Economists Love Carbon Taxes. Lots of Regular Folks Don’t.

From Reason.com

Raising the price of gasoline, heat, and electricity is a steep political hill to climb.

Ronald Bailey|Dec. 19, 2018 8:30 am

Chuongy/DreamstimeOil company ConocoPhillips just pledged to spend $2 million promoting the carbon tax and dividend plan devised by the Climate Leadership Council (CLC) organized by former Republican Secretaries of State James Baker III and George Shultz. ConocoPhillips is among the CLC’s founding member oil companies, alongside ExxonMobil, BP, and Shell.

The goal of the CLC’s carbon tax and dividend plan is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels by increasing fossil fuel prices over time. Under the CLC’s carbon tax and dividend plan an initial tax per ton of carbon dioxide would be set at oil and gas wellheads and coal mineheads.

As the tax escalates at a steady predictable rate over the years, higher electricity and transport prices are supposed to encourage increased conservation, greater fuel efficiency, and the development and deployment of no-carbon energy sources. Once the CLC’s carbon tax plan is adopted, all other regulations and subsidies aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions, e.g., automobile fuel efficiency and renewable portfolio standards, are supposed to be permanently repealed.

Finally, the linchpin of CLC’s plan is that all of the proceeds from the carbon tax would be divided equally among U.S. citizens and returned as an annual lump-sum directly to them. The CLC argues that “conferring financial benefits in the here and now would fundamentally alter the cost-benefit time horizon of climate mitigation, re-casting a carbon fee as a popular and even populist solution.”

The CLC cites a 2018 study that finds that 70 percent of American households would receive more in dividend payments than they would pay in increased energy prices. Taxpayers in the bottom income quintile would average a net tax cut of 4.4 percent of pretax income while those in the middle quintile would receive a net tax cut of 0.3 percent of pretax income.

While the concept of revenue neutral carbon taxes for addressing the problem of man-made climate change is beloved by most economists, the idea that they are “a popular and even populist solution” may be a bit premature.

The recent Yellow Vest protests in France were sparked by just a 12 cent increase in transport fuel taxes aimed at reducing that country’s carbon dioxide emissions. (For the record, a gallon of gas already costs $5.54 in France.) The New York Times suggested that this outburst might have been avoided if the taxes had been specifically devoted to “subsidies to encourage people to use less-polluting forms of energy, and expanding transit networks.”

Consider also what happened to carbon tax proposals in Washington state during the past couple of elections. In 2016, a revenue neutral carbon tax referendum failed when environmental activists opposed it on the grounds that the tax revenues should not be returned to voters, but instead be devoted to a panoply of green energy and public transit projects.

In 2018, Washington state voters rejected a carbon tax referendum crafted by environmental activists that would have created a kitty of new tax money available for politically favored groups to shower on their pet projects.

Australia adopted a carbon tax in 2012 that was repealed under popular pressure two years later.

Canada, meanwhile, has adopted a carbon tax scheme imposing a price of $20 per ton that applies to just four provinces (the others have set rates on carbon emissions that are already high enough to meet the new federal standards). Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised that 90 percent of the revenues collected will be rebated back to the residents of Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and New Brunswick.

Despite the rebate pledge, Yellow Vest protests against the new Canadian carbon tax broke out this past weekend in some cities, including Edmonton, Toronto, Winnipeg, Okanagan, Moncton, Calgary, Saskatoon, and Halifax.

Read the full story here.

HT/Roger Knights

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68 thoughts on “Economists Love Carbon Taxes. Lots of Regular Folks Don’t.

  1. It’ll be interesting watching Democrats shill for big oil. By the way, those “Republicans” aren’t really. They had nothing good to say about this Republican administration and they have zero clout inside of it.

    • The term you are looking for is “RINO” – Republican In Name Only. Unfortunately we still have a few of them in congress (fortunately many of them, like Sen Flake, are leaving)

    • Baker is 88 and Shultz is 98. Shultz got used by Elizabeth Holmes in the Theranos fraud. He should probably retire from public life so that he can prepare to meet his maker. Baker is a notorious anti-Semite. He too should STFU.

    • CARBON TAXES ARE DESTRUCTIVE AND IMBECILIC, BECAUSE THEY DO NO GOOD AND CAUSE GREAT HARM, BY DRIVING UP THE COST OF EVERYTHING.

