GOP: "The Pain in Spain Falls Mainly on US"

| Fri Jun. 26, 2009 12:00 PM PDT

As House GOP opponents of Waxman-Markey continue trash-talking the climate bill, listen carefully for the name Gabriel Calzada, aka "the Spanish professor," as George Will called el gran profesor in a flim-flam of a column yesterday.

 (Calzada should not be confused with The Spanish Prisoner, a venerable con-game that...on second thought, the two Spaniards are pretty much interchangeable.)

You'll have to listen carefully, though, because key Republicans (Marsha Blackburn, TN, for example) are likely to use code, dropping oblique references to "the report from Spain." (See p. 434 in that report.)

As an indignantly redundant Ed Whitefield (R-KY) described Calzada's work, the "empirical study" uses "empirical data" to prove that for every "so-called green job" created in Spain under a cap-and-trade regime identical to Waxman-Markey, 2.2 good jobs were lost.

And that's the good news.

Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) says that the Spanish Prisoner Professor's study found we could lose 20 "regular" jobs (see pp. 442-3) for every green one created by the climate bill.

Scary stuff. In fact, Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) says that after talking with Calzada, the climate bill now scares him more than the 9/11 terror attacks:

"[Calzada] said, America, are you crazy? We have got 17.5 percent unemployment in Spain, and you want to model your aspects [sic] after us? You have got to be kidding me...this debate is so crazy!"

The GOP fearmongers would have me scared, too, if I didn't know how this con game worked.

Let's start with el profesor Calzada himself, who according to a recent piece in the Washington Times, hails from "one of Spain's leading universities."

Is it:

  1. The University of Salamanca, established in 1218;
  2. The University of Navarra, regarded as the best private university in Spain; or,
  3. The University of Rey Juan Carlos, Madrid campus, now celebrating its 10th anniversary.

If you guessed number 3, you're right! (Although, URJC has yet to make it on any top 10, 100, or 250 lists of Spanish universities.)

OK, it may not be the most prestigious University in the world (or Spain or Madrid), but Calzada has a wonderful record that stretches back, um, a decade, when he earned his PhD. in economics from URJC, where he is now an Associate Professor of Economics.

Perhaps Calzada has been widely published? Strong but wrong. His school website lists only two obscure and fringy journals, "The Journal of Libertarian Studies" and something called "Economic Affairs y Procesos de Mercado," for which Calzada may also serve as "assistant manager (subdirector)."

As a final accolade, the site boasts that Calzada "has been economic advisor to several companies in the tourism industry."

What's left out is Calzada's links to several right-wing groups that claim global warming is a hoax. This is the man Republican leaders cite most frequently to support their bogus claim that Waxman-Markey will lead to the destruction of millions of jobs in the United States.

Want to hear more about Calzada's sketchy background -- and why Republicans give the appearance of believing his research? Check back later. For now, I want to catch the rest of the con game as it plays out on Capitol Hill.

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Osha Gray Davidson covers solar energy for The Phoenix Sun, and is a contributing blogger for Mother Jones.

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