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How to Sell a (Carbon) Tax to Conservatives

Weekly Standard : “If progressives actually wanted to avert the various catastrophes that environmentalists say are inevitable without serious policy action … there are ways they could help sell a carbon tax to the right.”  

“If the left convincingly made the case that they are willing to give up new revenue, new regulations, and new resource development restrictions to make it happen, conservative support for a carbon tax is within the realm of possibility.”  

“For those on the right who do support a carbon tax … a primary attraction is the opportunity to use carbon tax revenues to cut taxes on productive activity, like labor and investment, and instead substitute a price on externalities that hurt the public.”  

“A carbon tax, properly constructed, could encourage energy producers to find the lowest-cost ways to reduce carbon dioxide emissions while leveling the playing field for energy sources like nuclear, wind, solar, and hydro. A first step might be for the EPA to allow states flexibility to pursue their own carbon taxes in lieu of subjecting themselves to new greenhouse gas regulation. Such an approach could prove a hugely attractive political option for Republican office-seekers, who would be able to promise cuts to state income, property, or sales taxes, while giving the boot to EPA busybodies.”  

“But all of these possibilities would require those on the left to come to the table by giving up their own dreams of recycling carbon tax proceeds into ‘green jobs’ schemes and other boondoggles beloved of progressives.”

Topics: wonk-wire