Fred L Smith

CO2 tax: bad policy, bad politics (just as ex-Rep. Inglis)

CO2 tax: bad policy, bad politics (just ask ex-Rep. Inglis)

Those favoring larger government are finding it harder to finance them by raising taxes. Proponents have sought to reduce opposition by claiming that they’re not really raising taxes at all—their taxes will be “neutral.” Sure, we’ll take $50 billion or so in taxes from the economy, but we’ll then put it back again in the form of tax reductions or rebates. From a macro-economic perspective, they argue, there will be no impact at all! Why bother, you might ask?

The prime candidate advanced by those seeking to better plan our economy is the carbon tax. We’ll tax carbon and use the revenues to offset its impact. People will use less energy but retain the same income. We’ll change prices without changing income—a highly targeted incentive package! To tax energy users is feasible, although complicated. For example, would our statist central planner simply tax all energy materials? But farmers have traditionally escaped gas and diesel taxes for on-farm use. Will this exemption be repealed? [click to continue…]

On the Heartland Controversy

by Fred L Smith on February 22, 2012

in Blog

The recent acquisition of Heartland documents (apparently along with a fraudulent “strategy” document) has created a minor journalist firestorm.  I’ll comment on the particulars of this incident but the broader implication is but one battle in the war to drive the market from the marketplace of ideas.  More on this but first let me summarize the facts as they now appear.

Peter Gleick, a climate scientist, claimed to be a board member and thus requested that Heartland re-forward him the materials sent out for a forthcoming Board meeting.  The staffer did so and Mr. Gleick then emailed “the” documents to interested parties, and they were originally posted on DeSmogBlog. I put the in quotes because it now appears that amongst the purloined documents was also enclosed a “strategy” document that outlined ideas to advance a more balanced understanding of the global warming policy area.  Serious doubts about the authenticity of this strategy document have since been raised. Not surprisingly, the global warming alarmists view this entire imbroglio as “proof” that skeptics are “only doing it for the money!”  I wonder whether they’ve ever done a comparison of salaries in right-of-center and left-of-center NGOs?

Ignored in all this is, however, a larger and even more serious issue – the growing effort to drive the market (and market-friendly voices) from the marketplace of ideas.  The left has found that their statist alliances – trial lawyers and environmentalists, unionists and consumer groups – have been powerful in advancing their agenda.  They’re not eager to see economic liberals do the same.

Note their systematic ideological-cleansing program:  no one with any business links serving on a government policy advisory group; no one with a business background to serving in government; pejorative labeling in academic journals of any business funded research; banning academics funding by business; passing stockholder resolutions against companies assisting pro-market policy allies; providing financial aid to our groups or of even interacting cooperatively with us (e.g. the Heartland crime).

If these efforts succeed, then the only legitimate voices in the policy debates will be crony capitalists and statist intellectuals. A serious threat and one that the Heartland incident should alert us to.