I always find interesting those conservative arguments that argue that we shouldn't try something because we never tried it before. For example, while arguing against DADT, conservatives made apocalyptic predictions. But the thing is, we already knew integrating gays would have no negative consequences because other countries already did it... and it worked.
The same is true for the carbon tax- the experiment is already proceeding in Ireland and, as the New York Times reports... it's working. It is evidence that when a society works together as a whole, aided by federal laws and regulations, the free market improves. Individual decisions improve. And the regulations need not be cumbersome.
The details of the tax law:
The government imposed taxes on most of the fossil fuels used by homes, offices, vehicles and farms, based on each fuel’s carbon dioxide emissions, a move that immediately drove up prices for oil, natural gas and kerosene. Household trash is weighed at the curb, and residents are billed for anything that is not being recycled.and the results...
The Irish now pay purchase taxes on new cars and yearly registration fees that rise steeply in proportion to the vehicle’s emissions.
Long one of Europe’s highest per-capita producers of greenhouse gases, with levels nearing those of the United States, Ireland has seen its emissions drop more than 15 percent since 2008.
And as for the economic impact? It is true that a tax will have a negative impact, but as many economists predicted, innovative companies also began to embrace the law and work with it:
...they quickly shifted to greener fuels and cars and began recycling with fervor. Automakers like Mercedes found ways to make powerful cars with an emissions rating as low as tinier Nissans. With less trash, landfills closed. And as fossil fuels became more costly, renewable energy sources became more competitive, allowing Ireland’s wind power industry to thrive.Landfills are closing??? That's awesome. See how laws and regulations can help keep our country cleaner- an improvement over the free market.
Here is what economists have to say about the tax:
economists [from the European Comission] have concluded they have “a less detrimental macroeconomic impact” than new income taxes or corporate taxes.An interesting assessment from a conservative:
“I think most economists — on the right and the left — think a carbon tax is a good idea,” said Aparna Mathur, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative research group that held a daylong seminar on carbon taxes in November. .Of course, one major caveat is that this tax can disproportionately hurt the poor: "Gas, always expensive in Europe, sells here for about $8 a gallon, around 20 percent more than in 2009 because of tightening market supplies and the new tax. "
But a potential solution is to subsidize the poor. Also, according to the article, the tax will be equally demanding on the rich:
Although carbon taxes in some ways disproportionately affect the poor — who are less able to buy new, more efficient cars, for example — such taxes do heavily penalize the wealthy, who consume far moreAnother interesting benefit? Lowering the deficit:
The three-year-old carbon tax has raised nearly one billion euros ($1.3 billion) over all, including 400 million euros in 2012. That provided the Irish government with 25 percent of the 1.6 billion euros in new tax revenue it needed to narrow its budget gap this year and avert a rise in income tax rates...Some economists estimate that a carbon tax could raise $400 billion annually in the United States.Even in Ireland this legislation was not easy to accomplish, but unlike them, we are not in a recession. We are REBUILDING after a recession. There is no better time to change the way we behave than the time we rebuild.