Right Hooks

Who's Up for a Carbon Tax?

Even when gas prices are low, leftists complain.

Business Review Board · Sep. 13, 2016

Most Beltway dwellers are notoriously oblivious to the needs of people in less affluent regions of America. Therefore most of them don’t understand the importance of inflation. Take low gas prices. Taxpayer-subsidized public transit makes price swings less noticeable on the wallets of workers in large metropolitan areas and even less so for those making six-figure salaries, including your senator and representative. But for most of middle class America, the difference between spending $3 or $4 for a gallon of gasoline and $1.95 can be prodigious.

So it’s hugely disappointing to see leftists exploiting low gas prices caused by the oil glut by calling for more red tape to curb driver behavior. The Washington Post editorial board laments the fact that “when oil prices sink, people worry less about conservation, no matter how environmentally desirable. In fact, higher fuel efficiency might also encourage some people to drive more than they would have otherwise, because their gas bills are lower.” And though the editors believe firmly in fuel efficiency standards, lower gas prices make them less than fully effective. So why not add another disincentive in the form of a carbon tax?

“A carbon tax would put a lower ceiling on national gasoline use without more aggressive regulatory interventions,” the Post writes, totally neglecting to mention that said tax is a very aggressive regulatory intervention. Hot Air’s Jazz Shaw highlights a few issues: “First of all, higher gas prices disproportionately affect low income people far more than the more affluent. Wealthy citizens aren’t staying up at night worrying about how much gas costs. And where are the poorer commuters going? For the vast majority of travel they are shuffling back and forth to work. … Hourly workers of modest means have to make every penny count and if you jack up their cost of commuting they take the biggest hit. Also, gas prices aren’t going to be low forever.”

In a free market, competition drives innovation. But the government is going about it completely opposite by attempting to lower emissions through coercion. We’re all poorer and less free as a result.

Click here to show comments