ZOMBIE LIES…. Throughout the year, Republican opponents of the climate change bill have insisted that a cap-and-trade policy would place too high a burden on American consumers. Conservative lawmakers insisted, ad nauseum, that the proposal would, on average, cost the typical American home an additional $3,128 a year. The claim was demonstrably ridiculous. But even after it was debunked, GOP leaders kept repeating it anyway.

In September, the right shifted gears slightly, conceding that cap and trade may not cost the typical household $3,128 a year, but it would instead cost $1,761 a year. This, too, proved to be completely wrong.

So, will GOP leaders come up with a new bogus line? No, they’re apparently going back to the first one.

During a November 9, 2009 speech to the Economic Club of Minnesota, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) falsely claimed cap-and-trade legislation in front of Congress would increase costs by over $3,000 per family. […]

[Ryan said,] “Our government’s leaders are determined to make Congress enact a new energy tax in the name of ‘climate change.’ The proposed ‘cap-and-trade’ scheme will tax energy consumption from transportation to food and electricity, costing taxpayers an average $3,000 a year while raising over $840 billion in additional taxes.”

The $3,000 estimate comes by way of a blisteringly stupid bastardization of a study conducted by John Reilly, an M.I.T. scientist who supports the cap-and-trade plan — and who has tried to explain to Republicans why the claim is wrong. And yet, months later, Paul Ryan keeps the zombie lie alive.

And remember, Paul Ryan — who would be the chairman of the House Budget Committee if Republicans re-take the House majority — is supposed to be one of the more serious members of the GOP caucus, despite his apparent confusion about most issues of public policy. (Ryan was the one who proposed a truly insane five-year spending freeze to respond to the global economic crisis and described a massive tax cut for the wealthy, dropping the top rate to 25%, as “progressive.”)

OK, so Republicans are lying about the $3,000 estimate, but what’s the actual cost Americans can expect if a cap-and-trade system becomes law? According to the Congressional Budget Office, the average would be about $175 per household — about the price of a postage stamp per day — which doesn’t include the economic benefits associated with a new energy policy.

In other words, as usual, Paul Ryan doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.