Thursday, December 4, 2008

Carbon tax hindsight

Ronald Bailey:
After advocating a carbon tax as the least bad alternative, I have been persuaded that it's politically impossible. People are not going to vote for a politician who promises to significantly boost what they pay at the pump and pay for power.
I almost agree with him, but not quite. The uproar over high energy prices in the past year or so has convinced me that, under most circumstances, a carbon tax is politically impossible. However, there are times when this would be different. Imagine if George W. Bush, right after 9/11, had said that, as a matter of national security as well as environmental protection, we'll be phasing in a carbon tax and an oil import fee, while reducing various income and payroll taxes. I think that would have passed, and been a great accomplishment. Too late now.