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Grover Norquist caused a lot of jaws to drop Monday when—with much hedging—he backed the possibility of a carbon tax as a swap for lowered income taxes. A carbon tax, that is, a levy on fossil-fuel consumption, is a smart idea as long as provisions are made for low-income households.
Grover Norquist
Just kidding.

On Tuesday, Norquist shifted into reverse after a Koch Bros. front-group, the American Energy Alliance, had given him a brief public reaming in its newsletter: “Grover, just butch it up and oppose this lousy idea directly. This word-smithing is giving us all headaches.”

Via his Americans for Tax Reform, Norquist spoke out as AEA had commanded, announcing the organization's official view that there is "no conceivable way" a carbon tax could actually be offset by lowered income taxes because both would grow like "tapeworms."

David Dayen vivisected the whole affair:

So that’s that. But let’s look at one thing. Norquist’s normal M.O. is to oppose any tax anywhere, even if offset by additional tax cuts, on the grounds that the other tax cuts could eventually get raised later. This nihilist viewpoint should have foreclosed on the idea of a carbon tax from the outset. So why did he go along for 24 hours?

I’ve heard compelling speculation that trading an income tax cut with a carbon tax would swap out a relatively stable source of revenue with one the government would prefer to see reduced over time. That would really depend on how much the carbon tax would replace income taxes. The studies that exist looking at this show that you would not be able to reduce income taxes across the board by very much, not even 1%. You could reduce payroll or corporate taxes a bit more, but not a major amount. The working assumption is that a carbon tax would raise $1.25 trillion over ten years.

If the carbon tax were somehow dedicated to pay for a particular priority, then you could see the same problem you see with our existing carbon tax, the gas tax. That directly funds highway improvements, and with increased fuel economy it’s shrinking over time, causing a major shortfall. These things happen gradually, and it still makes sense to tax things you don’t want to proliferate rather than things you do.

So that’s not the major problem. It’s that conservatives hate taxes as much as they hate talk about climate change.

Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2008Obama May OK Torture Investigation:

Should George Bush and others in his administration be prosecuted for various actions is answered with a resounding yes! if you’re Vincent Bugliosi, author of The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder. And, while most other critics who favor prosecution argue that lesser charges should be brought than Bugliosi would like to see, they believe it would be mistaken to let the actions of Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and crew fade into oblivion. For one thing, the main thing perhaps, allowing these leaders to escape unscathed for their actions means we can pretty much count on a repeat—only worse—a few years or decades down the road.

It's hard to imagine anybody who's watched Torturing Democracy could suggest that nothing should happen to the characters who promoted, encouraged and even set rules for torture.

But Obama advisor and Bush enabler Cass Sunstein sees things just that way. And, apparently, so does Clinton era Department of Justice official Robert Litt. As noted in today’s Washington Post: […]

"It would not be beneficial to spend a lot of time calling people up to Congress or in front of grand juries," Litt said. "It would really spend a lot of the bipartisan capital Obama managed to build up."
Vindictive. Vengeful. Partisan. Punitive. Divisive. These words have come to describe those of us who have watched the Cheney-Bush horror show of the past eight years unfold and want to see something done about it. Our problem, we are told, is that prosecuting or attempting to prosecute anyone in the outgoing administration would be a distraction for the incoming team at a time when the new President and Congress need to focus their undiluted attention on "more important matters."

Tweet of the Day:

Way to bounce back! RT @KarlRove: Looking forward to speaking at 100th annual convention of Kansas Livestock Association.
@robdelaney via Tweetbot for iOS

The Petraeus insanity provided plenty of fodder for today's Kagro in the Morning show, but before we got into that, we had a visit from Greg Dworkin, and chance to talk about the hot topic of conservative "epistemic closure." Say, was the TradMed's insistence that data couldn't tell the story evidence that they had the same problem? Bonus: a sidebar discussion pulled from the archives that, well, gives the show its special flavor.

High Impact Posts. Top Comments.

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