November 2, 2012

“Eco-Taxes? Study Financed by U.S. Treasury Will Link Tax Code to Carbon Emissions”

Who needs a Congress when you have bureaucracies, professors, and “settled science” that carry the weight of legislators without the inconvenience of having to run for office and answer to an electorate?

Coming soon:  a green tax code for American businesses and individual taxpayers alike?

A major tax study currently being sponsored by the U.S. Treasury will give environmental activists a powerful new weapon in their campaign to alter the entire American economic and social landscape  in the name of halting “climate change”—including the possible levying of new carbon taxes.

That campaign is bound to intensify in the aftermath of Nov. 6’s presidential election, regardless of who wins the race, as the nation faces the challenge of deficit reduction and tax reform that will be required to overhaul the country’s over-strained finances. Environmental advocates and others are likely to raise such innovative mechanisms as carbon taxes and major shifts in tax rates and incentives as part of the process—and the impending study may well provide them with important ammunition.

Under the bland title of Effects of Provisions in the Internal Revenue Code on Greenhouse Gas Emissions, the $1.5 million study is being carried out under the auspices of the National Academy of Science (NAS). Originally planned to take two years, the ambitious project aims to take an inventory of the U.S. tax code in terms of  the effects of its most important provisions on the emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions—a huge and complicated exercise in environmental and economic modelling.

The study itself will not be available until after the election. Originally slated for completion in September of this year, its publication has since been postponed until the first quarter of next year.

Postponed. Until after the election?  Why, what were the odds?

The results will likely bring  an entirely new dimension to any future bargaining table in Washington that aims at achieving financial reform.  Such bargaining is considered nearly inevitable as the U.S. tries to back away from the fiscal cliff created by towering annual deficits and still accelerating obligations under Social Security and still-to-be implemented Obamacare.

What the NAS  study will examine are the basic building blocks of the tax system, but not from a job creation or growth perspective. Instead, the question is what levels of greenhouse gas are currently produced  by its provisions.

These include not only deductions and allowances for production of varying types of energy, but also such things as the home mortgage deduction and the investment tax credit to spur business activity, not to mention tax provisions that affect patterns of urban development, agriculture, forestry and all manner of industrial processes.

In short, just about everything.

Coincidentally, the ObamaCare ruling — which by way of controlling our health, will find ways to control what we do, what we eat, how often we exercise, and so on — covers just about everything else.  So, JENGA!
The terms of reference of the study say it “will not recommend particular new taxes or tax incentives nor changes in existing provisions of the tax code.”  On the other hand, the study “may evaluate the efficiency and effectiveness of different tax measures in reducing GHG emissions relative to other policy instruments.”

In other words, the study may provide the means to “comparison shop” tax levels and tax incentives for a wide variety of economic and social activities on the basis of their alleged impact on global warming.One element of such an approach has been frequently hinted at by the Obama Administration during the election campaign, as it has argued against unspecified subsidies for the oil, gas and coal industries and greater emphasis on “renewable” energy sources such as solar and wind which have so far proved to be much more expensive.

The National Academy’s study is being overseen by an ad hoc committee of experts, whose membership is approved by the National Academy’s president, Ralph J. Cicerone—himself an expert on atmospheric chemistry. The membership list is a lengthy roster of climate change and legal experts as well as economists versed in the arcana of computerized economic modeling.

These people are the modern Luddites; as I noted the other day, they wish to change societal aesthetics using as their template the progressive vision, and using as their justification climate change science that has the effect of re-labeling humans themselves as a blight on the planet by way of their CO2 exhalation.  They want us thinner, more condensed logistically and more manageable in terms of the array of liberties we can routinely employ.  We are their artwork. 

Everything from population control to taxing away leisure activities that to environmental activists are horribly untoward — well, except for the rich, who will be able to take back exclusive use of lands and the like, because they will be able to afford the “penalties” for their rape of the environment, and that’s the quid pro quo the government is after — will be on the table, and the end result will be a de-industrialized nation, a weak economy, a government-centric social welfare state, and, most ironically of all, a return to a kind of caste system, where wealthy or connected nobles control the resources, and the rest of us become merely subjects to be monitored, our activities taxed, and our very existence paid for by government-required fees.

In short, it is tyranny.  Masquerading as ecological realism.

Which is why states like Arizona that are trying to reclaim jurisdiction over their own lands by way of public ballot measure have it exactly right:  the fed’s authority only extends to those who agree to its terms.  States the push back effectively will set the template for the rest of us who live under the very real threat of becoming nothing more than worker bees and drones, managed by a centralized authority, told where and how to live, and prevented from exercising our freedoms by having them priced out of our range of affordability.

It’s an assault on individual sovereignty and liberty through the backdoor:  the government isn’t taking away your freedoms; it’s just suggesting that freedom has its costs, and that bureaucracies will set the price scale.

Again, I’m a no on all this.  If we beat it back, it disappears.  Which is why we need to remove the GOP establishment from its position of influence just as surely as we need to gut the federal bureaucracies and drain the cesspool of leftist activism from the interior of our administrative state.

(thanks to Terry H)

Posted by Jeff G. @ 11:03am

Comments (7)

  1. It’s an assault on individual sovereignty and liberty through the backdoor: the government isn’t taking away your freedoms; it’s just suggesting that freedom has its costs, and that bureaucracies will set the price scale.

    Tangentially, I wouldn’t worry too much about guns going away. Why there’s one jammed in my ear right now.

  2. They need to get the future serf into a frame of mind where they are grateful for their new lives of homespun, concentration into dorms, buses, bikes, and gruel (when they behave).

  3. I think the people of NYC are getting a taste of Big Gubmint right about now and aren’t liking it one damned bit.

  4. The people of NYC are thirty years on from the time they remembered dimly the meaning of personal freedom, so there wouldn’t seem to be anything terribly unfamiliar to them in their current sufferings. How could there be? Look only who they elect to govern their city, state and nation.

  5. True enough. I stand corrected.

  6. Our best hope is to point at their situation and convince our neighbors that such “governance” is not what we want for ourselves.


  7. Bo Dietl was just on Cavuto and was livid about Staten Island being ignored for the sake of the marathon.