Letter: Encourage innovation through carbon tax

Return To Article

Commenting has temporarily been suspended in preparation for our new website launch, which is planned for the week of August 12th. When the new site goes live, we will also launch our new commenting platform. Thank you for your patience while we make these changes.

  • Rick for Truth Provo, UT
    Jan. 4, 2019 9:57 p.m.

    liberals and even many RINO’s propose the same old solution to every single problem plaguing society. Government control and takeover of the issue combined with higher taxation. Gasoline, natural gas, property, income, energy, health care, even with a death tax on your wealth after you already have paid taxes to build your wealth.

    Jan. 4, 2019 10:01 a.m.

    The social cost of carbon dioxide emissions is about $40 per ton. The social benefit is about $4200 per ton. So why are we so anxious to eliminate fossil fuels?

  • RedShirtHarvard Cambridge, MA
    Jan. 3, 2019 11:02 a.m.

    To "jfreed27" a tax and dividends don't work. Everywhere they have been tried they end up hurting the poor and middle class and they don't reduce CO2 emissions as promised.

    All the tax and dividend ends up being is just a transfer of wealth, but a failed transfer because it makes everything cost more.

    Yes, on paper it sounds like it would work, but in practice it has always failed.

  • Tyler D Prescott, AZ
    Jan. 3, 2019 9:27 a.m.

    @No One Of Consequence – “Can't tax your way to prosperity, or tax your way to innovative thinking.”

    A Republican canard as demonstrated by everything from taxes to fund education and infrastructure, to how “taxes” solved the acid rain problem in the 90’s (because companies had an incentive to innovate, and they did).

  • jfreed27 Los Angeles, CA
    Jan. 3, 2019 9:25 a.m.

    Yes! Why even bother with the paid deniers and front groups who thrive creating the delay of a false climate debate?
    A revenue neutral carbon fee but with a 100% dividend, makes enormous sense (cents, too)! !
    Conservative and liberal economists and scientists say it is the best way to create healthy pollution free communities and limit climate change. It is not a tax. This way citizens would RECEIVE the carbon fees as a monthly check, for example. That would protect us from price spikes in dirty energy.
    Polluters PAY the fees, so it holds fossil fuel corporations responsible for the damages. or "externalities", they cause, hundreds of billions of dollars per year (Harvard School of Medicine).
    It would more rapidly limit further pollution than by regulations alone, as happened in BC Canada with a similar, popular policy. BC lowered emissions and also lowered taxes with their fees.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 3, 2019 8:57 a.m.

    RE: "Funny but I know many who think that the huge tax on cigarettes is justified, because of health risks, and that if it gets too expensive people will quit. Carbon tax is the same thing"...
    That would be a good analogy IF we had to buy cigarettes to live. But we don't. So it's a bad analogy.

    People don't need cigarettes to live. We need energy to live. It's not an option to not heat our homes, or get to our jobs, or make the things we need to live (including making the things needed to get us off fossil fuels, it takes energy to produce them, it takes energy to produce every thing that allows us to live a modern life).

    Taxing people to correct a behavior that's not needed is different than taxing something every person alive needs to stay alive (energy).

    Bogus comparison.


    RE: "Their children's children will have to deal with our generations ignorance, arrogance and greed"...
    Actually, we have more renewable energy today than before my generation. Our air is cleaner today (not dirtier) than when my great grandfather had to take 2 white shirts to work because one would be filthy by noon (coal smoke).

    My generation made much improvement.

  • SC Matt Saline, MI
    Jan. 3, 2019 7:17 a.m.

    People in France are protesting right now due to the implementation of a carbon tax, which of course impacts the middle class people the most.

    So, the author's proposal could be basically stated as "let's do here what France is already doing. Wait, they're protesting? Why are they protesting? Don't they realize that taxing carbon is a good thing?"

    Personally, I still support the idea of a carbon tax. I think it's necessary. But it's a fantasy if somebody thinks that the rich will be the only ones paying for it. Even if somehow it looks that way, they'll just pass along the price to their employees and customers, i.e., the middle class.

    There is no way to mandate the use of a more expensive power source without impacting the middle class.

    We simply need to own up to it. A real leader (which of course excludes Trump) will need to say "yes, this will require near-term sacrifice, but it's better than what will happen long-term if we fail to act."

