Carbon Taxes

Thomas Friedman laments again our No Mullah Left Behind policies. By refusing to phase in a gasoline tax of $1/gallon, mandate better gas mileage, and generally address our oil profligacy, we help distort the decision-making of Irani mullahs. Fareed Zakaria expands on this in The Future of Freedom: governments that don’t need to tax for their money don’t need to account for their policies.

US oil policy does more than support foreign governments. We distort American fiscal policy because our imports exceed our exports; our trade deficit for 2004 alone was $617.7 billion. Oil accounts for $164 billion of that; add in automobiles and we’re talking real money. Per American, we import more than $2,000 more than we export. Per American, we imported $550 in oil last year.

President Bush meanwhile focuses on social security. His biggest concern is privatization, which, Bush says, doesn’t address the problems he sees ahead. Ignored are larger financial concerns, such as health care and interminable deficits. Let us add to the few trillion here and there we’re avoiding environmental degradation, which will be paid for by younger people and those not yet born, simply because taxes on carbon are inconvenient to today’s adults.

Comments that go beyond praise and nays Michael Moore’s comment to the February 12 post includes, “To be sure, scientific consensus is imperfect. But the consensus is far more accurate than revelation to a few human beings which can no longer be altered nor updated.” A Quaker belief in continuing revelation.

One Response to “Carbon Taxes”

  1. michael says:

    I think its fairly easy to make a connection between the proposals on “reform” of Social Security and the intentions on environmental issues. Both are adding unneccesary risk. President Bush explains that some families will have the opportunity to do better with their retirement. But what he doesn’t say is that opportunity comes with a risk. On the average those that do worse on their retirement will equal those who do better. My hunch is that those who do worse will exceed those that do better. On environmental issues, the conservative track is caution: preserve species of life, re-create wetlands, reduce greenhouse gases, stay within the red line, care for watersheds, respect all of life. Adding huge risk is to do the opposite. At some point I forsee the human specie to have a massive die back to the population level of the year AD 1000. Adding the massive risk that the Republicans want will advance that date. Malthus was right.

    If President Bush cared for his ranch like he wants humans to care for the earth, the streams and wells would be polluted, the grasslands would be rutted, the fish would be scrawny, the forests would be over hunted, smog from Dallas would clowud over the sun and the moon. And George would say, “It is good.” And Jesus would cry a river of tears.