It’s Not Just Income Tax

by Iain Murray on April 15, 2009

in Blog

Let’s not forget on this day that government has worked out a lot more ways to appropriate your money than income tax.  Sales Tax is the one we come across most often, but at least it’s out in the open and you see it being added to every purchase you make (an example of tax transparency not enjoyed by most of the world).  It is the hidden taxes – the “stealth taxes” – that are perhaps an even bigger problem.  When government taxes a particular activity, often at the source, so that costs are passed on to the end consumer – you and me – without us appreciating it, then government has acheived revenue without responsibility.

That is why “cap and trade,” the fashionable measure for imposing fees on emitters of greenhouse gases, is such an insidious idea.  Ostensibly, the fees would provide a ‘market-based’ incentive for emitters to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  In practice, it would raise energy prices, as both President Obama and Rep. Henry Waxman (D. – Hollywood Millionaires) have admitted.  Thankfully, the vast majority of Senators have realized that cap-and-trade is a tax, which is why on April 1 they passed by the margin of 98-0 an amendment to the budget “To protect middle-income taxpayers from tax increases by providing a point of order against legislation that increase taxes on them, including taxes that arise, directly or indirectly, from Federal revenues derived from climate change or similar legislation.”  That amendment essentially recognizes cap-and-trade as a stealth tax, one that Americans for Tax Reform have calculated as amounting to $3000 for each family.

So where does this leave us?  The EPA is announcing that they will hold a knife to the nation’s throat if this tax doesn’t get passed.  There’s responsible government for you!  The intelligent environmentalists at The Breakthrough Institute recognize the folly of this strategy, but, sad to say, intelligent voices in the environmentalist movement are very rarely listened to.

In the face of this assault of Green Taxes, there may be no alternative but to hold a Green Tea Party.  Watch this space.

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