Washington cannot imagine any other solution to climate change than a massive, multi-trillion-dollar intervention by – Doh! – the government. Their new best-effort solution is a carbon tax. Obama’s (Biden’s!) Cap and Trade (forcing utilities to limit carbon dioxide emissions but allowing them to purchase “clean air credits” to offset their pollution) was too expensive ~ on the order of $2 trillion. A carbon tax does the exact same thing but with a twist that’s guaranteed to get the overwhelming support of the voters: it gives cash money to the taxpayers.
Here’s how the carbon tax scheme works: Every industry that puts carbon dioxide into the atmosphere (utilities, petroleum producers, petrochemical companies, and every other heavy industry with a smokestack, including public and private transit) is fined by Big Government per ton of carbon. Naturally, all those industries will try to pass along all or most of the cost to the consumers, via higher prices. The largest hit to consumers will be in gasoline and electricity prices.
France tried to increase the gasoline tax recently, in an effort to spawn energy conservation. What happened? The “Yellow Vest” movement spawned violence and riots nationwide. “Higher gas taxes put a disproportionate burden on poor people.” A carbon tax evades that issue. It doesn’t directly tax fuel, but the energy producers. By the time the price increases reach the marketplace, the “poor people” don’t have anybody to riot against. Moreover, if they do rise up in arms – viola! – the government gives them hard cash to offset their higher energy costs. Problem solved.
Will a carbon tax work? If companies can simply raise prices to pay for their carbon penalties, where’s their incentive to actually lower their carbon footprint? The pencilnecks in Washington state in their Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act that people will automatically use their cash dividends to invest in conserving energy. Really?
Washington assumes that competition will prevent companies from raising their prices – competition from China. Who does Washington think will pay for the massive technology investments Big Business will have to make to comply with the new carbon tax? Either way, prices will rise, and that will either drive all their business to China or force businesses to outsource all their carbon-producing activities (and millions of good, middle-class jobs) – to China and elsewhere. It’s the same, historic American shell game: export pollution overseas. Problem solved.
How can you ensure that industries physically lower their carbon footprint instead of simply passing along the extra costs to the consumer? Government price controls. How can you ensure that people used their “energy dividend” to lower their carbon footprint? Government tax rebates. What about the 50% of Americans who pay low or no taxes? What about taxpayers how already have an energy-efficient household and have no projects to implement for their “energy tax credit?” They don’t get their credit, and all their money goes to – Doh! – the poor Americans for whom there’s absolutely no leverage to ensure they conserve energy. The IRS wants to do an energy audit of my house before I get my tax refund?!
The Biden administration initially supported a Covid passport for all Americans. As soon as Republicans said if the Democrats supported a Covid ID, they can’t possibly object to a national voter ID – well, the White House dropped the Covid passport idea like it was a live hand grenade. Surely a national ID system will be needed for the carbon credit scheme. It’s one thing to pass on a photo ID to vote or serve on a jury ~ but to receive monthly checks?
What about the 10% of American households who don’t have a car? What about people in rural areas who drive by necessity ten times as much as urban dwellers? Will giant 18-wheeler semi-trucks get a rebate, too? Even though their vehicles do 99.95% of the damage to our roads and highways?
The solution is – you guessed it: more Big Government! A GPS in every vehicle to track your miles traveled so that your rebate can be proportionate. If you drive an electric car? Zero rebate. If you drive a small, high MPG car? Minimal rebate. If you drive a giant gas guzzler? Max rebate. If you use public transportation ~ they get the rebate, not you. Trains, cruise lines, and air travel – likewise.
How much of the whole carbon tax scheme will actually contribute to energy conservation? How much is lost to multiple layers of government oversight? How much is lost to fraud? My guess is that only 25% of the money ends up being invested in energy-saving tech. The other 75% ends up distributed by Washington to enforce their New World Order.