GOP leadership: Carbon taxes are not up for negotiation

Earlier today, certain Congressional Democrats let it be known that their party would be ready and willing to take the country over the coming fiscal cliff if Republicans don’t agree to President Obama’s proposal to hike taxes on the country’s wealthiest earners (but remember: Republicans are ones refusing to cooperate and causing all of this dat gum partisan gridlock!).

A top Senate Democrat bluntly warned Monday that her party is prepared to let all the Bush-era tax cuts expire and automatic spending cuts to defense and domestic programs take place at the beginning of next year unless Republicans agree to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans.

“If Republicans won’t work with us on a balanced approach, we are not going to get a deal,” said Sen. Patty Murray from Washington, the fourth-ranking Senate Democrat.

Together, the expiring tax hikes and mandatory spending cuts, the so-called “fiscal cliff,” could hurt the economy if Congress does not work out a compromise to lessen their impact.

Well, fine then: If that’s the way it’s gonna’ be, two can play at that game. The well-circulated idea of a tax on carbon emissions as an ostensible method of reducing both global warming and the deficit is an idea long held dear by the Left, and looks like it might be getting some renewed attention in the coming deficit battle. Thankfully, the GOP leadership is once again nipping that travesty of an economic imposition in the bud:

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), speaking through aides, have stated their opposition to the concept in recent days.

Boehner spokesman Michael Steel had a one-word answer when asked, on Friday, whether the Speaker would ever consider a carbon tax to help address climate change and the deficit: “No.”

Similarly, McConnell spokesman John Ashbrook said Monday that “Leader McConnell opposes a national energy tax.”

While their positions are no surprise, the categorical opposition underscores the hurdles facing an ad hoc, left-right coalition of activists and policy wonks who have held a series of meetings in private to discuss the idea.

And a darn good thing, too. If there’s anything America doesn’t need right now, it’s any more regulatory barriers to energy development, or taxes discouraging said energy development while simultaneously causing energy prices to ‘necessarily skyrocket.’ A carbon tax would be a terrible idea at the best of times, let alone the worst of times, and if we would just stop with the ridiculous self-limitations limiting the entrepreneurial might of our own energy sector and start taking advantage of our own abundant resources in the burgeoning world market, it would be a huge boon in lifting ourselves out of recession. A carbon tax in any form is just plain counterproductive:

However, watching states loot “dedicated” eco-taxes for general revenue, seeing the emergence of more proposals for revenue-raising carbon taxes to finance continued deficit spending, and generally bearing witness to endless insincerity on the part of greens and their allies, I have to admit that my friends in the free-market movement were right: A carbon tax would simply become another general revenue raiser and a step in carbon-seduction. “Oh, come on, you’ve already accepted the tax, now let’s do cap-and-trade and regulation.” …

There would be virtually no environmental benefits to unilateral greenhouse gas emission reductions by developed countries (whose GHG levels are already flat and slowly declining), while developing countries are pouring out virtually every kind of pollutant with joyous abandon. Some argue that we’ll get “co-benefits” from reducing other pollutants, such as particulates. Well, we already have highly effective (if economically damaging) regulations for conventional pollutants. If they’re not working, they should be fixed. Establishing a new set of controls based on ancillary benefits is not simply wasteful, it’s dishonest. …

High energy costs reduce economic productivity and are passed along to consumers in everything they buy, from medical treatments to food and clothing. In fact, research at the American Enterprise Institute suggests that half of the total spending consumers do on energy is invisible to them: Its costs are embedded in the things they buy and the services they use. The more things cost, the less people consume, which means less production, less economic growth, and fewer jobs. …

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