Carbon taxes will do nothing for revenues or climate, but will hurt job and economic growth
Average planetary temperatures haven’t budged in 16 years. Hurricanes and strong tornadoes are at or near their lowest ebb in decades. Global sea ice is back to normal, Arctic ice is nearly normal, and the Antarctic icepack continues to grow. The rate of sea level rise remains what it was in 1900.
And yet, President Obama and many politicians, newscasters and alarmist scientists continue to insist that carbon dioxide emissions are changing Earth’s climate, and we need to take immediate action to prevent storms like Hurricane Sandy and avert catastrophes predicted by IPCC computer models and alleged “scientific consensus.” Not surprisingly, polls show public support for controlling CO2 output and taxing hydrocarbon use – to “ensure climate security” and “save vital federal programs” from budgetary axes.
As the liberal lobby Think Progress put it, people “overwhelmingly” prefer a carbon tax on “big polluters” versus cuts in favorite programs “like education, Social Security, Medicare and environmental protection.”
Five-alarm climate claims, skewed polling questions and phony taxes-versus-grandma budget alternatives will almost always ensure support for carbon taxes – especially among Bigger Government and Ban Fossil Fuels constituencies. More rational analysis reveals that dreams of hundred-billion-dollar windfalls from slapping regressive new taxes on job creation and economic growth are nothing more than dangerous tax revenue hallucinations. They would bring intense pain for no climate or economic gain.
Employing Energy Information Administration data, a recent Heritage Foundation study by economists David Kreutzer and Nicolas Loris found that a tax starting at $25-per-ton of CO2 emitted and increasing by 5% per year would cut a family of four’s income by $1,400 annually, raise their utility bills by $500 a year, and increase gasoline fill-ups by up to 50 cents per gallon. That’s $2,000 a year chopped from their budget for food, vacations, home and car payments and repairs, college and retirement savings, dental and medical care, and overall quality of life.
Even “millionaire” families making $200,000 a year would find such a hit painful. While the poorest families might get some offsetting tax relief, most would get nothing – nor would employers.
Carbon taxes would thus increase the likelihood that many breadwinners will end up unemployed, since the tax would raise business energy costs dramatically, force companies to trim hours and/or employees, and result in an aggregate loss of at least 1 million jobs by 2016, Heritage notes. That would bring more home foreclosures, greater stress, reduced nutrition, and more strokes and heart attacks, especially for older workers whose odds of finding new employment are increasingly bleak.
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