  • Opinionated Sandy, UT
    Jan. 3, 2019 6:58 a.m.

    Life is pretty simple when you put on those rose-colored glasses. There will be no 100% rebate to customers. The companies will charge more to make up for the tax, so we'll pay more. Government agencies will be formed to do the paperwork, and I guarantee those agencies are not going to do that service for free. So, since they take money from the tax and the company passes the tax on, we will end up paying more for utilities etc. Then everyone cries for the rebate money, and it will not be distributed evenly--the poor will get the lion's share of the money, which screams class discrimination and wealth redistribution. Companies will not spend more on innovation when they are having to pay more taxes. Shall I go on? I think not, but I could.

  • george of the jungle goshen, UT
    Jan. 3, 2019 6:44 a.m.

    Imagine a bubble of air in the sun, sorta like a solar cover on a swimming pool that can heat up the water. That is 2 parts is air wrapped up in a carbon coat (Co2). Ya can't see it tastes or smell, It is heavier than air an falls to the ground where plants eat it makes oxygen an sugar. What goes into the ground or mixes up in water you get baking soda. Snow on top of a mountain because Co2 is heavier than air, so I figure ya can tell by how warm things get by how much carbon is there. Ever picked up a a steel wrench on a summer day. Every thing is carbon even us.

  • Copybook Headings Draper, UT
    Jan. 3, 2019 4:34 a.m.

    "... the average person would get back as much as they are paying in extra energy cost."

    Translation: low income persons who vote Democrat would get more of your hard earned cash. Money that will do nothing to stop carbon emissions in India and China; two countries that pollute the earth more than all other countries combined.


  • No One Of Consequence West Jordan, UT
    Jan. 2, 2019 11:26 p.m.

    Can't tax your way to prosperity, or tax your way to innovative thinking.

    Carbon tax and refund is a long confidence game. It would result in inflation in the private sector and, as has been noted here, increased government costs to administer the program. It does nothing to benefit the little guy, and nothing to benefit business but does give government more power over the people; the real purpose of the con.

    Plants need carbon in the air to grow. Plants are the basis of food for all the animals and humans on the earth. Reduce the carbon in the air too low and things don't grow. If you seriously believe there is too much carbon in the air, plant more trees, grass, corn, cabbage, tomatoes and rutabagas. During WWII they planted victory gardens to maximize the production of produce in America. If all the people yakking about CO in the atmosphere would do some gardening they would have less to complain about.

  • rmk South Jordan, UT
    Jan. 2, 2019 9:54 p.m.

    So we are going to raise the price of all utilities, car gas, all our goods bought at stores heated and lighted with utilities delivered by gas and goods raise or manufactured by carbon and then all of these increases in costs will be refunded to people each month. So why do it? The disconnect is that people actually believe that companies will eat the cost of all of these increases and not pass those costs on to people. If you like your doctor you can keep them also. The truth is that a carbon tax will tax you going to work and force companies to cut costs which means jobs and raise the costs of everything you use to live. This they believe will cause people they hope to use mass transit, wear a coat in their house because the high cost of heat in the winter and sweat in the summer because the high cost of power to run the air conditioner.

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    Jan. 2, 2019 6:40 p.m.

    Funny but I know many who think that the huge tax on cigarettes is justified, because of health risks, and that if it gets too expensive people will quit.

    Carbon tax is the same thing, it's just that some folks don't mind taxing others to "correct" their behavior. But taxing something they use is amoral, they don't need to correct their behavior. Their children's children will have to deal with our generations ignorance, arrogance and greed.

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    Jan. 2, 2019 6:12 p.m.

    @Kent C. DeForrest:"Taxing carbon is the best way to cut its use. "

    When the left starts believing that is also true when it comes to work and productivity--we will get less of it if we tax it--then their claims that taxing carbon will reduce its use will have some validity. Until then, the lack of consistency makes the claim not very believable.

    While I think "commentator" is too partisan, she is correct in pointing out that no tax plan is going to be revenue neutral and we have plenty of regulations and incentives for industry and individual users to clean the air already. There is no need for additional incentives that will almost certain benefit the 1% crowd--including domestic and foreign despots--at the expense of the average American citizen.

