A Tax Everyone Can Love (But No One Actually Does)

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Doyle McManus writes today that a carbon tax would promote efficiency, reduce air pollution, slow climate change, and increase energy independence. What’s more, conservative economists like the idea:

If it were part of a “revenue neutral” deal, in which all the taxes that came in were returned to the taxpayers some other way, it wouldn’t cost a nickel. If it were part of a revenue-raising deal, in which some of the taxes didn’t come back, it could help cut the federal deficit and reduce the national debt.

So let’s consider this a test of the American political system: How long can Congress resist an idea this good?

How long indeed? Let’s allow McManus himself to answer the question:

Until 2011, there was at least one conservative champion of a carbon tax in the House, Rep. Bob Inglis (R-S.C.). But Inglis was defeated in the 2010 GOP primary by a tea party candidate who criticized him for believing in global warming. “I really am the worst commercial for this idea,” said Inglis, who now runs a think tank promoting the carbon tax. “There are lots of Republicans [in Congress] who know better … but they’re not going to come out of their foxholes until they think it’s safe.”

Okey doke. Last year there were about 240 Republican House members. A grand total of one (1) supported a carbon tax. For this, he was primaried and lost. Today the number of Republican House members who support a carbon tax stands at zero (0).

So how long can Congress resist an idea this good? Probably a good long time.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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