I argue that Republicans could actually win the environmental argument, improve energy efficiency and foreign policy issues and kneecap Democratic attempts to impose cap-and-trade by supporting the elimination of the payroll tax in exchange for a carbon tax. Not only would be good policy (the payroll tax reduces positive externalities; the carbon tax reduces negative externalities), it would take a central issue off the table for Democrats.
So I'm heartened to see a promising Republican candidate who sees the opportunity...
Instead of turning to a complex system of cap-and-trade credits to combat global warming, the country should consider a carbon tax that is “more simple and straightforward” for businesses and consumers, a Republican U.S. Senate candidate said Monday. “I’m not fooled by cap and trade,” said Rob Simmons, who is angling to unseat U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd in next year’s election. [...]
He said the government ought to “call it what it is” — a carbon tax — and take on the issue directly. Generally, most of those pushing for a carbon tax instead argue that its simplicity would prevent the need for more bureaucratic oversight, drive out speculators and offer the chance to return any taxes collected through payroll or income tax reductions.
Improve the environment, reduce congestion, reduce dependence on oil, pay less money to tyrannies, elimate the payroll tax, beat Democrats at their own game and do it all without raising total taxes at all or giving government (or industry) more control over the market? I can get onboard with that.
UPDATE: (sigh) Never mind. See the comment section at the news article, where the Simmons campaign manager says "Rob Simmons does not support a carbon tax. He does believe that supporters of "cap and trade" should be more straightforward about their intentions and propose a carbon tax if that is what they desire so the American people can make a clear judgment about the consequences of such a policy - a policy Rob opposes."
We could eliminate the payroll tax and take this environmental issue off the table for Democrats. But no, Republicans are content to keep the payroll tax and settle for complaining about Democrats.