Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Tax Some Repubicans Like

The Carbon Tax, which by the by is actually in effect in Alberta.

Which brings us to Alberta's small carbon tax. It has one – $15 a tonne for companies that exceed certain emission limits, with the money going into a technology fund. The trouble is that $15 a tonne is too low today to generate a lot of money, and will certainly be far too low tomorrow to generate the income the government will need to finance this expensive policy option.
However in Alberta the beneficiaries of this tax are the taxpayers; big oil.

And so with this model it should be no surprise that another capitalist who supports taxes is the CEO of Exxon;
in this case the much hated Carbon Tax that Republicans and Harpocrites claim will kill jobs.

But a carbon tax appears to have little support in Ottawa. Both Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion have rejected the idea in the past, saying it will damage the economy.

Then there are Republicans who support carbon taxes because it undermines cap and trade, which by its sheer complications cannot actually function in the real market place.

Ironically its not Republicans but environmentalists and social justice advocates in California opposing it in favour of a carbon tax

February 16, 2011

But the environmental justice groups that brought the lawsuit against the Air Resources Board oppose the cap and trade program. These groups include the Communities for a Better Environment and the Center for Race, Poverty and the Environment.

“Cap and trade will create toxic hotspots in low-income communities of color,” said Maya Golden-Krasner, a staff attorney for Communities for a Better Environment.

Those who support cap and trade say the revenue gained from the trading of emission rights will be used to forge programs for these poor populations, Pincetl said.

This argument does not satisfy the environmental justice community, though.

“This heavy reliance on cap and trade won’t get us where we need to be,” Golden-Krasner said.

The coalition seeks methods other than cap and trade to reduce carbon emissions.

“We are supportive of AB 32,” Golden-Krasner said. “We just want to see the Air Resources Board actually examine alternatives to cap and trade.”

These alternatives include a direct tax to carbon emissions.

It is also the reason Alberta was the first province to impose a carbon tax, to avoid cap and trade.

Why GOP Rep. Bob Inglis is looking for a new job.

Tue Aug. 3, 2010 2:00 AM PDT

Inglis voted against the cap-and-trade climate legislation, believing it would create a new tax, lead to a "hopelessly complicated" trading scheme for carbon, and harm American manufacturing by handing China and India a competitive edge on energy costs. Instead, he proposed a revenue-neutral tax swap: Payroll taxes would be reduced, and the amount of that reduction would be applied as a tax on carbon dioxide emissions—mainly hitting coal plants and natural gas facilities. (This tax would be removed from exported goods and imposed on imported products—thus neutralizing any competitive advantage for China, India, and other manufacturing nations.)

Here was a conservative market-based plan. Did it receive any interest from House GOP leaders? Inglis shakes his head: "It's the t-word." Tax. He adds, "It's so contrary to the rhetoric we've got out there, to what Beck, Limbaugh, and others are saying."

January 2009

The world's biggest oil company, Exxon Mobil, has softened its hardline position on climate change by throwing its weight behind a tax on carbon emissions.

In a significant shift in stance, Exxon's chief executive, Rex Tillerson, told an audience in Washington that he considered a tax to be a fairer route to curbing emissions than a cap-and-trade system of pollution allocations.

"As a businessman it is hard to speak favourably about any new tax," said Tillerson. "But a carbon tax strikes me as a more direct, a more transparent and a more effective approach."

support for carbon taxes has been taken up by a growing cadre on the far right, including Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson, economist Arthur Laffer, Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), and yes, even climate wingnut Sen. James Inhofe (R-Gamma Quadrant). Hell, throw in a refunded gas tax and you get America's Worst Columnist© Charles Krauthammer too. Are we to believe that these folks understand the threat of climate chaos, want to reduce climate emissions the amount science indicates is prudent, and sincerely believe that a carbon tax is the best way to accomplish that goal?

Is a carbon tax in America's future?

Two days after the election, a movement is afoot to achieve an audacious Democratic goal. The weird part is that the people behind it are Republicans.

In a Nov. 9 Wall Street Journal op-ed, former Bush speechwriter David Frum suggested that President Bush propose a carbon tax. N. Gregory Mankiw, former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers in the Bush White House, suggested the same thing in an Oct. 20 op-ed in the Journal, and former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan talked it up in late September. Harvard's Martin Feldstein and Weekly Standard contributing editor Irwin Stelzer like the idea, too. Slate "Moneybox" columnist Dan Gross took note of this unexpected GOP trend in an Oct. 8 New York Times column ("Raise the Gasoline Tax? Funny, It Doesn't Sound Republican").

On a purely theoretical level, it's not at all inconsistent for a Republican to advocate a carbon tax. Conservatives prefer taxing transactions to taxing income because it's a way to avoid progressivity; rich and poor get taxed at the same rate. (In his op-ed, Frum makes no bones about wanting to use the carbon tax to "split the opposition" and to lower taxes on "work, savings and investment.")

The reason that that conservatives can support a carbon tax is because it is a Pigovian Tax, which is a classical liberal economic argument.

Pigou Club is described by its founder as “an elite group of economists and pundits with the good sense to have publicly advocated higher Pigovian taxes, such as gasoline taxes or carbon taxes.”

Pigou Club was founded by Dr. Gregory Mankiw by stating his legendary manifesto in the Wall Street Journal. As time passed more and more economists were added to the list of people supporting the Pigou Club. They include people from all sides of political spectrum.

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