      Supporting Summary Information:
      1) There is no catastrophic global warming crisis – it is a false crisis. Climate is relatively INsensitive to increasing atmospheric CO2.
      2) There is no “more extreme weather” happening now than before – also a false crisis. There is no credible evidence to support this allegation.
      3) Green energy is not green and produces little useful (dispatchable) energy. This has been proved in Germany and elsewhere.
      4) The world is colder than optimum for humanity and the environment – cold weather kills 20 times more people than warm weather.
      5) Atmospheric CO2 concentration is not alarmingly high, it is alarmingly low for the continued survival of carbon-based life on Earth.
      6) Carbon taxes are destructive and imbecilic, because they do no good and cause great harm, by driving up the cost of EVERYTHING.
      7) Most politicians are so incompetent that they should not even opine about energy matters, let alone set policy.
      8) Cheap abundant energy is the lifeblood of society. it is that simple!
      9) Environmental harm from green energy schemes include accelerated draining of the vital Ogalalla Aquifer for corn ethanol production in the USA and clear-cutting of the rainforests in South America and Southeast Asia to grow biofuels. These actions continue to cause huge environmental damage.
      10) Green energy schemes have been sharply increased energy costs, vital electrical grids have been destabilized, and Excess Winter Deaths have increased – and green energy schemes typically do not even reduce CO2 emissions.
      11) Based on the evidence, including the Mann hockey stick and the Climategate emails, global warming and green energy are the greatest scams, in dollar terms, in the history of humanity. Many trillions of dollars of scarce global resources have been squandered on global warming/wilder weather/green energy falsehoods.
      12) A fraction of these wasted trillions could have put safe water and sanitation systems into every village on Earth, and run them forever. About two million kids below the age of five die from contaminated water every year – over sixty million dead kids from bad water alone since the advent of global warming alarmism. The remaining squandered funds, properly deployed, could have gone a long way to ending malaria and world hunger.

      Told you so, years ago.

      Regards to all for the Holidays, Allan

  2. “The CLC cites a 2018 study that finds that 70 percent of American households would receive more in dividend payments than they would pay in increased energy prices. Taxpayers in the bottom income quintile would average a net tax cut of 4.4 percent of pretax income while those in the middle quintile would receive a net tax cut of 0.3 percent of pretax income.”

    – The middle quintile will end up paying more, to say nothing of the fact that prices on everything else will go way up and the middle quintile won’t get welfare, food stamps, home heating and energy assistance, ‘free healthcare’ and other programs that the bottom quintile already get. The top quintile is going to pass the cost along. 0.3%? Lol. What a ridiculous sham. Remember “you can keep your doctor”?

    • OK if their plan works as stated, the co2 tax increases my cost of energy, but I get more back in dividends, why would I reduce my use of energy? The proponents know this but they’ll offer the dividend in order to get the legislation passed, then they will reduce or remove my dividends. By then it will be too late to repeal the legislation. Right? I call BS.

      • Exactly, if the carbon tax cost $500/year but you get $500 back, how exactly does that change the weather? It doesn’t.

        This tax isn’t about the climate, its about creating a universal income program. Once those cheques start rolling in, it becomes very difficult for people to vote for the party which pledges to eliminate it. The left effectively uses your own money to pay you to vote for them, thereby ensuring continued leftist political power for decades to come.

        Neat huh?

        • I think the essence of it is the idea that if oil was more expensive people would use less, which is to say, that oil consumption is flexible, a matter of choice, that demand is elastic and highly responsive to price.

          That assumes there are viable options at an appropriate price. The “$20/ton” value is not based on “something”. It is just a number.

          The idea that the tax will be used to subsidise renewables and given back to the energy-poor is simple double-counting. That’s why the BC carbon tax is not returned to the population as initially promised.

          Every child knows that giving a store clerk a dollar doesn’t get them a chocolate bar and a dollar change.

        • Some of the money will have to be siphoned off to activist groups whose purpose will be to shepherd things along, support friendly politicians and oppose any opposing interests.

        • What you are missing is that the check you are getting is 100% independent of how much energy you are using.
          In your example, if you use $500/year in energy and are getting a $500 check each year, yes you are breaking even. However if you cut your energy usage to $400/year, you are still going to get that $500 check, so you made $100/year.

          It’s still a dumb idea, but not for the reason you are pushing.

          • …and if you increase your energy usage to $600 a year…it’s only costing you $100 a year…not $500

      • Exactly. Ultimately, this is just another front in the Progressive War on the Middle Class. And there is no way that they will be able to resist attacking that huge pool of money to divert it to some other supposedly worthy social cause. It will be just a matter of time before it’s usurped to fund the welfare state, just like in France.

