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Even though the carbon tax fell by the wayside a few years ago, it should be seriously considered as a policy measure in any deals involving the fiscal cliff. First of all, it falls in line with the President's acceptance speech about needing to deal with climate change, and there is a stronger political will for such a carbon tax now.

And also, what makes the carbon tax attractive is that it is not a tax raise upon the American people, but on polluters.

So it might make Republicans in the House and the Senate more amenable to it as a source of revenue. After all, it was Republicans who had initially proposed the carbon tax themselves.

In fact, a recent report by the Congressional Research Service, suggesting a $20 per ton tax on carbon emissions could halve the U.S. budget deficit over time.
Such a tax would generate about $88 billion in 2012, rising to $144 billion by 2020, the report said, slashing U.S. debt by between 12 and 50 percent within a decade, depending on how high the deficit climbs, the report said.

A handful of former Republican policymakers - ones most likely to reject new or higher taxes as a matter of principle - has been touting its potential to raise revenue for a cash-strapped federal budget.

The carbon tax was initially a proposal that was supported by members of both parties, and given Hurricane Sandy's effect upon the East Coast, it now has a greater chance of being considered as a part of any deal. It also helps ease Republican concerns about getting revenue. Even though the White House may not directly propose a carbon tax, I think that Members of Congress should propose this.

If any of you are making phone calls to your Members of Congress, such as Rep. James Clyburn, Nancy Pelosi, and Steny Hoyer regarding any deal-making, you can propose this as an alternative to hurting Americans who depend on earned benefit programs such as Social Security and Medicare.

Originally posted to slinkerwink on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 02:40 PM PST.

Also republished by The Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party, ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, and Dailykos Kossacks For Action.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I can think of a few Democrats who don't want (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    slinkerwink

    a carbon tax because it would make it harder for them to be reelected in 2014:

    Mark Warner(Va), Jay Rockefeller(Wv).

    We already saw that coal country is moving further and further away from the Democrats so it may have mimimal risk for our chances in the House but this could really make things difficult for the midterms in coal-heavy states.

    However, I T&Red since a carbon tax would be the right thing to do.

  •  Much more straightforward than cap-and-trade. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    slinkerwink, AoT, phonegery

    Your request has bad syntax or is inherently impossible to satisfy. --httpd_err400form

    by Bob Novak Douchebag of Liberty on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 03:00:35 PM PST

  •  slink, I am glad you are talking about this issue (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    slinkerwink, pistolSO, Miss Jones

    since it is so little talked about in American politics.

    But I have one main point of disagreement. A carbon tax should be revenue-neutral: a carbon tax, if not properly designed, will be regressive, the way any flat tax is (e.g. sales taxes). For instance, poorer people will find it prohibitively expensive to drive their cars, while the rich will probably not be too much affected.

    To counter this regressive effect, the revenue should be redistributed in a progressive way: either by reducing an existing regressive tax (such as the payroll tax) by one dollar for each dollar of revenue from the carbon tax, or by simply by dividing the revenues up equally among each U.S. resident.

    Of course, any such redistributive measure will be fiercely resisted by Republicans, and we will hear the usual cries of "Socialism! Communism!"

    The rich want to be free to trash and exploit the environment to their heart's content, but they don't want to pay their fair share when it comes to cleaning up. That's what it boils down to, and why they won't agree to supporting any carbon tax that would ensure that everyone pays fairly for using carbon.

    "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

    by limpidglass on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 03:01:37 PM PST

  •  Carbon Tax is a REGRESSIVE TAX which exacerbates.. (3+ / 0-)

    ...income and wealth inequality.

    It would also violate President Obama's promise not to increase taxes on the working and middle-class.

    And let's not forget what happened to so many House Dems in 93, after they supported the BTU tax (which died in the Senate).

    Finally, why are we even contemplating GOP ideas?

    I have a better idea to address the fiscal "crisis".

    Let's spearhead an effort to tax wealth, starting at a threshold of 1% for households with net worth of 50M.  The Buffets and Ellisons of the US would pay 8% of their net worth to the federal government each year.

    Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. www.hamiltonproject.org

    by PatriciaVa on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 03:02:01 PM PST

    •  But if the carbon tax were placed on polluters (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pistolSO, Miss Jones, AoT, fuzzyguy

      such as factories and large businesses?

      •  When Citigroup and Goldman were fined... (0+ / 0-)

        ..hundreds of millions of dollars by the SEC, did the execs suffer a hit in the pocketbook, or did Goldman pass it on to its shareholders and clients?

        That's precisely what would happen with a carbon tax on polluters.

        It'll be passed on to the consumer.

        That's why I oppose it.

        Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. www.hamiltonproject.org

        by PatriciaVa on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 08:59:48 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  What's your idea to stop global warming? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      fuzzyguy

      Because this one does both, and it's possible.

      Or do you believe in the myth of Cap and Trade.  Probably given the Neoliberal economics your link espouses.

      The revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

      by AoT on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 05:03:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  US per/capita CO2 emissions have decreased 5%.... (0+ / 0-)

        ..since 1990.

        Clearly, the US is not the problem.

        Same can't be said for other countries, however.

        Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. www.hamiltonproject.org

        by PatriciaVa on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 08:53:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The us is a huge fucking problem (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          oldpotsmuggler, fuzzyguy

          And a relatively small dip due to a major recession and an increase in natural gas that isn't at all sustainable is no solution at all. If your plan is to blame other countries then you have no plan.

          The revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

          by AoT on Fri Nov 09, 2012 at 09:10:26 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  And how (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          limpidglass

          does the US, short of war, tell other nations to cease polluting and consuming resources? What gives the US the right to say that we can become an industrialized super power along with all of the pollution and technological innovation from coal, oil, to green energy that took place throughout our history as we progressed socially and technologically, but other nations can not because the cost is too great? If we are going to say that other nations can not attain the technological level and standard of living that we currently enjoy, then in order to have a ethical leg to stand on we must offer green energy assistance and development to those developing nations. We need that development here first before we have a hope of helping others. A great deal of US coal extraction isn't being used here after all, we are selling it to China.

          Further more, the peoples of developing industrialized nations such as India, China, and South Africa look to the US life style of unsustainable consumption and wish to achieve that for themselves to pull themselves out of poverty and unhappiness and become "modern" as the West has defined it. We in the US must act first to achieve sustainability if there is any hope of such a movement for sustainability to spread globally, anything less is externalizing the costs of our luxurious and unsustainable multi-earth consumption footprint on the backs of economically subjugated third world peoples who then MUST remain subjugated if we wish to try and prolong the status quo further before eventual climate, resource, and population collapse puts an end to civilization as we understand it.

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