    Per person pollution in the USA is almost certainly at all time historic lows. Between long term cost benefits as well as growing moral desires to reduce pollution even further, we will continue to head the right direction if we don't kill the economy with stifling new regulations or taxes.

  • embarrassed Utahn! Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 2, 2019 2:17 p.m.

    First, you have to have people who believe using fossil fuels have an "adverse effect."
    In Utah, the status quo seems to be just fine. People seem resigned to the idea that toxic air is cutting many years off their lives.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 2, 2019 12:21 p.m.

    @ConservativeCommonTater - "Trump wants to reduce emission requirements for vehicles. How's that gonna help clean up the air"...
    That's the problem. You keep expecting Trump to clean the air, or somebody else, somebody in government to clean the air. That's not going to happen. You're waiting for something that's not going to happen. But that doesn't mean we can't solve the problem. But expecting the President to clean the air... bogus.

    We can clean the air with or without Trump. With or without Paris. With or without the Utah Legislature doing anything. Pretending it's not your job, it's somebody in government's job (Trump or the Utah Legislature) is just bogus using this issue for politics.

    C02 isn't political. Global Climate isn't political. None of this stuff is political, just the bickering that people surround it with and use it for... is political.

    The Utah Legislature can't change the Global Climate. They can't even change the Utah Climate, much less the USA or the World climate.

    Trump can't fix GW. Neither could Obama, or he would, because he promised he would, but he couldn't. GW actually got worse the past 8 years. Didn't it?

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 2, 2019 11:51 a.m.

    RE: "Taxing carbon is the best way to cut its use"...
    Platitudes like "Tax what you want less of" are common, and mostly true...
    We tax crime, if you want less kids you tax having kids, if you want less driving you tax driving, etc.

    It works. So why do we tax income? Do we want people to work less? or earn less?

    I mean if you tax what you want less of... don't tax income. Tax poverty!

    Political theory is you subsidies what you want more of, and tax what you want less of. It's basic social-engineering.

    "Social Engineering Definition"...
    "The use of centralized planning in an attempt to manage social change and regulate the future development and behavior of a society"...

    Carbon tax is Social Engineering. And that's OK. Just admit what it is and move on. It's probably a good thing (to tax carbon). But drop the malarkey, like it has no impact because 100% of the funds taken in will be rebated back in monthly rebate checks, etc. That's malarkey.

    Chuck Todd was discussing Global Warming Sunday, and his panel decided the critical thing is bribing the public (with rebate checks, etc). So I'm not surprised this is getting so much press lately.

  • Kent C. DeForrest Provo, UT
    Jan. 2, 2019 11:10 a.m.

    Taxing carbon is the best way to cut its use. The fossil-fuel industries have been externalizing their costs forever. It's having a devastating effect on the planet. Time to start making them pay for the damage they cause.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Jan. 2, 2019 10:53 a.m.

    RE: "The average person would get back as much as they are paying"...
    Total malarkey.

    What government tax do you know of where they rebate 100% of the money taken back to the people who paid it?

    It takes money to run a scam like this. A LOT of money. You have to pay employees to collect and manage the money taken from the people. And you have to pay people to run the system of getting monthly rebate checks to every American every month... that takes LOTS of money to run a program like that every month.

    Do non-citizens get a monthly rebate check? They paying the tax (if they heat their home, drive their car, etc)... can you deny them their monthly rebate? How do we send monthly rebate checks to the 11 million people living here illegally?

    Would it be OK with you if 11 Million illegal aliens got monthly checks from our government?


    RE: "A border adjustment fee could be applied to goods imported from countries"...
    That's a "Tariff"? We all know what tariffs do.


    RE: "A fee on carbon would encourage innovation"...

    If 100% of the money is given back to the tax payers... there's none left to fund innovation.

  • ConservativeCommonTater Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 2, 2019 10:16 a.m.

    Taxes that are given back to anyone do not clean up the air. The taxes are simply another Republican fantasy of increasing even more taxes.

    Clean up emissions from all production and the air will get cleaner. Companies already get tax breaks for improving their production equipment. No need to further tax end users.

    BTW, Trump wants to reduce emission requirements for vehicles. How's that gonna help clean up the air?