      • Jim H: Good point, they want to reduce the use of energy by incentivizing it’s use.

        Any R who favors a carbon or energy tax should be finding another club to hang out. These guys despise Trump, but are blind to the fact that their own virtue-signaling cowardice in the face of the green mob (among other things) is what made Trump rise among R voters. For decades they tried progressive-lite, and still don’t get it. For instance, they are promising the lower class a “rebate”. Nancy Pelosi knows better- she will promise them $1.50 back for every dollar taken. The press will not critique Nancy’s economics, either.

      • I would never believe anything that they say. Remember how way off the pre-Obamacare CBO estimate was? They’re trying to sell this sham. That’s entirely what this is. I’m quite frankly shocked, amazed and astonished that they say that what the middle quintile will get is so puny. 0.3%, really????? This tells me that the middle quintile is going to lose under this scheme big time, the bottom quintile is going to be subsidized by the middle (sound like familiar?) and the top quintile will obviously pay even more than the middle quintile BUT they will also access “rent seek” a whole bunch of money that the middle quintile won’t ever get in the form of numerous guvmint “tax credits” for wind, solar, evs, green construction, tradeable “carbon credits,” etc.

    • You are correct Warren – the carbon tax is a total scam.

      Once you give the Marxists complete control over energy, you are finished.

      They no longer need to confiscate your guns because they control your energy – they now have a string of barbed wire tied around your vitals, and if you step out of line they will just give you a strong yank and you will fall back into line.

      Then there is the strong probability that they will screw it up – like they have done with grid-connected wind and solar power. The probability of incompetence and graft is ~100%.

      Governments have far too much power and control now – and politicians generally are the most corrupt and incompetent people on Earth.

      • “Then there is the strong probability that they will screw it up” No, screwing it up is their intention from the start. Look to Venezuela, tHugo set it up to collapse as soon as he had complete control, and did it in a manner that the people who actually knew how to make it work would be seen to have caused it to fail. Then there is Zimbabwe, Mugabe immediately removed all the people who knew how to run agricultural operations, black as well as white, put his hand picked idiots in charge who immediately mandated massively increased quotas on all farm output. All the while slashing their access to water, fuel, seed stock and fertilizer. Both cases setup to fail from the start. It is what leftists always do and blame everyone else for the failure. Plenty of examples going back to 1919.

        • No major disagreement 2hotel9 – I posted this months ago:

          https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/10/06/claim-judge-kavanaughs-adherence-to-rule-of-law-will-impede-climate-action/#comment-2482376

          Here is how modern politics works:

          The far-left is winning, especially in the developing world, where over 100 countries are pseudo-Marxist dictatorships, based on their leftist phony rhetoric, but are actually just military dictatorships, run for the ruling elite and their armed thugs – see Zimbabwe and Venezuela… and North Korea, Cuba, the Soviet Union countries and many more..

          The left gains political power by promising imbeciles lots of free stuff. Then they destroy the economy, create widespread poverty and live like kings atop a ruined state – because you can’t be kings without lots of peasants.

          It is really no different in the developed world. Get elected by lazy greedy imbeciles, destroy the economy with fake green energy and other crazy policies, and live like kings on top of a ruined economy, looking down on all the peasants.

          • Oh, I have watched all my life. Brings a quote to mind,” I am sorry, I have failed you. In my dying I see you alone, surrounded by enemies and there is nothing I can do to stop it.”

  3. Of course there will be adminstrative costs and people required to run the process and others required to manage them.
    Needless to say when they say the money will be returned to the people, that may not be directly but via ideas the people ‘support’ which by lucky chance will be dear to the progressives hearts.
    Still it will of course have 110% efficiency.

    • Adam Smith

      … proposed the idea of an invisible hand—the tendency of free markets to regulate themselves by means of competition, supply and demand, and self-interest. link

      Messing with that principle almost always fails to work.

      • Thank you Bob – I should have said:
        “EXCEPT FOR ADAM SMITH (1723-1790), when have economists introduced an idea that significantly improved the economy?”

        I have always been a huge fan of Adam Smith, and have a Folio Society reproduction of the 3-volume Third Edition of his great work, “An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of The Wealth of Nations” in my library.

        You might find the following post of interest.

        https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/04/18/texan-professor-is-the-climate-science-settled-it-does-not-matter/comment-page-1/#comment-2795115

        Thank you HotScot,

        I greatly appreciate your reference to all the great Scottish engineers, technologists and medical and other professionals who have contributed in so many ways to the advances of our modern world.

