Suppose we taxed income less, and carbon more?
Bob Inglis is a former Republican senator from South Carolina– and how conservative is he?
“You’re taking to a guy who at a 93 percent American Conservative rating; 100 percent Christian Coalition; 100 percent National Right to Life,” explains Inglis.
He voted for Romney, he would have voted for Santorum. Yet here’s a guy who believes climate change is real, humans are partly responsible, and therefore it is time for a tax on carbon.
Says Inglis, “Yes, a tax swap. Let’s put a tax on something we want less of and un-tax something we want more of.”
Which would mean, for example, slap a tax on carbon, which we want less of, and remove the tax on corporate income, or the tax on payroll income, since income is something we want more of.
Sounds logical, but there might be some push-back, because in practice he admits, “It does cause the price of gas to go up, it does cause the cost of electricity to go up.”
But suppose if in exchange, you cut the payroll tax, which every wage earner hates? It might fly. I’ve often suggested taking the next step in using the free market to make better decisions — paying for our presence in the Persian Gulf by adding the cost of the Fifth Fleet to the price of gas, since that’s why we’re really there. But Congressman Inglis says there’s a limit to the support for this kind of radical honesty in Congress.
“It’s a very small luncheon at this point but as someone said of the financial crisis – it’s interesting how the impossible can go to the inevitable without ever passing through the probable,” says Inglis.
Congressman Bob Inglis: hoping that one day there will be room in the economic debate for a little imagination.