Washington Post: Free Market Republicans Should Totally Want A Carbon Tax Or Something

There are obviously lots and lots of thinly veiled opinion pieces and stated opinion pieces running through the news with last Friday’s release of a ‘climate change’ study. It’s a yearly thing, as at least one Big Study is released shortly before the late November/early December UN IPCC Conference On the Parties meeting. The NY Times has multiple pieces, including Paul Krugman is yammering about the “depravity of climate change denial.” Hmm. In my opinion, if you haven’t given up your own use of fossil fuels but say you believe in anthropogenic climate change, then you’re actually a denier

The Washington Post has multiple pieces, including the Editorial Board of a paper which uses vast amounts of fossil fuels and has a big carbon footprint for their news operations, stating that future Americans won’t forget Trump and the GOP’s climate negligence. And then we come to Catherine Rampell pimping one of my favorites, the notion that carbon taxes are totes free market

Republicans say they want free-market innovation. Then they should want a carbon tax.

(lots of paragraphs of doom and gloom and what she calls “Republican excuse making”)

On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) also acknowledged that “the burning of fossil fuels” isn’t the “healthiest for Planet Earth.” Asked if he supported a carbon tax, though, he said no. The reason: “If we’re going to move away from fossil fuels, it’s got to be done through innovation. And innovation can be choked out through excessive government regulation.”

Here’s the thing. Taxing carbon is exactly how you get faster innovation. That’s kinda the point.

carbon tax prices in, upfront, the hidden costs of burning fossil fuels, including pollution and the warming of the planet. In the near-term, a carbon tax disincentivizes the purchase of carbon-intensive products, of course. But over the longer-term, it also increases demand for — and thereby incentivizes the development of — cleaner, less-carbon-intensive technologies. If you want to accelerate innovation in batteries, electric cars, solar, wind, etc., a carbon tax is a no-brainer.

See? A carbon tax is totally free market! And it has nothing to do with Government trying to harm one sector while helping another!

Additionally, if Republicans truly want to walk the walk on reducing “excessive government regulation,” there’s plenty for them to do. There are tons of regulations and subsidies that  encourage use of fossil fuels — and slow down innovation in greener technologies.

There are, for instance, the enormous tax breaks and other subsidies for oil and coal. Or Trump’s proposed bailouts for failing coal plants. Or his tariffs on solar panels.

Policymakers could also take action to crush the NIMBYism that impedes offshore wind farms. Or they could discourage or even preempt lots of other stupid state and local rules and regulations. These include building codes that inhibit solar, or the unstandardized, jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction permitting process that makes installation more difficult.

All of which is to say that prioritizing innovation and the cutting of red tape are not actually an excuse for inaction on climate change. In fact, they’re key to the solution.

On one hand, she has a point: there are lots and lots of government rules and regulations at the federal, state, and local level that make things difficult for commerce. On the other, most of those tax breaks are the same ones other companies use. They aren’t specific for oil and coal. The tariffs are because China has been dumping cheap panels in the U.S. in order to undercut U.S. solar panel makers. Most of the wind farm NIMBYism comes from coastal elites who say they believe in man-caused climate change and vote Democrat.

Slapping massive federal regulations on states and municipalities doesn’t quite sound free market, does it? Nor does a government run carbon tax.

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10 Responses to “Washington Post: Free Market Republicans Should Totally Want A Carbon Tax Or Something”

  1. Jethro says:

    In my opinion, if you haven’t given up your own use of fossil fuels but say you believe in anthropogenic climate change, then you’re actually a denier.

    You’re entitled to express your opinions!

    Catherine Rampell makes a good point:

    A carbon tax prices in, upfront, the hidden costs of burning fossil fuels, including pollution and the warming of the planet. In the near-term, a carbon tax disincentivizes the purchase of carbon-intensive products, of course. But over the longer-term, it also increases demand for — and thereby incentivizes the development of — cleaner, less-carbon-intensive technologies. If you want to accelerate innovation in batteries, electric cars, solar, wind, etc., a carbon tax is a no-brainer.

    You’ve demonstrated repeatedly that you little understand market forces, so it’s unsurprisingly you miss the point this time. You imagine that “free market” means that businesses should operate without regulation, which is great for business owners and shareholders but can be bad for society.

    CO2 and other pollutants from our burning of fossil fuels create damage, and the costs of damages must be borne by someone. Adding these costs to the price of fossil fuels is a reasonable and responsible approach for the reasons Rampell outlines.

    • formwiz says:

      She does nothing of the sort.

      the hidden costs of burning fossil fuels, including pollution and the warming of the planet

      What, they gonna have all the Central Americans in little hot air balloons raking up all the pollution?

      This is just another way Lefties get to punish people they hate (everybody not them).

      CO2 and other pollutants from our burning of fossil fuels create damage, and the costs of damages must be borne by someone.

      Let’s start with all the Lefties. Banish them to north of the Brooks Range and let ’em live like the Esquimeax. I’ll bet that’ll give the carbon footprint a hit it can’t take.

