Sunday, March 02, 2008

The Great Canadian Carbon Tax Swindle

Last week when David Suzuki rolled out his Amazing Carbon Tax Schticht prior to the Federal Budget, I asked Sun columnist Lorrie Goldstein if he'd be doing a response. He replied, "All in due time..."

It was well worth the wait.

In The carbon cops are coming, Goldstein exposes the intellectual dishonesty of environmental advocates and politicians who try to woo us to the Green side with tales of how their schemes will be 'revenue neutral'. As a public service, Lorrie offers his three-pronged guide designed to help us sort through the hot air emanating from Suzuki Nation:

1) When any of them tell you "polluters will pay" to reduce greenhouse gases, they mean you and me.

Whenever they talk about a carbon tax, a "cap-and-trade" system, carbon credits or the regulation of industrial greenhouse gases by government, they are talking about the same thing -- higher taxes.

( . . . )

2) This brings us to the second point of our guide: Whenever a politician, or anyone else, claims a carbon tax will be "revenue neutral" nail them down on exactly what they mean.

Politicians and environmentalists like to toss around "revenue neutral" because it sounds as if even with a new carbon tax, you will pay no more in total taxes than you do now.

That's not what it means. Even if a government was considering a truly "revenue neutral" tax, it may well not be neutral for you. Say you need your car to drive to work because you live in one city and your job is in another. If the government imposes a carbon tax by hiking gasoline prices, it may claim it's "revenue neutral" because it's going to return an equal amount in tax incentives for people to take public transit. Problem is, if you don't have a realistic transit alternative for getting to work, your carbon tax is no longer "revenue neutral." .

( . . .)

3) Finally, when a politician or environmentalist tells you a carbon tax can be imposed with "minimal" harm to the economy ask them what assumptions they base this on.

In both the recent study on carbon pricing by the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, and in the one released by the Suzuki Foundation last week, the authors simply assume that while Canada is taxing carbon, the U.S. and our other major trading partners will be doing the same...

And that's a huge assumption.

Even the Toronto Star takes note of the fact that while this may be a desirable situation, it is clearly not going to happen anytime in the near future. Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty, brother of the current Federal Liberal environmental critic David, is not jumping on the bandwagon. He rightly realizes that such a plan would devastate the Ontario economy which is already facing huge challenges competing with China, etc.

As in all things, buyer beware.


Roy Eappen said...

Thanks for that Joanne. This carbon tax is the new voodoo economics.

hunter said...

The environmentalists need to get this carbon tax in place before the economy tanks. Once a tax, of any kind is in place, it never gets removed. As people start to worry about their jobs, they will be less willing to listen to Suzukites. Interesting that this gets brought into the news just before the budget, was the media expecting an election?

Anonymous said...

the economy(in Ontario) is tanking very nicely without another thanks very much....and what's Dalton done so far? Nothing but deflect blame and whine to the feds.

Anonymous said...

As being a 50 something person and having always hearing of governments cutting taxes one might conclude that we started off with a very large amount to begin with ...but when you look at the net results you need some very creative math to justify your sum total always they seem to have been able to get that knife that is being slid into our backs so razor sharp as not to cause any shock ...Katou

Swift said...

It wasn't very long ago that the hysterians were proposing a $30 a ton tax. Taxes are going up even before they are applied.

Suppose they do cut other taxes. Any tax benefits you get will be reduced or eliminated by the increased cost of everything you buy. Massive plant closures will throw hundreds of thousands out of work. The economic slowdown will cause the retail and service industries to layoff many more. Reduced corporate profits will cause tax revenues to fall. All the extra people on EI and welfare will cause income tax revenues to fall. Falling revenues will cause governments to raise taxes or go further into debt, which will raise taxes for the rest of your life. After a year or two new figures will show a great increase in poverty. Thus massive new poverty reduction schemes will need to be implemented. If you are one of the lucky ones that still have their job, every time you look in a mirror you will see who will be paying for the next round of growth of the poverty industry. But just remember all this wasn't caused by the carbon tax, but by Bush and Harper.

Anonymous said...

I find it odd that other conservatives oppose using market based tools to better our environment and reduce our pollution.

The same economic slowdowns were predicted for the Montreal Protocol. But instead it stimulated development and reduced costs, because it let the industry find it's own way to societies goals.

Wayward Son said...

"That's not what it means. Even if a government was considering a truly "revenue neutral" tax, it may well not be neutral for you."

Brilliant. So those who create the most pollution and greenhouse gases shouldn't have to pay more to clean up their own mess. That is not Conservative thinking, but the opposite. Conservatives used to be about taking personal responsibility for their actions.

Anonymous said...

Voodoo economics!? How about just common sense. Make those things we don't want, as a nation that values our health, I would hope, over convenience. Carbon in the atmosphere is killing large numbers of people and that number is growing exponentially. We are a creative species. Unfortunately, humanity doesn't always make necessary changes unless there is incentive. Very few persons need to live an hour drive from their workplace. Logistics can be made more efficient in business, etc, etc. Now with the concept of taxshifting being discussed more often, a carbon tax just makes sense..... "Common Sense"... Where'd we hear that before!