        I would like to also nominate Adam Smith, the great Scottish philosopher and economist (1723-1790).

        Adam Smith was born and raised by his widowed mother in Kirkcaldy. Smith studied at Glasgow and Oxford universities. From 1748 he became one of the circle in Edinburgh which included David Hume. In 1751 he became Professor of Logic at Glasgow University, then Professor of Moral Philosophy in 1752. In 1759 he published his ‘Theory of the Moral Sentiments’. In 1764 he went to France as tutor of Henry Scott, the third Duke of Buccleuch. In 1766 he returned to Kirkcaldy. In 1776 his ‘Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of The Wealth of Nations’ was published. He died in Edinburgh and was buried in the Canongate Churchyard.

        My friend Bob Lamond, who was born in Kirkcaldy, proudly flies the Scottish flag over his home in Calgary. Adam Smith’s grave was restored with £10,000 donated by Bob. I remember Bob telling me there was a statue in Edinburgh of Karl Marx but no statue to Adam Smith, and he and others, especially the Adam Smith Institute, were going to rectify that deplorable situation.

        The statue to Adam Smith was unveiled on the Royal Mile in Edinburgh on 4th of July 2008.
        https://www.adamsmith.org/the-adam-smith-statue/

        Yours aye, Allan

        • Further evidence that Marxists, who dominate our media, educational institutions and civil service, are scoundrels and imbeciles. It is long past time to muck out the stables.

          Regards, Allan

          https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/07/26/shocker-national-geographic-admits-they-were-wrong-about-starving-polar-bear-video/#comment-2416099

          According to wiki, “An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations” is the second-most-cited book in the social sciences published before 1950, behind Karl Marx’s “Das Kapital”

          Given that the followers of Marx killed about 130 million of their own people in the 20th Century, does anyone else find it distressing that “Das Kapital” is cited more often than “The Wealth of Nations”?

          Does this reflect the nature of our current crop of academics, that they think it is OK to follow the teachings of Karl Marx, who was a monster in his private life and created mega-killers though his teachings?

          Can’t anyone learn from history? Do we have to do this all over again?

          Life is precious – it is the greatest possible gift – but it is all too often destroyed by scoundrels and imbeciles.

          Regards to all, Allan

        • https://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/07/01/new-association-to-push-for-common-sense-on-scottish-climate-energy-policy/#comment-858173

          Following are a few quotations from the great Scottish economist Adam Smith.

          I challenge the leftists to quote anything of similar clarity of intellect and proven effectiveness from the Marxist school – whether it be Groucho, Chico, Gummo, Zeppo or Karl.

          http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/a/adam_smith.html

          All money is a matter of belief.
          Adam Smith

          Consumption is the sole end and purpose of all production; and the interest of the producer ought to be attended to, only so far as it may be necessary for promoting that of the consumer.
          Adam Smith

          Great ambition, the desire of real superiority, of leading and directing, seems to be altogether peculiar to man, and speech is the great instrument of ambition.
          Adam Smith

          Happiness never lays its finger on its pulse.
          Adam Smith

          I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good.
          Adam Smith

          It is not by augmenting the capital of the country, but by rendering a greater part of that capital active and productive than would otherwise be so, that the most judicious operations of banking can increase the industry of the country.
          Adam Smith

          It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest.
          Adam Smith

          Labour was the first price, the original purchase – money that was paid for all things. It was not by gold or by silver, but by labour, that all wealth of the world was originally purchased.
          Adam Smith

          Little else is requisite to carry a state to the highest degree of opulence from the lowest barbarism but peace, easy taxes, and a tolerable administration of justice: all the rest being brought about by the natural course of things.
          Adam Smith

          Man is an animal that makes bargains: no other animal does this – no dog exchanges bones with another.
          Adam Smith

          No complaint… is more common than that of a scarcity of money.
          Adam Smith

          No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable.
          Adam Smith

        • https://wattsupwiththat.com/2018/07/26/shocker-national-geographic-admits-they-were-wrong-about-starving-polar-bear-video/#comment-2415206

          [excerpt]

          This video by Stefan Molyneux describes Karl Marx as an incompetent, dishonest, cheating, thieving, repulsive, hypocritical and parasitic POS.

