Why tax good things when you can tax bad things?
Notes: "Why tax good things when you can tax bad things, like emissions?" ask Yoram Bauman and Shi-Ling Hsu.
A straight-through tax can appeal to conservatives who don't want additional taxes and who dislike taxes that discourage people from working.
We currently tax things – having a job (income tax), creating jobs (corporate tax), owning a home (property tax), and engaging in economic activity (sales tax) – that are good for society. We also tax things that cost society as a whole – alcohol and tobacco and fatty, unhealthy food and environmental degradation. New taxes on carbon emissions can be balanced by reduced taxes on jobs.
Former GOP Rep. Bob Inglis is launching a campaign, the Energy & Enterprise Initiative, that proposes:
A new tax on carbon pollution or gasoline consumption, paired with a cut in the income or payroll tax, creating a revenue-neutral, market-driven solution to an environmental problem while cutting taxes that conservatives dislike.
[Yoram Bauman, an Ph.D. economist who moonlights as a professional comedian, is featured in our Humor section. See "Yoram Bauman: The Stand-Up (Climate) Economist."]