While President Donald Trump wants to cut taxes, there are others who hope to raise them — by taxing carbon.
The idea has long been supported by environmentalists and left-leaning groups, but recently it has found support among some establishment Republicans. The notion is that by taxing carbon, the country would use less, reducing our impact on climate change.
However, there are a number of problems with the plan.
There is no viable alternative to carbon-based fuels. The goal of a carbon tax is to force people to embrace substitutes, but fossil fuels are one of the most inelastic products. There just aren’t any viable and scalable alternatives.
If the price of gasoline were to rise significantly because of a carbon tax, some people would carpool or take public transportation, but the vast majority would just have to suck it up and pay the higher price.
The price of everything would rise. Economic theory says that corporations don’t pay taxes, people do. Companies pass along taxes to consumers in the form of higher prices.
Because we would still have to use fossil fuels for the vast majority of our travel, transportation and power generation, a carbon tax would simply be priced into virtually every product and service.
Food must be harvested, processed and transported to grocery stores. Clothes and consumer goods must be manufactured and transported to retail outlets or to consumers’ homes. Planes, trains and long-haul trucks cannot run on solar or wind power. Neither can our military.
While many power generating plants use renewable energy from wind and solar power, those renewables only…
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