Vitter and Pompeo: Carbon Tax…Just Say No
In the bubble of the Washington Beltway, key players are eager to stem the so-called “fiscal cliff.” Meanwhile, various special interests continue the murmur of using a “carbon tax” as part of the negotiations, or to use as a revenue raiser (i.e., tax increase) within the context of future tax reform.
Yesterday, Senator David Vitter (R-LA) and Congressman Mike Pompeo (R-KS), incoming ranking member of the important Senate Environment & Public Works Committee and member Energy & Commerce Committee respectfully, plan to introduce a concurrent resolution in both chambers expressing the sense of Congress “that a carbon tax is not in the economic interests of the United States.”
As Senator Vitter notes, “There’s a lot of talk in Washington about raising taxes, and finding ‘revenues’ in creative ways, to avoid going over the fiscal cliff. But a carbon tax — which would force more financial hardship upon family budgets, energy consumers and jobs seekers — needs to be completely taken off the table.” And Congressman Pompeo stated “A carbon tax would be disastrous to our nation’s economy by driving up energy prices and increasing the cost of everything built in America, as well consumer goods purchased by every American.”
Advocates of the carbon tax discuss the potential for a carbon tax swap that exchanges lower rates and a carbon tax structure put in place that achieves revenue neutrality. As Heritage’s David Kreutzer notes, “But with neutrality, there is no gravy to spread around to all the special interests–and we are talking about hundreds of billions in gravy every year. So revenue neutrality will never happen.”
And exchanging a carbon tax for a reduction of burdensome regulations on carbon dioxide emitters, is a pipe dream too. Kreutzer reminds us of the Waxman-Markey “Cap & Trade” bill from 2009, saying, “That logic may work in PowerPoint-filled rooms at think tanks, but not in the proverbial smoke-filled rooms in Congress. If this logic did carry over, then cap and trade also would have eliminated the need for carbon regulation. Instead of reducing regulations, the cap-and-trade bills added them…Waxman-Markey went on for nearly 700 pages before it even got to cap and trade.”
Perhaps most alarming is the continued assumption by some that a carbon tax would reduce global warming. Heritage’s Nick Loris and Curtis Dubay note that a “reduction in carbon dioxide emissions would yield negligible benefits in terms of temperature reduction”.
Heritage Action applauds Senator Vitter’s and Congressman Pompeo’s efforts and encourages all members of Congress to support their efforts to avoid what Pompeo says is simply an “awful idea”.