          In summary, Stefan describes “Das Kapital” by Marx as “a diet book with Jabba the Hutt on the cover”. He was being kind to Marx – the man was a despicable rat.
          https://youtu.be/yA2lCBJu2Gg

          It is ironic that Marx’s tomb is (to some) a shrine in London, where he died in exile. The tomb was relocated and a bust erected of Marx in 1956 by the Communist Party of Great Britain.
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomb_of_Karl_Marx

          IN THE 20TH CENTURY, THE FOLLOWERS OF MARX IN THE SOVIET UNION AND CHINA KILLED ABOUT 130 MILLION OF THEIR OWN PEOPLE.

        • And Burton Malkiel! He wrote “A Random Walk Down Wall Street” which popularized the efficient market hypothesis (EMH) from University of Chicago professor William Sharp. From this concept, index funds were born, saving investors untold billions of dollars of money management fees.

      • Beat me to it, Garland 😉
        The reason so few economists introduce ideas that improve the economy, is because it is not possible. They introduce ideas that can temporarily increase supply or demand, but at a longer term cost.
        Economics is the “dismal science”, because there is no free lunch. Everything that is done, to subsidize production, or demand, distorts the market in a way that decreases it’s efficiency.
        What can be done is to specify how much damage distortions in the market cause. This can expose how much damage bad government policy does to the market, and how much it costs us to intentionally make ourselves poorer, in order to virtue signal to specific political group.

        • I initiated the move to new Royalty terms in the Alberta oilsands, and co-initiated the move to new tax terms, both through the Syncrude Management Committee. They were my ideas. The tax terms consisted of 100% CCA rate for new projects and major expansions. The new Royalty terms provided for a very low Royalty until the investor received simple payout. This was done decades before Trump’s new tax deal.

          These proposals were adopted by the Alberta and Canadian governments and resulted in $250 billion in new capital investment in the oilsands and 500,000 new jobs across Canada.
          To compare the significance of this move to a larger country like the USA, imagine $2.5 trillion in new capital investments and 5,000,000 new jobs.

          The oilsands were improved from a marginal resource, with barely break-even economics, to the mainstay of the Alberta and Canadian economies for about two decades.

          Canada became the most prosperous country in the G8 and the 6th largest oil producer in the world and the largest supplier of foreign crude to the USA.

          In both cases, the key was that the time value of money to government is not that important, whereas the time value of money to an investor is paramount. Governments would be well-advised to consider this fact, and re-think their counterproductive corporate taxes that are based on Profits (with slow write-off/depreciation of Capital), rather than on Net Cash Flow (with same-year write-off of capital as per Trump’s new deal).

  4. Recipe for control:

    1) choose something everyone MUST consume, and which everything uses, like water or air
    2) tax that thing using broad language in the bill
    3) raise and expand the taxes without bound

  5. Whenever someone supports taxation of their own products, the first question you should ask yourself is “what’s in it for them?”. Fortunately the answer is right there in the article:

    Once the CLC’s carbon tax plan is adopted, all other regulations and subsidies aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions, e.g., automobile fuel efficiency and renewable portfolio standards, are supposed to be permanently repealed.

    So, in return for taking a tax hit on their products, the oil and coal companies get the government support to literally everything that competes with them shut off. Wind and solar farms would instantly collapse, the price of electric cars would shoot up, and auto manufacturers would start building for safety and comfort first instead of light weight and flimsy to meet fuel efficiency standards. The oil and coal companies get to go arm in arm with the politicians in a giant virtue signalling campaign while destroying every direct and indirect competitor they have.

    I’m anti-renewables and pro-fossil fuels, but I’m even more against this kind of manipulation of the public. and the economy.

  6. “The CLC cites a 2018 study that finds that 70 percent of American households would receive more in dividend payments than they would pay in increased energy prices.”

    Creators of this lunacy assume that folks in that 30% category (the wealthy, who will pay more tax and get nothing back, like Obamacare) will just accept it. Laughable. If/when the tax is initiated, these wealthy folks will simply spend most of their time outside the US, in some country that doesn’t tax their energy use. And when that happens, the people on the low end might break even while the middle will suffer the fate that was intended for the wealthy. Then out come the yellow vests.

  7. My friend the high-level energy sector economist at GAO keeps trying calmly and patiently to convince me a carbon tax is a “win-win” innocuous approach to glow-bull warming. Very smart guy. But once you get on that big tit dispensing the statist Kool-Aid, surrounded by the cadre of gummint functionaries growing fat, dumb and happy, you’re hooked for keeps.

  8. There’s economics and then there’s economics.

    There is the economics that we know as the “dismal science.” It is about the optimal deployment of scarce resources.

    Then there is the economics that facilitates totalitarianism. Climate Change economics is a component of this.

