachmann continues, she distances herself from the already discredited figure of a $3,128 cost to an uncited cost of "more than $2500". Where she gets this new, lower cost, is not entirely clear.

Bachmann later touts a study done in Spain which appeared to indicate that any increase in "green jobs" is offset by a greater loss in other jobs. After some digging, I found an alternate analysis of this particular study which appears to put into question the validity of these claims.

From Get Energy Smart NOW:

The latest piece of right-wing scaremongering is now making the rounds. Western Business Roundtable, a right-wing organization that I have never heard of before. Ah, the sme , is touting a study in Spain which they say shows that every green job results in two jobs being destroyed. The study was prepared under the direction of Dr. Gabriel Calzada, an economics professor at Juan Carlos University in Madrid.

The first thing that I notice is that the study fails to establish cause and effect. In other words, there may have been 2.2 jobs lost for every green job created, but that says nothing about whether there is a causal relationship between the two variables. Just because Event A and Event B happened does not mean that Event A caused Event B. It could well be given the current economic climate that the creation of green jobs had nothing to do with the loss of 2.2 jobs because of the worldwide economic crisis. In other words, these jobs might have been lost no matter what the Spanish government did. And it could be that the creation of these jobs, given the worldwide economic recession, prevented a bad situation from getting worse.

The one possible cause that the study suggests is the cause of these lost jobs is the fact that the money could have possibly gone towards funding the creation of actual businesses through, say, tax cuts. But the problem here is that this is not a causal relationship, but an appeal to guilt. Of course there are always as many different alternatives as there are people interested in these projects. But a proper way to compare would be to study the effects of tax cuts, say, as opposed to the effects of creating green jobs. And a proper way might to be to consider the long-term implications of not creating these jobs — the possible creation of a massive humanitarian crisis that could wipe out the Straights of Gibraltar, among other low-lying Spanish areas and create more unemployment than the Western Business Roundtable’s worst nightmares for green jobs.

Bachmann goes on to ask rhetorically, "Where are the potential benefits?", although I dare to bet that she would subsequently ignore the potential benefits if they were given to her. For those who would like to read about the potential benefits, you can read this post from Environmental Economics:

The economic case for cap-and-trade (or a carbon tax) is clear. Climate change and the associated negative impacts of emissions are known in economics as negative externalities. Much theoretical and empirical research supports an environmental regulation that taxes the polluting activity (or, equivalently, capping the pollution with permits and allowing polluters to trade the permits). The additional production cost of taxes or permits causes profits to be lower in the polluting industries, the supply of the polluting product falls and price of the polluting good rises. As the price of polluting goods rise consumers use less of the polluting good. As the price of nonrenewable energy rises and the price of renewable energy falls (with technological improvement) we reach the Hotelling "switch point" and the demand for renewable energy rises. The price of nonrenewable energy is, more or less, capped at the price of the renewable subsitute and the world is a greener place.

At the end of her remarks, Bachmann touts the authority of Mr. Horner on this particular issue. I recognize that NOT being a scientist does not necessarily discredit your viewpoints about a scientific issue. However, it certainly gives him less credibility than if Bachmann had allowed an actual scientist or even an economist to address this issue.

You can find more information about Horner at Media Matters as well as at a site (Desmogblog) I rely on extensively whenever I am looking for climate change related information.

I will continue to sift through the video from the Bachmann sponsored lecture series so stay tuned for more video and more analysis...

Cross Posted on Dump Bachmann