James Baker, chief of staff to Ronald Reagan and secretary of state under George H.W. Bush, and George Schultz, secretary of state under Reagan, have endorsed a “carbon” tax plan that is just plain wrong from the git-go.
Stephen Moore explains why in “The Carbon-Tax Scam,” but here’s the gist:
- Even if it succeeded in ending all United States carbon-dioxide emissions (and it’s only designed to reduce, not end, them), it would fail to accomplish the end used as its justification: sparing the world from dangerous manmade global warming. Why? Two reasons: (1) Human contribution to global warming is small and not dangerous but beneficial, so you wouldn’t want to reduce it anyway. (2) Total elimination of all US CO2 emissions would have an undetectably small impact on global average temperature (GAT) by the end of this century. Indeed, perfect implementation of all nations’ intended contributions to the Paris climate treaty would reduce GAT in 2100 by only about 0.36 degree Fahrenheit—at a cost of between $1 and $2 trillion per year from 2030 onward (i.e., $70 to $140 trillion total).
- The “carbon” tax would raise the cost of production for everything produced here, making all American goods more expensive, thus harming all their consumers, domestic and foreign, and thus reducing American employment as those consumers switched to products from other countries. The poor would be hurt the worst.
- To mitigate that harm to American workers and consumers, the “carbon” tax scam includes a provision for the IRS to send every American a check every quarter, supposedly making the plan “revenue neutral.” (If you believe that, I have a bridge in Florida ….) But what this really means is that the “carbon” tax scam is really the biggest income-redistribution plan ever. As Moore so rightly puts it:
So let’s get this straight: We are going to tax the producers of the economy and then give the money to people who don’t produce, and somehow this isn’t going to negatively affect the economy. If that makes sense, then why not adopt a 100 percent tax on production and then redistribute the money to everyone?
Oh, by the way: “Why,” you might ask me, “do you put those scare quotes around ‘carbon’ when you refer to the ‘carbon’ tax?” Glad you asked. Because it’s not a tax on carbon, it’s a tax on carbon dioxide. Carbon’s an element, and in its solid form as black dust it’s a pollutant capable of causing respiratory disease. Carbon dioxide is a compound (one atom of carbon, two atoms of oxygen), and it’s an odorless, colorless gas, non-toxic at concentrations 20 times that in today’s atmosphere and 10 times what could be reached by burning all the recoverable fossil fuels in the earth. But it’s essential to plant growth. So calling a tax on carbon dioxide a “carbon” tax is deceptive—intentionally deceptive—as well as just plain bad chemistry.
Featured image “Say No to Carbon Tax Sign” courtesy of pblakez, Flickr creative commons.