CARBON TAX CENTER
Daniel Rosenblum, Co-Director • 914-837-3956 • firstname.lastname@example.org
Charles Komanoff, Co-Director • 212-260-5237 • email@example.com
OPEN DOOR TO CONSIDERATION OF REVENUE-NEUTRAL CARBON TAX
NEW YORK (May 7, 2008)
Voters yesterday rejected Senator Hillary Clinton’s proposed gas tax “holiday” and, with it, the idea that energy taxes are political poison. The resounding victory in North Carolina and unexpectedly strong showing in Indiana by Senator Barack Obama, the only presidential candidate to oppose the Clinton-McCain tax holiday, could open the door to consideration of a revenue-neutral carbon tax.
While not every election serves as a referendum on a particular policy issue, yesterday’s clearly did. The proposal to suspend the federal gasoline tax this summer was the major policy issue distinguishing Senator Clinton from Senator Obama between the April 22 Pennsylvania primary and today. The issue received extensive media coverage due to both senators’ focus on it amid widespread concern over gasoline prices. [Update – As the New York Times noted this morning, "In both states, the candidates’ final arguments centered on a summertime suspension of the federal gasoline tax, which Mrs. Clinton proposed as an economic lift for voters and Mr. Obama derided as a political gimmick."] In rebuffing Senator Clinton’s quick and simplistic fix, voters demonstrated that they will consent to a tax when it advances important economic, environmental and national security priorities.
“Voters sent a powerful message yesterday that they are not willing to sacrifice the environmental and economic benefits of the gasoline tax for trivial, short-term benefits,” said Daniel Rosenblum, co-director of the Carbon Tax Center. “Voters in Indiana and North Carolina have driven a spike through the conventional wisdom that supporting a tax is political suicide. The path is cleared for consideration of a revenue-neutral carbon tax-and-dividend approach that cost-effectively reduces greenhouse gas emissions, strengthens the economy, reduces America’s dangerous dependence on foreign oil and returns the tax proceeds to all Americans through monthly dividends,” Rosenblum said.
“These past few weeks, Sen. Obama has stood up for energy prices that tell the truth about climate damage and national insecurity,” said Charles Komanoff, co-director of the Carbon Tax Center. “The voters have rewarded Obama’s political courage and sent a clear signal to Washington that they support price incentives to conserve oil and curb carbon emissions,” Komanoff added.
As Senator Obama stated in his North Carolina victory speech last night, “the American people are not looking for more spin. They’re looking for honest answers to the challenges we face.” An honest answer to the climate change challenge includes truth in energy pricing.
The Carbon Tax Center is a non-profit educational organization launched in 2007 to give voice to Americans who believe that taxing emissions of carbon dioxide — the primary greenhouse gas — is imperative to reduce global warming. Co-founders Charles Komanoff and Daniel Rosenblum bring to CTC a combined six decades of experience in economics, law, public policy and social change.
James Handley says
Thankfully, Obama’s refusal to stoop to Clinton and McCain’s pandering seems to have helped him — he’s shown willingness to tell voters at least one "inconvenient truth" and has gained the high ground.
The truth about fossil fuel prices isn’t just that we shouldn’t revoke the (relatively small) federal gasoline tax (which funds highways).
We’re paying a tiny fraction of the full costs of fossil fuels if subsidies, pollution-engendered disease, oil spills, oil wars and future costs of climate instability and resulting loss of life, land and food supplies are considered.
"The Real Cost of Gasoline" by the International Center For Technology Assessment concluded that fuel prices reflect between 1/5 and 1/10 of their costs when these "takings" from others, damage to the environment and harm to future generations are included. Lethal cyclones (whose cost is immeasurable) like those in SE Asia are just an early taste of climate chaos.
I hope the door has indeed been opened to a political discussion of a gradually-increasing revenue-neutral carbon tax with dividend, so fossil fuel prices begin to tell more of the truth and our dynamic economy begins the shift towards energy conservation and renewable energy. British Columbia is leading the way.
North East History says
At least he is telling the truth compared to the rest, with an attitude like that I am sure it will help reduce carbon by a lot.
If the US want to move more towards renewable then it will happen better than anywhere in the world, Im sure that better returns will happen once more money is pumped in.
Gyro Davis says
I just shake my head at all of this. If you look past his poetic words on his economic plan, you will find a massive spending spree at our expense. In his economic plan, he wants to raise your capital gains tax to over 30%, raise your income tax, raise social security tax, etc. Don’t forget he wants to put a windfall tax on those corporations making a big profit. You must ask yourself this question, will this improve anything? If you want to know, just do some research into our past. It was not too long ago when the capital gains tax was 30%. Everyday people who invest their own after-tax dollars into retirement accounts were being taxed at 30%. Do you think the government should take 30 cents of every dollar you make?
Did you know corporations do not pay taxes? We the people do, we are the ones that pay for their products and services and they have the imbedded taxes in those products and services. If this windfall profits law is passed, the corporations will pass that cost on to us. That means we will pay more. It’s not a new concept, actually it has been like this for decades.
If you’re wondering, no, I’m not being paid by big oil companies to say this. I love it when people try to question Obama and get called racists and black haters.