  9. The cost of compliance, accounting, avoidance, policing, judicial process etc. etc. are always going to be a nett social loss and are seldom considered – but all too frequently consume vast portions of the tax.

    There is no such thing as a nett sum zero in taxation.

    Any attempt to spin greater returns than the tax itself is simply fraud.

    • Ken Irwin: “There is no such thing as a net sum zero in taxation.”

      True – there are costs incurred for every government monetary transaction whether debit or credit. There will be costs in collecting this tax and costs in distributing it. Maybe that’s what they mean when they call it a “win-win” for the government.

  10. Collecting a tax from all in order to distribute more in dividends to everyone. Wow.

    A perpetual machine of sorts, this is an implicit claim for “financial over-unity”.

    Equivalent to cut my cat’s tail to make him a meal.

  11. How long will these low carbon types deny that nuclear power, especially the advanced small modular reactors
    using molten salt technology, will dominate future energy production ? Not only are they intrinsically safer than any form of energy production, but also cheaper (levelized costs less than $44 per MWhr) and able to operate both as a baseload as well as a load following generator, reducing the need for peak load fossil fuel generators. They will commercialize during the mid to late 2020’s. There is no reason to rush to install inferior forms of energy production, which will get tossed in the ashcan when these advanced SMRs take over.
    I am especially disgusted with the inability of our energy experts to utilize the enormous residual thermal energy available (for free) in spent uranium fuel (“nuclear wastes”) – stored in casks in Death Valley, this spent fuel could provide a nearly inexhaustible source of thermal power to desalinate Pacific Ocean water for the entire West Coast.

    • Lots of hype there kent, still not real world examples of “advanced small modular reactors using molten salt technology” in commercial operations (so your blather about how they are cheaper, etc is just so much hot air. Shame we can’t harness that hot air into energy, we wouldn’t need the molten salt reactors if we could).

      Look I agree that the technology sounds promising (but then what vaporware doesn’t) and would love to see it work out in the real world, but your spamming this forum about it in every post you make doesn’t alter the fact that it’s not in operation yet, and (ignoring conspiracy theories) there are probably simple, mundane, practical reasons dealing with costs and viability why that is so

      They will commercialize during the mid to late 2020’s.

      well, finally (after how many posts from you about this subject?), some kind of prediction as to when this vaporware will appear. It’s not the mid-2020s yet so blaming people for not considering something that doesn’t exist and won’t for several years (at the least) yet seems rather disingenuous.

      There is no reason to rush to install inferior forms of energy production, which will get tossed in the ashcan when these advanced SMRs take over.

      Um, yes there is. People need energy *NOW*, they can’t wait years for your unicorn to show it’s horn. While I agree that rushing for failed unreliable technologies (wind and solar) isn’t the wisest of moves, it’s still better than sitting on ones hands waiting years for something that might not ever come. Once your MSR finally shows up in commercial operation and shows itself to have lived up to the hype *THEN* you can talk about how stupid it is to choose the alternative. But until then, it’s not stupid to choose an existing technology over a non-existing one. You can get energy from something that exists, you get nothing (other than a lot of hype) from something that doesn’t.

      • One reason to install “inferior” forms of production is that have been field tested. They took the licking and didn’t “keep on ticking” but didn’t throw parts all over the country side, chop up a bunch of eagles, etc.

        https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2011/mar/21/pro-nuclear-japan-fukushima

        You will be surprised to hear how they have changed it. As a result of the disaster at Fukushima, I am no longer nuclear-neutral. I now support the technology.

        A crappy old plant with inadequate safety features was hit by a monster earthquake and a vast tsunami. The electricity supply failed, knocking out the cooling system. The reactors began to explode and melt down. The disaster exposed a familiar legacy of poor design and corner-cutting. Yet, as far as we know, no one has yet received a lethal dose of radiation.

        Some greens have wildly exaggerated the dangers of radioactive pollution. For a clearer view, look at the graphic published by xkcd.com. It shows that the average total dose from the Three Mile Island disaster for someone living within 10 miles of the plant was one 625th of the maximum yearly amount permitted for US radiation workers. This, in turn, is half of the lowest one-year dose clearly linked to an increased cancer risk, which, in its turn, is one 80th of an invariably fatal exposure. I’m not proposing complacency here. I am proposing perspective.

        I love that a professional opinion-leader in a world grade Newspaper is citing a blogger who doesn’t even do essays, but cartoons. YAY! for XKCD

  12. “Taxpayers in the bottom income quintile would average a net tax cut of 4.4 percent of pretax income while those in the middle quintile would receive a net tax cut of 0.3 percent of pretax income.”

