A Tax A Conservative Could Love?

by Stuart Shapiro

OK, a conservative economist, not a conservative politician, but still?  Irwin Stelzer, an economist at the conservative Hudson Institute, has written a paper entitled, “Carbon Taxes: An Opportunity For Conservatives?” Hahn and Passell summarize the main point:

Still, the idea of a carbon tax has a lot going for it. The tax would raise revenue - perhaps a lot of revenue -- that could be used to offset other, less efficient taxes (like the payroll and corporate income taxes) or to reduce the budget deficit. It would harness market forces to the task of transitioning to carbon-saving technologies. And it would restore American leadership in what eventually must be a global effort to cope with climate change.

Of course, the politics are impossible.  The idea combines two things that paleo-conservatives do not believe in, taxes and climate change.  Still, the fact that there are some conservative thinkers out there discussing this is enough to warm one’s heart (if the CO2 in the atmosphere wasn’t already doing so).

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