From Tom Friedman’s column this week:
Advocates of cap-and-trade argue that it is preferable to a simple carbon tax because it fixes a national cap on carbon emissions and it “hides the ball” — it doesn’t use the word “tax” — even though it amounts to one. So it can get through Congress. That was true as long as no one thought cap-and-trade could ever pass, but now that it might under Mr. Obama, opponents are not playing hide the ball anymore.Since it appears that the NYT has run out of dictionaries and their Internet connection is down this week, let me provide a few common definitions of the word “tax”:
In the past two weeks, you could hear a chorus of Republicans, coal-state Democrats, right-wing think tanks and enviro-skeptics all singing the same tune: “Cap-and-trade is a tax.” …
Since the opponents of cap-and-trade are going to pillory it as a tax anyway, why not go for the real thing — a simple, transparent, economy-wide carbon tax?
tax. Money paid to the government other than for transaction-specific goods and services. — WikitionaryHere is an old Reuters story about the cap-and-trade plan:
tax. n. (14th century). 1a.a charge usually of money imposed by authority on persons or property for public purposes. — Merriam-Webster Dictionary
tax. 1. a. A compulsory contribution to the support of government, levied on persons, property, income, commodities, transactions, etc., now at fixed rates, mostly proportional to the amount on which the contribution is levied. — Oxford English Dictionary.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama's estimate of $646 billion in revenue for the first years of a carbon-capping program to curb climate change is realistic or possibly a little low, policy analysts said on Thursday.It appears that one of the prerogatives of a pundit is to say that red is green and expect people to believe it. This is nearly as Orwellian as “love is hate.”
Obama's budget for 2010 projects this revenue, from 2012 through 2019, will fund $150 billion in clean energy technology investments over 10 years and a tax credit to help Americans make the transition to a less carbon-intensive economy.
Compelling $600+ billion in payments to enable other spending does not “amount to” a tax: it is a tax. The regressive nature of the wealth transfer is worth debating, but there are more fundamental issues. The regulation will distort the market, and create a government addiction to that distortion and the associated tax revenues.
In normal circumstances, a tax increase of a half-trillion dollars annually would be a cause for alarm. But it appears that today too many voters are inured to such excesses.