“The carbon tax is one of the best ideas in Washington almost no one in Congress will talk about”– Washington Post Editorial

Excerpts from the Washington Post’s “Opinion” by Editorial Board, May 7, on the elegance and efficiency of a carbon tax:

No honest tax reform paper, for example, would be complete without discussion of a carbon tax, an elegant policy Congress could immediately take off the shelf. It would make polluters pay for their own pollution, which is the best way to encourage greener thinking. It would cut emissions without overspending national wealth on grandiose central planning or command-and-control regulation. And it would raise revenue, which lawmakers could use for debt reduction, lowering other taxes, improving the social safety net or some combination. The carbon tax is one of the best ideas in Washington almost no one in Congress will talk about.

Those still worried about the economic effects need only consider how it could fit into a bigger tax-reform package such as the one Mr. Baucus wants to produce. Surely, Republicans should want to replace economy-sapping taxes on labor or business in return for a much more efficient tax on pollution. Democrats should be pushing for some of the revenue to pump up programs such as the Earned Income Tax Credit to ensure the carbon tax doesn’t sting consumers, particularly those least able to afford it.

Lawmakers should read the Finance Committee staff’s work and then consult a recent analysis by the Brookings Institution’s Adele Morris, who found that even a relatively modest carbon tax could produce nearly a trillion dollars in debt reduction over two decades, significantly drop other tax rates and enhance anti-poverty programs.

The complete article.

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