Recently, Lawrence Summers, a professor at and past president of Harvard University, wrote this article about why he thinks the United States (or maybe the United Nations) should add a new tax the the people's budgets. When I read it I was just flabbergasted and I had to respond.

Summers: The case for carbon taxes has long been compelling. With the recent steep fall in oil prices and associated declines in other energy prices, it has become overwhelming. There is room for debate about the size of the tax and about how the proceeds should be deployed. But there should be no doubt that, given the current zero tax rate on carbon, increased taxation would be desirable.

Me: There is nothing compelling about taxing one of the most abundant atoms on the planet unless you just like the idea of taking other people's money to pay for your psychotic and illogical ideas on how to run other people's lives. The decline in oil prices does not make the idea of another tax placed on the shoulders of the people overwhelming and the debate on the size of the tax is newspeak for size zero to not be discussed. The idea (premise) that because there is no tax on something (carbon) that it is desirable to place a tax on it is simply a statement without substance and if looked at economically is absurd.

Summers: The core of the case for taxation is the recognition that those who use carbon-based fuels or products do not bear all the costs of their actions. Carbon emissions exacerbate global climate change. In many cases, they contribute to local pollution problems that harm human health. Getting fossil fuels out of the ground involves both accident risks and environmental challenges. And even with the substantial recent increases in U.S. oil production, we remain a net importer. Any increase in our consumption raises our dependence on Middle East producers.

Me: People who use carbon-based fuels do not bear all the costs? This is also economically absurd. He is talking about gasoline that before it can be used must be paid for. Within those costs are all the costs of accidents and government regulations that are imposed on the companies that sell the gasoline. The red herring at the end of this paragraph about oil dependency is just that. If he wanted oil independence he and his left wing party would have allowed oil exploration and extraction on federal lands.

Summers: All of us, when we drive our cars, heat our homes or use fossil fuels in more indirect ways, create these costs without paying for them. It follows that we overuse these fuels. Advocating a carbon tax is not some kind of argument for government planning; it is the logic of the market: That which is not paid for is overused. Even if the government had no need or use for revenue, it could make the economy function better by levying carbon taxes and rebating the money to taxpayers.

Me: Again, I'm no Harvard Professor but all costs are paid for when we purchase a product if the producer of that product is to remain viable. Oil companies are very viable. He then concludes (without any establishment of the fact) that we overuse these fuels. This overlooks the salient point that the reason oil has dropped in price is because of over supply and lack of demand. Ugh, my head is exploding with this idiocy. The statement "[e]ven if government had no need or use for revenue" is so unbelievable it cannot be addressed. This guy is held up as being intelligent yet reality escapes him. Finally, he suggests taxing carbon and then rebating the taxes to taxpayers, which is newspeak for wealth redistribution, would make the economy function better. What?

Summers: While the recent decline in energy prices is a good thing in that it has, on balance, raised the incomes of Americans, it has also exacerbated the problem of energy overuse. The benefit of imposing carbon taxes is therefore enhanced.

Me: Here it is clear he wants to take whatever economic gains we the people obtain from lower gas prices in the form of a tax that will not go away once oil returns to the high levels it recently held.

Summers: On the other side of the ledger, there has always been the concern that a carbon tax would place an unfair burden on some middle- and low-income consumers. Those who drive long distances to work, say, or who have homes that are expensive to heat would be disproportionately burdened.

Me: Larry, all taxes place a burden on those that bear the brunt of paying them.

Summers: Now that these consumers have received a windfall from the fall in energy prices, it would be possible to impose substantial carbon taxes without them being burdened relative to where things stood six months ago. The price of gasoline has fallen by more than a dollar. A $25-a-ton tax on carbon that would raise  far more than $1 trillion over the next decade would lift gasoline prices by only about 25 cents.

Me: So what he wants is for only the government to receive the benefit of lower oil prices. To hell with you, me, and the rest of the little people.

Summers: Some worry that taxing fossil fuels will hurt the competitiveness of U.S. industry and encourage offshoring. In fact, a well-designed tax would be levied on the carbon content of all imports coming from countries that did not impose their own carbon levies. The United States can make the case that such a tax is compatible with World Trade Organization rules. Such an approach would have the virtue of encouraging countries who wished to avoid the U.S. tax to impose carbon taxes of their own, thereby further supporting efforts to reduce global climate change.

Me: Ah yes, a global tax. Just what this world needs is more money in the hands of governments that build army's and less in the hands of people, aka consumers, that may want to buy food, pay a mortgage, or out clothes on their child.

Summers: A U.S. carbon tax would contribute to efforts to combat climate change in other ways. It would be a hugely important symbolic step ahead of the global climate summit in Paris late this year. It would shift the debate toward harmonized measures to raise the price of carbon use and away from the complex cap-and-trade-type systems that have proved more difficult to operate than expected in the European Union and elsewhere.

Me: Problem, the world's climate is changing. Solution, tax people more, crush economies, and have the political elite get rich.

Summers: What size levy is appropriate? Here there is more danger of doing too little than too much. Once the principle of taxation is accepted, its level can be adjusted. A tax of $25 a ton would raise more than $100 billion each year and seems a reasonable starting point.

Me: Of course, once a tax is created it can always be raised.

Summers: How should the proceeds be used? Here, too, it seems more important to reach consensus on the principle of taxation. My preference would be for the funds to be split between investments in infrastructure and pro-work tax credits. An additional $50 billion a year in infrastructure spending would be a significant contribution to closing America’s investment gap in that area. The same sum devoted to pro-work tax credits could finance a huge increase in the earned-income tax credit, a meaningful reduction in the payroll tax or some combination of the two.

Me: So the fear is climate change and we would use the proceeds to build and maintain more roads for cars to travel on so they can purchase more tax-heavy gasoline so that the government can receive more money. Oh, and then there would be the pro-work slush fund to finance ACORN and Unions.

Summers: Progressives who are most concerned about climate change should rally to a carbon tax. Conservatives who believe in the power of markets should favor carbon taxes on market principles. And Americans who want to see their country lead on the energy and climate issues that are crucial to the world this century should want to be in the vanguard on carbon taxes. Now is the time.

Me: Yes, progressives should rally despite the fact that none of this new found money will go to stopping the climate change. They (progressives) cannot see that far ahead in the discussion to realize the farce. No one believes in a tax because of its "benefit" to market principles and so-called conservatives will jump on board once they are given a slice of the pie. (I cannot even respond to his last piece of tripe.)

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