    • gitarcarver says:

      You’re entitled to express your opinions!

      I’m sure that Teach is glad that gave him “permission” to write on his own blog.

      Of course, you don’t really address his point, do you?

      You’ve demonstrated repeatedly that you little understand market forces, so it’s unsurprisingly you miss the point this time.

      Actually, it is you who doesn’t understand market forces. The product is energy and just because you or Rampell think there is no benefit to society for having plentiful energy doesn’t make the attack on one type of energy producer over another type of energy producer any less palatable or within any definition of a “free market.”

      It is never good when the government starts to pick winners and losers, especially when those winners and losers are based on opinions and not facts or science.

      If you want to accelerate innovation in batteries, electric cars, solar, wind, etc., a carbon tax is a no-brainer.

      There are so many things wrong with this statement. First it indicates that the writer (and perhaps you) are ignorant of the efforts of carbon energy companies to produce energy at a more efficient level through innovation and it certainly shows an ignorance that the companies are looking for sources end energy technology outside of carbon based.

      The statement does verify what people have long suspected – AGW is a money grab. Nothing more. Nothing less.

      All liberals have is hate.

    • david7134 says:

      Jeff,
      Can you explain how the so called clean energy is actually clean? Like define how a lithium battery is clean, or a windmill. These devices are killers.

      Now, an carbon tax is a destructive force to the economy, harming everyone, but especially the middle class. And a tax absurd as people have to use fossil fuels, they don’t have a choice. Provide a reasonable alternative and people will use it.

      But the other blow is the carbon credit. That can and has been used to manipulate people and other nations to preform actions that they might not desire to do or else have their credits removed.

    • Dana says:

      The company that develops better, cleaner energy-generation technologies will be richer than Microsoft; what more incentive is needed? The automobile companies are already trying to develop better batteries and longer range electric cars, even though that doesn’t really reduce pollution, since the power plants have to produce more sparktricity, and energy is lost over transmission lines.

      Companies are trying to develop better, lower maintenance wind and solar power generation. Alas! Star Trek isn’t real, and the notion of totally pollution-free, unlimited energy generation remains something that we might have in the 23rd century, but don’t have now.

      Mr Bodine wants to penalize people today for not using something not available today.

      Everything you say you want is already being done, without saddling the working people of America with additional taxes.

    • You’ve demonstrated repeatedly that you little understand market forces

      I like how you left out the word “free”, as in, run by the private sector, rather than controlled by the government. And that is my point. A carbon tax is run by the government.

      CO2 and other pollutants from our burning of fossil fuels create damage, and the costs of damages must be borne by someone. Adding these costs to the price of fossil fuels is a reasonable and responsible approach for the reasons Rampell outlines.

      First, this would not be a free market solution, but a government run economic solution. 2nd, it would be implemented because of political belief rather than any reality. Don’t like fossil fuels? Do not use them.

      You imagine that “free market” means that businesses should operate without regulation

      That’s kinda the point of free market. Some regulations are fine. You’re not talking about that, you’re talking about penalizing an economic sector for your cultish beliefs, which would harm the middle and lower classes.

      Most of the “green” energy sector gets the exact same tax breaks and such as the fossil fuels industry. Yet, they cannot survive without massive real subsidies and government loans. Mostly it is only the rich that can afford them.

  2. Dana says:

    President Macron put in a carbon tax on fuel in very liberal France, and the plebeians are revolting. It seems that France, the host for the Paris climate meetings, seriously missed its initial carbon emissions goals, and the public, now seeing that they will be required to actually pay for these oh-so-laudable goals, are less than thrilled.

    It’s always easy for wealthy people like Mr Bodine to trumpet on and on about global warming climate change, and propose these great solutions, when increased energy costs don’t bother them in the slightest. (I’m thinking Goldie Hawn in Overboard here, saying, “When I tell you to pack staples, must I remind you to pack good caviar, not this $1.99 fish bait?”) It’s the people who do have to watch every dollar — or in this case, euro — and for whom higher fuel prices mean something other than caviar will have to be missed who have the most at stake over such policies.

  3. Jl says:

    “A carbon tax disincentivizes the purchase of carbon intensive products…”. Why would we want to do that? The benefits outweigh any alleged detriments. “If you want to accelerate innovation in batteries, solar, wind, ect., a carbon tax is a no-brainer.” Funny, because there’s already billions in government subsidies (real subsidies, meaning the government handing you money) for incentive. And they’re still unreliable, have their own pollution problems, and can’t make it on their own. Wondering, though, if she would say the same thing about, say, the income tax? Does taxing income then disincentivize the desire to earn that income?

  4. Jl says:

    A picture that perfectly encapsulates the MSM as far as climate change. “Forget what we said earlier, we can change our minds if it might hurt Trump…” .
    https://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2018/11/why-we-hate-the-media-chapter-12-186.php

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