Forbes editor William Baldwin has an interesting idea:
“An inconvenient truth, not adequately addressed by Al Gore in his movie, is that environmentalism makes life complicated. If SUVs are bad and wind power is good, then we must levy a tax on gas-guzzlers and hand out tax credits for windmills. Those in the business of selling windmills are very happy with this arrangement . . . but in no time our fears of global warming have caused our economy to become littered with subsidies, credits, deductions, tax surcharges, earmarks and research boondoggles. Here’s a way to make life simpler: Chuck out all energy legislation, replacing it with a one-sentence statute that levies a tax on carbon emissions. Let’s do it big–30 cents a pound. So that people can adjust, start it at 1 cent and increment the tax by a penny a year from now to 2036.”
No more CAFE standards or ethanol subsidies, quoth he.
He has a great idea, but it’s vulnerable to the same kind of criticism that naysayers here in Illinois have leveled whenever someone proposes raising the state income tax to pay for education, allowing local property taxes to be reduced: How do you make sure the property taxes actually come down?
Same here: How do you make sure the regulations and subsidies actually get undone? And stay undone, with ADM lobbyists everywhere?