I’m hoping this meeting that prominent Republicans had with White House officials goes nowhere. Their intention was to push the idea of a carbon tax.
Yes, these Republicans – including former Treasury secretaries Hank Paulson and James Baker, former George H. W. Bush and Ronald Reagan administration officials, and others – met with Trump administration officials to try to sell them on the idea of taxing carbon emissions to help save the planet from global warming.
“Climate change poses an unacceptable risk to our climate and to our economy,” Paulson said in a statement. “Putting a price on carbon is by far the most efficient and effective way to restrict emissions.”
Even Baker said that he is “somewhat of a skeptic about the extent to which man is responsible for climate change,” but that the “risks are too great to ignore.”
Mitt Romney tweeted out that this carbon tax idea is a “thought-provoking plan from highly respected conservatives to both strengthen the economy and confront climate risks.”
Part of the idea is that this carbon tax would replace a slew of environmental regulations.
The blueprint involves a $40 tax on every metric ton of carbon dioxide released by burning fossil fuels, with the price climbing over time. To avoid an undue burden on the poor from the higher energy bills that would result, the projected $200 billion to $300 billion in annual revenue would be redistributed to households in the form of quarterly checks from the Social Security Administration. Families of four would see an average annual payout of $2,000 under the plan.
The proposal also calls for border adjustments that would act to hike the costs of products imported from countries that do not put a price on carbon.
Martin Feldstein, who headed former President Ronald Reagan’s Council of Economic Advisers, said the tax would be imposed at the point fossil fuels enter the economy, such as when oil leaves the refinery or coal leaves the mine. “The tax at the source is then built in to the prices of the products made from that raw material,” Feldstein said.
Some members of this group – who have called themselves the Climate Leadership Council – have expressed skepticism that a carbon tax would go over well with this administration. Even if there are a few Republicans in the House and Senate who’d be for a carbon tax, it would be too damaging in this current political climate (no pun intended) to advocate for such a tax. But, you never know.
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