‘A carbon tax should be atop the list’

by Aaron Wherry

The Washington Post advises American lawmakers to consider a carbon tax.

Now if there were just some policy that would reduce carbon emissions and raise federal ­revenue . . . . A tax on carbon, of course, is that policy, and lawmakers and the president should be discussing it. The idea is to put a simple price on emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases — some dollar amount per ton of CO² — that steadily increases at a pre-set rate.

This is the best plan lawmakers can take off the shelf to fight global warming. As an added benefit, it would reduce dependence on imported oil. If businesses and consumers had to pay something for the otherwise invisible costs of their actions — in this case, pollution — they would be more careful. Their combined preferences, not those of Congress or bureaucrats, would determine how to wring carbon out of the economy.

In December 2008, Stephen Harper acknowledged that he couldn’t rule out implementing a carbon tax here if the United States decided to do so.




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‘A carbon tax should be atop the list’

  1. Time’s up, Steve.

  2. The 1% are for a carbon tax because it is regressive, and the 99% would pay most of it, and the poorest would pay the a carbon tax at the highest marginal rate of their income.

    Like I said. No difference between Romney and Obama. Democrats and Republicans. They are both bought and paid for by the plutocrats and banksters.

    • Yeah, it’s all a conspiracy against the little folk.

      [rolls eyes]

    • One can resolve that by returning carbon tax revenues in the form of income tax reductions. To the extent that a carbon tax is regressive, one can target those reductions to lower tax brackets.

      Problem solved. And to the extent that low income taxes/high consumption taxes is a better stimulant for investment/growth than high income taxes/low consumption taxes, it would also be better for the economy long term.

      • Most poor Americans already don’t pay income tax. They do however pay the regressively designed Social Security/FICA tax.

        But even assuming something is done about the poor, with a carbon tax, you are raising taxes on the middle class and decreasing them on the 1%.

        (Note: Carbon taxes would have significant impacts on the cost of food, which would all benefit the 1% at the expense of everyone else, especially the poor.)

        Ain’t plutocracy great!

        They’ve got you guys suckered.

        Carbon taxes and or cap’n-trade is the 1% or plutocracy seeking rents on the productive part of the economy.

        They can no longer raise taxes on the poor directly, because they have impoverished them so badly already, so they have to find back door ways to increase taxes on them, and make the 99% pay, so the 1% don’t have to.

        • “Carbon taxes would have significant impacts on the cost of food, which would all benefit the 1% at the expense of everyone else, especially the poor.”

          One can introduce a carbon tax rebate targeted at low-income families, just the same as we have a GST/HST credit for low-income families. The exact rates can be worked out such that the regressive nature of the tax is minimized.

          I wouldn’t expect you to believe me, though – you appear to be as obtuse on this matter as you were on the census the other week.

          • But then the middle class still pays, and the 1% walks away with lower taxes.

            Cap-n-trade and /or a carbon tax is a plutocratic scam on middle class suckers. Yeah. The poor will be taken care of, but the plutocrats have made sure there are many more poor, and fewer people in the middle class. So how can the plutocrats and 1% force the middle class to pay more and they continue to pay less…yes…you got it…a carbon tax and/or cap-n-trade.

          • You’ll have to provide a citation for that tax reduction to the 1% that’s coupled to a carbon tax.

        • I thought it was a socialist scheme to redistribute wealth to all the moochers?

        • How about a carbon tax + citizens dividend (carbon tax revenue/# adult taxpayers)?

    • That statement only makes sense if you do not believe in the “invisible hand” of the market. Any carbon tax will be a corporate tax, not a tax on individuals. Some companies will pass the entire cost to their customers others will change their practices and pass only a portion on.

      In any case, (and in all industries) the high carbon approach is the low efficiency approach. So any jurisdiction that adopts a carbon tax is pushing its home market towards the future.

      Remember when Detroit laughed at those silly, small, fuel efficient Japanese cars… I do.

      • Wouldn’t a carbon tax be applied to natural gas for home heating, and oil, again for home heating, and gasoline and diesel at the pumps? If so, at least some of the carbon taxes would be paid directly by individuals.

        Perhaps I don’t understand how carbon taxes would actually be applied? :-)

      • The burden of a carbon tax is felt by people (consumers, workers and investors). Corporations are just legal fictions.

    • Your thoughts about the sector by sector regulatory approach that the Canadian governemnt is pursuing? Are there costs? Will some (or all) of those costs bea passed along to consumers? Would you estimate (or know) how the 1% and the 99% will be affected?

      • Global natural gas prices are tied to global oil prices. High global oil prices shift the economic advantage to US thermal coal over natural gas diverse sources around the world.

        Opposition to the oilsands thus favors the increased global use of thermal coal over natural gas.

        Europe, even in an economic downturn, is now burning record amounts of Obama’s blue state thermal coal. Ditto for Asia.

        The unintended consequences of oilsands opposition. Oilsands development and transport to export markets encourages global natural gas usage over thermal coal, which will less global carbon output, and other types of pollution output.

        • And what about the sector by sector regulatory approach – the approach that is largely responsible for getting Canada 50% of the way to our 2020 targets – are there costs associated with it?

    • If you’re asserting that a large house and vehicle take less energy than smaller ones do, you’re not only wrong, you’re an idiot. Otherwise you’re just wrong.

      Sure, the 99% are going to pay the bulk.. that’s because they make up 99% of the population. I really wouldn’t expect, or even want, 1% of the population to be paying 50% or more of the carbon tax. And if you do.. again, you’re an idiot. To show that it’s actually regressive, you’d have to show that the 1% pay less than 1% of the total take of the tax.. and that would have to include any reduction in profits they take because of their various investments having to pay the tax.

      Carbon taxes having an effect on food doesn’t *benefit* the 1% any more than it benefits anybody else.. unless you’re asserting that the rich don’t eat.. which again.. makes you an idiot.

      So right now we’re running at 3:1 odds that you’re not only wrong, but you’re an idiot as well. And that’s without considering any sort of compensating credit like the GST credit that could handle this “problem”, if it existed, easily.

      Here’s a hint: Just because something isn’t progressive, doesn’t mean it’s regressive.

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