Times-Picayune Columnist Bob Marshall recently penned an opinion column slamming Congressman Steve Scalise for his opposition to a carbon tax, suggesting that Scalise is somehow failing to represent his constituents by opposing a massive new energy tax on Americans.
Bizarrely, Marshall begins his case by conceding a carbon tax’s net impact may indeed be detrimental to the country as a whole, but argues it is “essential to the welfare of families and businesses” of Louisiana, leading Marshall to snarkily conclude that Scalise should “move to West Virginia.”
Marshall’s apparent concern for the welfare of Louisianans is at odds with his energy tax proposal that raises the cost of utilities and gasoline, while devastating Louisiana’s manufacturing base and energy industry. State based policy experts contend that the tax’s severe blow to Louisiana’s energy sector could even undermine Louisiana’s environmental goals by endangering funding.
“The energy sector is not only one of Louisiana’s largest economic drivers, it is also a key funder of environmental and coastal restoration efforts in our state,” said Pelican Institute CEO Daniel Erspamer. “A carbon tax would only serve to increase the financial burden on Louisiana families, while discouraging the growth of jobs and opportunity during a time when we desperately need both.”
Marshall’s column goes on to wildly assert that a federal carbon tax is the only way to stop sea-level rise in Louisiana, apocalyptically warning Scalise’s opposition to the tax will lead to a “watery end” for his constituents.
Marshall’s argument is a foolish one. Throughout his piece, Marshall employs the predictable tactics of the political left when discussing environmental issues; conflating his own opinion with science while neglecting to address the proposed policy or its actual impact.
So let’s talk about a carbon tax.
Of course, nowhere does Marshall discuss a carbon tax’s actual impact on surface temperature, and consequential sea-level rise. Take arecent example of a carbon tax introduced in Congress, which would implement a $24 per metric ton of greenhouse gas emissions, growing 2 percent per year above inflation and an additional $2 per ton every two years if emission-reduction goals are not met.According to Ben Zycher at the American Enterprise Institute, such a proposal would lead to predicted temperature reduction of only 31 one-thousandths of one degree by the end of the century.
The carbon tax is ridiculous as environmental policy. It’s also destructive of household budgets. The tax would impose a trillion dollar tax hike and increase average energy costs by roughly $1,100 annually for a family of four.
The U.S. is leading the world in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and doing so at nearly twice the amount of any other country. That’s right, the U.S. is number one in the world. Somehow, this information was left out of Mr. Marshall’s column.
Again, this is all typical tactics of the environmentalist left; wrap yourself in the cloak of science and assert that all of the experts are on your side, while failing to address the policy ramifications in any meaningful way.
Marshall also misleads his readers by suggesting a carbon tax is a “market-based solution.” There is absolutely nothing “free-market” about the government stepping in to penalize consumers for energy use. In fact, the entire purpose and goal of a carbon tax is to give preferential treatment to certain forms of energy while taxing others out of existence. It’s one thing to debate the trade-offs of a policy’s environmental impact, but it’s quite another to dishonestly label a carbon tax as a free-market solution.
A carbon tax is an unserious proposal pushed by advocates who are at best uninformed and at worst disingenuous. It is nothing more than the latest disguise of a Democrat tax-hike that also provides the political convenience of virtue-signaling to the environmentalist left.
Under Republican leadership, Congress has delivered major victories for the American people, spurring a historic period of economic growth in the country. Thanks largely to the Republican tax cuts, utilities are lowering their rates, manufacturers are hiring andemployers are expanding benefits to their workers. The last thing American families need right now is for lawmakers to reverse our economy by passing a massive new energy tax.
Representative Scalise’s leadership in opposing a carbon tax is resolute and results in good energy policy. Rather than kowtowing to the alarmism of the far-left, Scalise has worked tirelessly to support a conservative energy agenda that lowers energy costs for all Americans while strengthening America’s energy independence and dominance in the world.
Mike Palicz is federal affairs manager at the nonprofit Americans for Tax Reform which advocates for limited government and lower taxes.