Last week, it was reported that a carbon tax was back on the table. I expected it to be from Democrats, as part of a “proposal” that would never pass muster under a Trump administration that all but squashed the idea during his campaign. However, I was in for a shock, when I saw who was actually proposing it – a group of allegedly anti-tax (neocon) Republicans:
A group of prominent Republicans and business leaders backing a tax on carbon dioxide were taking their case Wednesday to top White House aides, including chief economic adviser Gary Cohn.
The group, including former Treasury Secretaries Hank Paulson and James Baker, is pressing President Donald Trump to tax carbon dioxide in exchange for abolishing a slew of environmental regulations. They unveiled their plan with a press conference in Washington and an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal.
“We know we have an uphill slog to get Republicans interested in this,” Baker said before heading to the White House. But “a conservative, free-market approach is a very Republican way of approaching the problem.”
I actually had to do a double take when I read that last sentence. What is exactly conservative and/or free-market about a regressive, useless tax that hurts the working class (whom elected Trump) the most?
But it got worse, and fast:
Baker himself conceded he remains “somewhat of a skeptic about the extent to which man is responsible for climate change” but the “risks are too great to ignore.”
James Baker isn’t even certain that carbon is the end-all that the climate change crowd says it is… but he’s more than OK with using dubious science from scientists known to lie, all to force the taxpayer to pay to “solve” the carbon “problem.” Take note, Baker takes the position that climate change will doom us all, but provides absolutely nothing to support his claim. Perhaps he’s so skeptical, he’s also worried that others will join in his skepticism, and not support the tax?
While Hank Paulson seems to be less skeptical than Baker is, his rationale for a carbon tax is remarkably even worse than Baker’s:
“Climate change poses an unacceptable risk to our climate and to our economy,” Paulson said in a statement. “Putting a price on carbon is by far the most efficient and effective way to restrict emissions.”
Yes, Hank Paulson stated that instead of promoting nuclear power, or even banning certain high per-capita carbon activities, he believes the most efficient and effective way to reduce carbon emissions is to make the taxpayer pay more for them, from everything to your power bill to the price you pay to fill up your car with a tank of gas. And that doesn’t even factor in increased aviation costs, or the higher costs consumers will pay for goods, as manufacturers will be forced to pay more for their inputs, and required to pass their costs along to consumers. Bear in mind… the less income/capital you have, the more a “carbon tax” hurts your bottom line.
George Shultz was co-author of a plan along with Baker and Paulson that was recently promoted in the NY Times. Notice how the whole purpose of a “carbon tax” was to abolish a “slew” environmental regulations? Take a closer look at the proposed plan:
First, the federal government would impose a gradually increasing tax on carbon dioxide emissions. It might begin at $40 per ton and increase steadily. This tax would send a powerful signal to businesses and consumers to reduce their carbon footprints.
Second, the proceeds would be returned to the American people on an equal basis via quarterly dividend checks. With a carbon tax of $40 per ton, a family of four would receive about $2,000 in the first year. As the tax rate rose over time to further reduce emissions, so would the dividend payments.
Third, American companies exporting to countries without comparable carbon pricing would receive rebates on the carbon taxes they’ve paid on those products, while imports from such countries would face fees on the carbon content of their products. This would protect American competitiveness and punish free-riding by other nations, encouraging them to adopt their own carbon pricing.
Finally, regulations made unnecessary by the carbon tax would be eliminated, including an outright repeal of the Clean Power Plan.
The whole reason to “compromise” would be to eliminate regulations. But in their editorial for the NY Times, the group seemed more concerned with extracting funds out of the taxpayer than they did in even mentioning one regulation that would be eliminated.
Bear in mind, nowhere in this plan is there any global mandate, which is absolutely mandatory to “solve the carbon problem” and lower carbon emissions globally. Think about it – if the US is the only country that taxes carbon, and China/India/etc keep polluting like crazy, what is the point? The only point would be to… screw the taxpayer. But isn’t that the point of all carbon taxes anyway?
Carbon tax proposals are the type of lunacy we’ve come to expect of the liberal left, not the party that was just elected with a reduction in taxes as part of the platform. The only Republicans that would be a part of this would be… the same group of neocons (Baker, Shultz and Paulson) that were architects of the Bush-era government deficits.
And the only reason to advocate a carbon tax would be a renewed push for government control. Only now, these neocons want you to pay for a problem that they are not even certain is a problem at all, and they are prepared to hijack Trump’s platform to push for it.
These sorts of proposals and the individuals proposing them are precisely the “swamp” Trump has pledged to drain. This is not the sort of thing that should come out of the party that has signed Grover Norquist’s pledge to reform and reduce taxes. We can only hope Trump doesn’t listen to the neocon trio of Baker, Shultz and Paulson, and shelves carbon taxes for the remainder of his presidency.
When it comes to carbon taxes, if the liberal left wants to propose this, let them propose it; Trump got elected precisely because he plans on shooting down the left’s ridiculous taxation proposals. The only thing more ridiculous than these proposals is where they are coming from; not from Al Gore and the left, but from the neocon right.
Note: For reference, I’ve included my previous “plan” to attack emissions below. Please also take note the final paragraph:
Emissions from every segment of this chart would need to be reduced via mandate. Here is a hypothetical proposal that might meaningfully reduce CO2 emissions on a global scale:
- Force the closure of all coal power plants globally, and put a maximum CO2 output target on any source of power generation
- Ban coal and wood burning, as well as any other combustible within a similar CO2 emission profile
- Replace lost power generation with nuclear plants and subsidize their construction
- Ban any source of heat generation that does not meet strict CO2 emissions criteria
- Ban deforestation and the destruction of any tree that is not dead and no longer undergoing photosynthesis
- Provide subsidies to anyone who maintains any plant undergoing photosynthesis
- Mandate handling manure as a solid and ban liquid manure storage
- Ban all civilian and non-military government private aviation, and set low CO2 emission targets per passenger
- Reduce vehicular and aviation military exercises to an absolute minimum
- Cease production of any vehicle that doesn’t meet appropriate fuel efficiency target, and seize, destroy or recycle low efficiency vehicles, especially luxury and exotic cars
- Mandate strict CO2 emission limits for all industrial processes
- Mandate energy efficient building codes, light fixtures, temperature controls
For the record, I’m not in favor of or an advocate of mandating any of the measures listed above, I am merely trying to illustrate what would be necessary to actually reduce global CO2 output. I also do not believe in the hoax perpetuated by the mainstream media that CO2 emissions are detrimental to the environment and a survival threat to mankind.