    Another “free money” scheme. They always sound good when the politicians and propaganda ministry explain it. And we wonder why the Public Schools have been dumbing down the masses.

    The first group essentially pays no income tax so 4.4% of nuttin is…? For the post 1990 Public School graduates the answer is nuttin! And the second group promised to receive 30 dollars on every 1000 of Pretax income pay close attention to what they do to your disposable income after applying after tax accounting schemes.

    Now both groups need to wonder what is going to happen to their COST OF LIVING when their goods and services are price adjusted for the increased costs of energy. The only people who will benefit from this crooked grab our politicians and bureaucrats, Green Groups on the Government Dole and Energy Companies and them with equity holdings. They would all be taxpayers in the upper quintile.

  13. I despair of my country if the majority of the population believes that funneling 20 or 30 or 100 dollars a ton of carbon to the government will result in the same amount of money coming back to their pockets. Since when has government handling of money been “frictionless.”

  14. Sens. Jeff Flake and Chris Coons introduce bipartisan carbon tax bill

    https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/policy/energy/sens-jeff-flake-and-chris-coons-to-introduce-bipartisan-carbon-tax-bill

    “Sens. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Chris Coons, D-Del., on Wednesday introduced a carbon tax bill to combat climate change, just days before the end of the current session of Congress.

    The bill is similar to bipartisan legislation introduced in the House last month that would tax carbon emissions and return the proceeds to American households as a dividend.

    The House version was the first bipartisan carbon tax legislation introduced in nearly a decade.

    That bill has eight co-sponsors, including Republican Reps. Francis Rooney of Florida, Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, and Dave Trott of Michigan, along with Rep. Ted Deutch of Florida, the Democratic co-chair of the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus.

    Both the House and Senate bills would impose a tax of $15 per ton of carbon dioxide in 2019, increasing $10 each year, rising to nearly $100 per ton by 2030.

    The legislation distributes all of the proceeds from the tax as a flat monthly rebate to American households.

    Despite their poor chances of passage anytime soon, the bills represent an increasing willingness from at least some Republicans to address global warming and risk the wrath of many conservatives who view any form of carbon pricing as a tax increase. ”

    Well a CO2 tax IS a tax increase. It’s not going to fly here in the United States.

    I sure am glad Jeff Flake will only be in Washington DC a couple of more weeks. What’s funny is he is so arrogant and disconnected that he thinks he will make a good presidential candidate. You will have zero chance, Jeff.

    Let’s say there is a homeless guy living in his car who actually has a job he has to drive to on a daily basis, which means he has to pay for gasoline that has increased in price because of the CO2 tax. So how does the government reach this guy to pay him back for the extra money he spent getting back and forth to work? Assuming he can afford to drive after the CO2 tax is imposed.

    How will the author’s of the CO2 tax prevent all the businesses that are affected by the tax from raising their prices to the public? Will the government compensate the public for these increased costs also?

    How much will US GDP decrease as a result of the CO2 tax?

    And they want to do all this even though there is no evidence that CO2 is changing the way the Earth’s weather behaves.

    The Inmates have escaped the asylum and are trying to impose CO2 taxes on the rest of us.

    • Despite their poor chances of passage anytime soon, the bills represent an increasing willingness from at least some Republicans RINOs

      there, fixed that

  15. Hmmm…What happens to an economy which relies on fossil fuels, which are in fact, the cheapest, most reliable fuels when it decides to punish “carbon”? Well, for one, you can wave goodbye to heavy industry as it flees to more hospitable shores like China, among others. Transportation costs will rise as well as the cost of electricity, forcing the prices for pretty much everything to rise. The inflationary effects, as well as the loss of heavy industry will have a devastating effect on the economy, possibly pushing it into a recession (or worse). The money given back to people would only partially offset this. Then there would be the effect of a push away from fossil fuel-generated (especially coal), and towards Unreliables, notably wind and solar. If you like your electricity, you can keep your electricity, yeah.

  16. If you were part of a longstanding UN group trying to figure out how to enact wealth transfers from rich, capitalist countries, to countries which are too corrupt and too socialist to have functioning economies of their own, you’d need a massive activist effort, and a way to get governments on board.

    Activists want to save the world, and governments want to raise taxes. Both governments and corporate interest love infrastructure projects. Scientists love adulation and grant funding. Maybe something there could get something started. People in the media love sensationalism and to make fun of conservatives. Lot’s of rich liberals like to feel guilty about oppressing poor people halfway around the world that they’ve never met.

