Opinion: A “Carbon Tax” would be an economic and environmental solution

Opinion: A Carbon Tax would be an economic and environmental solution

Americans are becoming more and more worried about both the state of the economy and the massive amount of debt this country is in, as well as the sustainability of our natural ecology. Too often, these issues are seen as different entities with different responsibilities applied to them. However, they do actually go hand in hand. If executed properly, a device that both helps the environment and helps the economy could prove to be very beneficial. It also could be very simple, taking only two steps. Imagine this:

Step 1)

The United States imposes a Carbon Tax on every citizen, costing only $25 per ton of CO2 emitted. That alone would create an additional $125 billion in revenue while promoting environmental awareness and safety. By implementing this, the U.S. government would free up other money to aid in relief and recovery programs, manage the debt, or accomplish a myriad of other things. The $125 billion created by that tax revenue could fund the entire education program for the 2014 fiscal year with a surplus of $7 billion. And keep in mind, not only does the government make easy money, but it also promotes ecological well-being. Since citizens would be taxed on the amount of greenhouse gasses they emit, the logical assumption would be that people as a whole would focus on reducing their carbon emissions. Energy use would become more efficient and environmental issues would be placated.

Step 2)

Institute an even greater Carbon Tax on corporations and business. Make a graduated Carbon Tax, starting at $25 per ton of CO­2 for small business and graduating to up to $75 per ton of CO2 for the largest corporations. In addition to this, create an incentive-based tax break to encourage business and corporations to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. This tax break could also be graduated, with a greater percentage of carbon emission reduction warranting a greater tax break.

This secondary taxation would accomplish goals for greater than that of the first step. Just like in Step 1, it gives the federal government a large amount of tax money to devote to spending issues and budget balancing. However, it’ll also put clean energy research into the hands of the private market, stimulating a faster outcome while not taking money out of government coffers. Since corporations would now be taxed based on their carbon emissions, they would most assuredly research ways to reduce their emissions in an attempt to pay less tax money. This research would also be marketable, causing free-market competition to ensue, promoting faster development of new technologies and resources.

Overall, a new Carbon Tax would only have beneficial outcomes if implemented. Unfortunately, there are no legitimate proposals in Capitol Hill at this time. Regardless, it was nice to imagine for a while, wasn’t it?