Monday, May 28, 2007

Carbon Tax

This is inspired by an LA Times article from some days ago, but it is something worth talking about, a carbon tax. First, lets face the fact that global climate change is a reality and is something we need to face up to and deal with. If we act in the near future the cost of dealing with the issue can be extremely small or even nonexistent. For all of you who believe that acting on global climate change amounts to imposing some additional cost on you, I say rubbish. Use of fossil fuels requires dumping wastes into the general atmosphere. Neither you nor I own, in our own names, the atmosphere, so it is only right and proper that we might have to pay some modest fee to make use of that resource. To date we have been generously subsidized by having the right to dump, for free, our wastes into this general resource. It is high time that that subsidy be reduced or eliminated.

The LA Times article discusses two good methods for getting carbon emissions under control, a cap and trade system and a carbon tax. I agree that of the two the better choice is the carbon tax. We need to get passed the idea that all taxes should be considered radioactive and that the very nature of a tax is somehow wrong or unfair. Taxes are appropriately imposed to charge for the very valuable services provided by the existence of a government. One of the main valuable services provided by a government is the management of general resources, like the atmosphere, and part of that management is to charge for the use of the resource. Hence a carbon tax.

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