    Hmm. Nothing comes to mind. Maybe I’ll think of something later.

  17. Big government supporters love carbon taxes for the same reason they love value added taxes. Both are low visibility ways to raise taxes to burdensome levels. Better yet, business gets blamed for the price increases caused by rising taxes.

    Carbon taxes have been around since before I was a college freshman in 1971. They were discussed in economics classes as a means to collect taxes. An “attribute” then was the potential to collect huge amount$ of taxe$ via a small percentage levy on hydrocarbons. Potential tax collections were, and are, huge because hydrocarbons are used so broadly–from generating electricity to growing food, to making clothes and packaging products … . Furthermore, the levy is obscured by the costs of the myriad raw materials, labor, transportation, capital and other inputs needed to produce and deliver goods and services to the public.

    This combination almost certainly remains a major appeal to those seeking low visibility ways to raise taxes. Big government supporters need big tax collections. They may try to dupe the public that a new tax will forever be earmarked for a specific publicly acceptable purpose. But, this rarely, if ever, becomes reality. Examples include turnpike tolls which politicians promised would be eliminated when construction costs were paid off. Another example is gasoline taxes which were to be used to maintain roadways, but have instead been diverted to other purposes.

  18. I got to the names Baker and Schultz and knew all I needed to. Nothing these two have ever done was of any benefit to America or the human race in general. They are the very definition of what is wrong in all of this. As for “economists”, until you present me one who has created and operated a successful business I will not listen to what any of them have to say.

      • If you have an actual college education and “have” to clip coupons you need a better job. Malls are hiring “cops” every day! 😉

  19. From the Tax Policy Center: “Second, with projected annual federal deficits of nearly $1 trillion and growing, there is also a compelling fiscal case for a carbon tax as a new revenue source for the federal government.”

  20. “The CLC cites a 2018 study that finds that 70 percent of American households would receive more in dividend payments than they would pay in increased energy prices. ”

    Are these the same economists and accountants behind the now-revoked solar surplus credits in CA? Or the ones behind “reduced” O’Care healthcare premiums (some $4k annual average for a family) now at a 60% increase instead?

    Yup. All the more need to push back on absolutely everything that comes out of this corrupt climate movement. “Give them an inch…” Hold fast against this to force a budget cut and possible debt solutions (ha ha – can we at least beg that they think about it?).

    Or how about the concept of tying dollars to real problems?

  21. From the goodness of their alleged hearts, they are going to raise our taxes.
    Increase government size and intervention.
    Siphon off funds to pay for government workers, monitoring, research and write additional regulations and penalties…

    These are the same kinds of folks that tell others to “give up buying Starbucks coffees every day” as a method to “pay” for their ideas.
    Several times I’ve shocked these entitled nutcases b pointing out that I don’t buy Starbucks coffees any day of the week. I can not afford to pay Starbucks one third to one half the cost of a pound of coffee.

    Then they’re doubly shocked when people applaud and stamp their feet; “Doesn’t everyone buy Starbucks coffees every day?”

    They’re also called heartless jerks, virtue signalling with other people’s money.

  22. Revenue neutral my ears. Since when do governments levy taxes for free? WHat, in fact is the point? The puepose is to reduce CO2 production by making people poorer.

  23. This reminds me of what my wife told me when she was doing studies to be an accountant, one of the subjects she had to do was economics which she said was nothing more than saying the same thing in different and numerous ways the more the better economist you’d become.It didn’t change the data you just kept repeating it over and over.

    James Bull

  24. This scheme reminds me of the effort to get horses to eat sawdust. A person starts by putting just a little bit of sawdust in the morning ration of hay. Each day one makes the proportion of sawdust just a bit larger. Usually, just about the time one has the horse on a near 100% ration of sawdust, the darned horse dies.

  25. –“Finally, the linchpin of CLC’s plan is that all of the proceeds from the carbon tax would be divided equally among U.S. citizens and returned as an annual lump-sum directly to them.”–

    So the idea is to make hydrocarbons more expensive but give everyone back a subsidy from the tax…to go buy the more expensive hydrocarbons?
    Brilliant!

  26. While the concept of revenue neutral carbon taxes for addressing the problem of man-made climate change is beloved by most economists, the idea that they are “a popular and even populist solution” may be a bit premature.

    Wall street LOVES volatility when their profit goes with ‘electronic seconds deals.’

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