Guest essay by Eric Worrall
President Obama has proposed a $10 per barrel carbon tax to fund renewable energy, and to “encourage” people to stop using oil.
From the Whitehouse Statement;
For too long, bipartisan support for innovative and expansive transportation investment has not been accompanied by a long-term plan for paying for it. We need a sustainable funding solution that takes into account the integrated, interdependent nature of our transportation system. Travelers choose between walking, biking, driving, flying, and taking the train; and companies choose between trucks, barges, airplanes and rail lines. So to meet our needs in the future, we have to make significant investments across all modes of transportation. And our transportation system is heavily dependent on oil. That is why we are proposing to fund these investments through a new $10 per barrel fee on oil paid by oil companies, which would be gradually phased in over five years. The fee raises the funding necessary to make these new investments, while also providing for the long-term solvency of the Highway Trust Fund to ensure we maintain the infrastructure we have. By placing a fee on oil, the President’s plan creates a clear incentive for private sector innovation to reduce our reliance on oil and at the same time invests in clean energy technologies that will power our future.
Why does the green version of “encouragement” always seem to involve beating ordinary people with price hikes until they comply?
If the President really wants to encourage green energy, why doesn’t he announce a tax holiday for profits made from green innovations? I doubt there would be any worthwhile innovations; making renewables affordable is an intractable problem. But at least a tax holiday wouldn’t hurt anyone. A tax holiday would stimulate interest and investment, while allowing ordinary people to continue to enjoy low oil prices.