Is the Carbon Tax looming?

I can not think of anything that would hit our ailing economy any harder than a carbon tax, and don’t you know that Obama might have such a tax in mind

According to one former member of the White House Climate Change Task Force under President Clinton, President Obama may have plans to implement a carbon tax as soon as the fiscal cliff negotiations are settled. 

Forget the fact that Obama and his minions have repeatedly protested that they won’t press for a carbon tax, Paul Bledsoe writes:

… the economic advantages of a carbon tax are so manifest that it is still possible, once the fiscal cliff negotiations are finished and talks turn to a truly transformative tax reform deal, that leaders in Congress will begin to reconsider it, especially it if is marketed on economic grounds.

Bledsoe continues that even the oil companies support the idea:

In fact, major oil companies, who played a powerful role in killing cap and trade and oppose a gasoline tax, generally favor a carbon tax as part of overall tax reform, as do many others segments of corporate America. A carbon tax is also supported by many economists from both parties. Arthur Laffer, Gregory Mankiw, and Douglas Holtz-Eakin are just a few of the politically prominent Republican economists to speak favorably about a carbon fee.

He states that a tax on carbon is better for overall US economic growth than the mix of higher taxes on work and capital. And Bledsoe avers that the U.S. would be better off in other ways:Such a tax may prove effective in producing a more robust U.S. clean technology sector and reducing greenhouse gas emission (RFF estimates a 10 percent drop in emissions over business as usual by 2020 from a $25 a ton CO2 tax)—but its main selling points are fiscal and budget policy.

Boy, that sounds great huh? But wait for the rest of the story

No gain — There would be virtually no environmental benefits to unilateral greenhouse gas emission reductions by developed countries (whose GHG levels are already flat and slowly declining), while developing countries are pouring out virtually every kind of pollutant with joyous abandon. Some argue that we’ll get “co-benefits” from reducing other pollutants, such as particulates. Well, we already have highly effective (if economically damaging) regulations for conventional pollutants. If they’re not working, they should be fixed. Establishing a new set of controls based on ancillary benefits is not simply wasteful, it’s dishonest.

A carbon tax would also have limited impact: If $4-per-gallon gas won’t reduce consumer demand, how is adding another 10 cents, 50 cents, or dollar going to do so? Low carbon taxes won’t have a significant effect, and high carbon taxes won’t retain political support long enough to provide environmental benefits. That’s not surprising: Houses, cars, and energy-consuming appliances are long-term investments that can’t easily be changed when fuel prices fluctuate. Jobs are also not abandoned lightly, so commuting distances aren’t easily adjusted.

Plenty of pain — Studies continue to show that carbon taxes, through their influence on energy prices, would cause considerable harm.

They’re recessionary: High energy costs reduce economic productivity and are passed along to consumers in everything they buy, from medical treatments to food and clothing. In fact, research at the American Enterprise Institute suggests that half of the total spending consumers do on energy is invisible to them: Its costs are embedded in the things they buy and the services they use. The more things cost, the less people consume, which means less production, less economic growth, and fewer jobs.

They’re regressive:  Most analysis shows that energy taxes are highly regressive. After all, it’s not the rich people who are driving around old cars with poor mileage, living in old houses with poor insulation and inefficient appliances, or having limited career mobility and lengthy commutes from poor communities into wealthier communities where there are jobs.

They’re anti-competitive: Energy taxes also make countries less competitive when it comes to exports, particularly when they’re competing against countries that don’t impose comparable taxes. Carbon tax proponents argue that such things can be handled with border taxes on imported goods from non-carbon-priced regimes, but does anyone really believe that such activities will not set off innumerable trade wars?

They are bait-and-switch: If climate alarmists really thought that the goal was to get the price right, you’d hear them promising to remove all of the other regulations of carbon emissions if they got their carbon tax. They’d talk about repealing vehicle efficiency standards, appliance standards, technology standards, emission standards, unraveling regional trading systems, ending low-carbon energy subsidies, and more. But they don’t. Climate change alarmists, like Al Gore, have never been shy in admitting that they will not be content with a carbon tax and will still want additional layers of carbon suppression through cap-and-trade as well as regulation. This will result in rampant over-pricing of carbon emissions and energy.

Just remember this folks, despite the claims of the Left, taxes, like manure roll downhill! The poorer you are the harder you get hit! And this tax, if it came to be, would raise the prices of just about everything we buy, again, hitting the poorest the hardest.

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