by Jon Sanders
Director of the Center for Food, Power, and Life, Research Editor, John Locke Foundation
This entry gently taxes its readers with than implicit understanding of the moral of Frédéric Bastiat’s parable of the broken window, which is, if you will forgive a slight font-upsizing amplification:
Destruction is not profitable.
Now, that having been said, on to the subject, which is about some environmentalist group that believes it has discovered the El Dorado of benevolent tyranny for the environment, a plan that would magically square the circle of outlawing efficient energy sources with all the harm it would do to the economy and to families with the subsequent, much higher electricity rates.
An entry in E&E News’ ClimateWire (requires login) explains:
The Citizens Climate Lobby will release a plan today for a carbon tax that proposes mailing monthly checks to nearly every American, including children.
The California-based group supports enacting a $10 tax on each ton of carbon dioxide in 2016. It would raise an estimated $56 billion in the first year, enough to provide a family of four with $44 in monthly rebates in 2016, supporters say.
The tax would rise by $10 a year through 2035, by which time each ton of carbon would carry a price of $200. That would eliminate the use of coal in the electricity sector while reducing U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by about half, according to a report being released by the group this afternoon.
The plan would raise energy prices, but the authors of the 126-page report assert that wouldn’t prevent the economy from growing. Employment overall would rise as investments in other sectors, like clean energy, help to strengthen the nation’s gross domestic product, they say, though other experts described that outcome as optimistic.
The “tax and dividend” approach is meant to offset the impact of higher-priced electricity and gasoline on families, said Daniel Richter, the legislative and science director for Citizens Climate Lobby. It would go further than that by mailing every adult about $15 a month in 2016, $96 a month in 2025 and $132 a month in 2035. Children under 18 would receive half a rebate.
“The average American family is still up 500 bucks a year” in 2025 after energy costs, Richter said. “Your average household will actually be better off under this proposal. They’ll have more money in their pockets.”
Those assertions need Alec Guinness’s hand wave to sound believable. The impact would far, far exceed just a few dollars on the average family’s electricity bill.
This plan’s impact would also involve:
But, of course, all those effects are just dismissed as if all this gratuitous regulatory destruction wouldn’t matter. After all, the winning cronies win! Employment overall would *rise* … as investments in other sectors, like clean energy, help to *strengthen* … the nation’s gross domestic product.
(The asterisks surround imminent-giggle warning words for anyone attempting to speak that aloud who hasn’t mastered the art of making fatuous economic statements for the environment.)