My Turn: Carbon Tax is No Bargain At All
By Jeff Smith
On these very Opinion pages of the Arizona Republic last Saturday there appeared a bizarre and somewhat tortured defense of H.R. 2380, the Raise Wages, Cut Carbon Act of 2009 that was sponsored in the House of Representatives last year by Rep. Jeff Flake. This defense came from, of all people, Mr. Tom Jenney of Americans for Prosperity.
The piece appeared to concede as given that carbon reduction legislation is in the offing for this country. It therefore suggested that Mr. Flake’s carbon tax proposal should be adopted as the lesser of two evils between it and full-blown Cap and Trade – a “grand bargain.” I respectfully disagree with Mr. Jenney, as I do with Mr. Flake for having introduced such a dangerous piece of legislation in the first place. As the so-called “scientific” case for global warming crumbles like a house of cards, and as Americans show themselves to be less-concerned and less-convinced of global warming every day, the idea that we must accept any kind of carbon reduction legislation is anything but a given as far as I’m concerned.
To begin with, as best I can tell, perhaps the most redeeming virtue of this legislation Mr. Jenney could find is that it is “honest,” in that “it calls a tax a tax.” Apparently standards for good legislation have dropped even further than I had feared if this is the best we can say about this otherwise deeply-flawed proposal.
Mr. Jenney writes, “The Flake-Lipinski bill recognizes the damage caused by new taxes, and seeks to limit that damage.” If we acknowledge that new taxes will be damaging, I suggest we prevent their introduction in the first place, rather than seek to mitigate the damage through an unrelated offsetting tax reduction that may or may not persist (but probably won’t) for the duration of the carbon tax.
Mr. Jenney goes on to suggest improvements to the bill, recommending a cut in “key taxes, such as corporate income, personal income, capital gains, dividend, and estate taxes” instead of the payroll-tax reductions offered in the bill as it currently stands. However, this merely puts “lipstick on a pig,” and still ignores the true danger of this bill, which is that it gives credibility to the idea that carbon dioxide (CO2) is a pollutant that must be reduced, regulated, and taxed. Giving credence to this idea, from an alleged conservative, no less, opens the door wide open for Big Brother to start dictating to us in every aspect of our lives that involves energy consumption or carbon emission. How many things do you do in a day that involve energy consumption or carbon emission (don’t forget breathing!)? How long will it be before the federal government starts dictating, for example, how long we can keep our lights on, how long we can use our air conditioners or how cool we can keep our homes and offices in the summer, how and when we may drive our cars, what kind of light bulbs we can and can’t use (wait, they’ve already done that)? And the list goes on and on.
Sound far-fetched? Be reminded our President is on record as saying the following as a candidate only two years ago: “If somebody wants to build a coal power plant they can, it’s just that it will bankrupt them because they are going to be charged a huge sum for all that greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.”
If our President is so cavalier in his willingness to let the entire coal-fired utility industry go under, and allow electricity rates for American families to necessarily skyrocket, what reason do we have to believe our federal government wouldn’t take similarly draconian steps to tax and limit CO2, especially once the idea that CO2 is a pollutant has been “ratified” by this bill?
Many of us saw the Audi “Green Police” ad that aired during the Super Bowl. It depicted an army of power-crazed environmental do-gooders arresting people for a host of alleged environmental infractions. While it was intended to be humorous, the ad backfired as horrified Americans witnessed a chilling scene that could be all too real if Cap and Trade or the Carbon Tax bill were to pass.
Our federal government has shown a continuous propensity to insert itself into virtually every aspect of the everyday lives of Americans, usually in the name of a cause so grandiose and compelling that many well-meaning people willingly comply (Save the Planet!) Do we really need to encourage them by conceding – erroneously – that the most basic and fundamental activities of our everyday lifestyle must be regulated and taxed? Do we really need to surrender our civilization – our very way of life – precisely as it is becoming clear to the world that there is anything but a scientific consensus concerning global warming, and that the panels and committees that have foisted this falsehood upon us are really agenda-driven political bodies, with no real concern for scientific integrity or, for that matter, the actual health of the planet? Of course not!
Jeff Flake’s Carbon Tax bill is no bargain at all for America.
Jeff Smith is a candidate for the United States House of Representatives in Arizona’s 6th Congressional District, running against Jeff Flake. For more information, go to www.votejeffsmith2010.com.