In his Tuesday address to the nation, President Obama used the Gulf of Mexico tragedy to twist the facts, bend the truth, and attempt to capitalize on a national disaster to push job-killing energy tax legislation.

Below are some of the more egregious mistruths ATR found in the President’s remarks:

“We will fight this spill with everything we’ve got…we will go whatever’s necessary to help the Gulf Coast and its people recover from this tragedy.”

FACT: The President has not waived the Jones Act which prevents foreign ships from getting involved because of the federal Merchant Marine Act of 1920, which mandates that all goods shipped between U.S. ports be transported in U.S.-built, U.S.-owned and U.S. -manned ships. President George W. Bush waived the Jones Act to allow assistance from foreign countries during the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita almost immediately. The President is preventing European companies from Belgian, Dutch and Norwegian firms with such advanced environmental technology to further his political gain.

“I have issued a six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling. I know this creates difficulty for the people who work on these rigs.”

FACT: The potential loss of 120,000 jobs and as many as 46,200 supporting jobs becoming idled by the moratorium, during the worst recession our country has experienced, creates a bit more than “difficulty” for the men and women whom these rigs employ.

“Countries like China are investing in clean energy jobs and industries that should be here in America."

FACT: We completely agree. But apparently the President forgot 80 percent of the first $1 billion spent on grants to wind energy companies went to foreign firms and jobs to build turbines overseas. In the second round of government grants, 79 percent of the $2.1 billion in grants went to companies based overseas; of this money, $2.9 billion goes to wind facilities.

“Old factories are reopening to produce wind turbines…small businesses are making solar panels.”

FACT: These are not market-created jobs – these are jobs artificially created by injecting taxpayer dollars into a certain sector stimulating artificial supply with no market demand. In Florida, the DeSoto Solar Center was supposed to be the “largest solar power plant in the United States,” according to President Obama. The Center received $150 million from the Recovery Act. After using 400 construction workers to build the site, the Solar Center now employs only two people. These jobs are not sustainable.

“People are going back to work installing energy-efficient windows…”

FACT: The President is referring to a program in the stimulus called “weatherization” which many argue is the most failed attempt to artificially create jobs in the market where they wouldn’t typically exist. With $5 billion appropriated for this project, less than 10,000 homes have been weatherized nationwide out of 593,000. Only $522 million – less than 10 percent of the money available – has been spent on weatherization. The Inspector General found the jobs impact “has not materialized” and the Government Accountability Office found the application of costly Davis-Bacon wage requirements equates to over $57,000 per home nationwide. 

“Now, there are costs associated with this transition [in reference to the House passed cap-and-trade bill]. And some believe we can’t afford those costs right now. I say we can’t afford not to…”

FACT: Below are just a few of the costs* the President claims American “can’t afford not to” pay if his “vision” for America’s energy future is passed:

  • Gasoline prices will rise 58 percent (or $1.38)
  • Natural gas prices will rise 55 percent
  • Heating oil prices will rise 56 percent
  • Electricity prices will rise 90 percent
  • A family of four can expect its per-year energy costs to rise by $1,241
  • Including taxes, a family of four will pay an additional $4,609 per year
  • Aggregate GDP losses will be $9.4 trillion
  • Aggregate cap-and-trade energy taxes will be $5.7 trillion
  • Job losses will be nearly 2.5 million
  • The national debt will rise an additional $12,803 per person ($51,212 per family of four).
  • Single-year GDP losses reach $400 billion by 2025 and will ultimately exceed $700 billion
  • Net job losses approach 1.9 million in 2012 and could approach 2.5 million by 2035.
  • Manufacturing loses 1.4 million jobs in 2035

Americans for Tax Reform continues to support an “all of the above” energy approach that incorporates a diverse variety of energy sources without mandates, subsidies, or taxes that artificially skew the market in favor of one form of energy over another.

* –   Heritage Foundation, “Heritage Analysis of Waxman-Markey Hits Where Others Miss.” August 6, 2009. http://www.heritage.org/Research/EnergyandEnvironment/wm2580.cfm