Car­bon tax would set us back

The Washington Times Weekly - - Letters To The Editor - Burke, Vir­ginia PAUL BALLONOFF Me­chan­icsville, Vir­ginia

There seems to be some sup­port in Congress for cre­at­ing a fed­eral car­bon fee. Yet nearly all of what has been stated in its fa­vor is false.

The pro­posed fee claims that once im­posed, it will then pay 90 per­cent of its rev­enues back to “house­holds” and 10 per­cents to “schools, hos­pi­tals, etc.” It then in­creases its level each year af­ter, and soon the tax would be more than the cost of re­mov­ing fos­sil fu­els. But to re­pay that rev­enue re­quires some out­lay: Gov­ern­ment and pri­vate costs of col­lect­ing the fee, pass­ing it onto the gov­ern­ment, de­cid­ing who gets which part of the rev­enues and the cost of then al­lo­cat­ing and dis­tribut­ing that. Im­pos­ing the de­sired car­bon fees into these “re­funds” would likely cost the gov­ern­ment as much in ad­di­tional fed­eral ex­penses as the ini­tial fee it­self.

The main spon­sor of these fees, the Cit­i­zens’ Cli­mate Lobby, claims they will cre­ate 2.1 mil­lion ad­di­tional jobs over 10 years due to the “clean en­ergy econ­omy.” Such claims have been made in the past and have never been proved right; in the United States, de­spite great fed­eral in­cen­tives, such in­dus­tries have fre­quently in­stead be­come bank­rupt, of­ten sub­si­dized by fed­eral funds then not re­paid.

In re­cent decades, clean en­ergy, with nu­mer­ous fed­eral and state sub­si­dies, has not reached the lev­els of con­tin­u­ous pro­duc­tion — in­clud­ing stor­age and re­al­lo­ca­tion — re­quired for use in pub­lic util­i­ties. Mean­while, fos­sil-fuel uses are get­ting cheaper and more ef­fi­cient. The car­bon tax would there­fore make it harder for U.S. en­ergy pro­duc­tion to con­tinue its down­ward trend on emis­sions.

The best way to get bet­ter costs for fu­els is the free mar­ket, which has also been the only mech­a­nism that has al­lowed the U.S. to also re­duce emis­sions.

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