Overall, I think that PolitiFact Virginia does a pretty good job in sorting out the lies from the truth among Virginia politicians. Unfortunately, PolitiFact doesn’t always do a good job. For instance, I recently wrote about PolitiFact rating an audacious claim by Bob McDonnell on supposedly “balancing” Virginia’s budget as “barely true.” Wait a second, how can something that’s totally false, by PolitiFact’s own analysis, be “barely true?” Got me.
Today, there’s another one where PolitiFact’s being way too generous: this “barely true” rating of Robert Hurt’s outright lie on “cap and trade” and jobs. First, the outright lie:
In a newsletter to his 5th District constituents, Hurt detailed his efforts to cut the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget. The freshman congressman wrote he is “a co-sponsor of H.R. 153, which would prohibit any funds at the EPA from being used to implement a cap-and-trade system that would harm our agriculture and manufacturing sectors, destroy over 50,000 jobs in Virginia, and amount to a job-crushing national energy tax when we can least afford it.”
If you wade down into the PolitiFact article, you’ll find that, in fact, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office clearly says that although jobs in carbon-intensive fuels like coal would probably decrease, employment would “increase in sectors that require fewer emissions, such as nuclear, solar and wind power,” resulting in “only a small effect on total employment” overall.
In addition, if you wade further into PolitiFact’s analysis of Hurt’s outright lie, you’ll also find that Hurt cited “solely from a short report by the National Association of Manufacturer…an opponent of the legislation.” Yeah, that’s really credible (not)!
Apparently, in PolitiFact Virginia’s world, as long as you can attribute something to a “study,” even a completely biased and phony one by opponents of the very thing they’re supposedly “studying,” PolitiFact Virginia won’t just outright say it’s false. Lame.
In reality, as Harvard economist Jeffrey Frankel points out, “the NAM analysis ignores the jobs that would be created due to a growth in new, non-emission technologies.” The bottom line, as Frankel explains, is that “most economists would agree…the jobs created would approximately equal the jobs lost.”
To summarize: there’s no indication whatsoever, at least from anyone unbiased and knowledgeable, that Hurt’s claim about cap-and-trade “destroy[ing] over 50,000 jobs in Virginia” is in the slightest bit true. So why the extremely lenient, “barely true” rating from PolitiFact Virginia? This one should be “pants on fire” all the way!