You have a bind: there are two versions of the "carbon tax initiative": the "pure" one, which can attract thinking Repubs, and ought to have the support of Dems; but which offers no pork-barrelling, which people have come to expect as a right, so struggles to get enough support. As you found, this version doesn't get 100% Dem support, because they want the moon on a stick, so it fails. The other version is the distinctly impure one, where revenues are used to buy off a pile of special interests. Now you can get all the Dems on board, but you repel a lot of Repubs. There isn't an easy answer to this, other than to slap the over-fussy Dems around and get them to vote for the "pure" version.Joe Romm at ThinkProgress roundly blames Big Bad Oil for the defeat; but that's just excuse-making and infantilising the electorate. Doubtless money has some influence; but telling how much is impossible, and in the end the electorate are responsible for the little marks that they put on the little pieces of paper. TC says
Like many economists, I have long supported the idea of a carbon tax, and still do. Government has to tax something. So why not tax those activities which generate social costs, in this case through disruptive climate change? It is a very intuitive argument that has persuaded many economists on both sides of the political spectrum.So far so obvious. But also
The doomsday wing of the carbon-tax movement has long faced a tension in its proclamations. On one hand, it argues that relatively modest carbon-tax proposals will bring significant gains for the global climate. On the other, some of the more extreme advocates argue that without such taxes, the climate will take a disastrous turn. The reality is that carbon taxes would simply be accelerating the natural course of technological progress — electric cars in five years rather than 15. That’s a net social benefit, but it is unlikely to make the difference between environmental balance and doom.which I rather like. How can sane people - like him and me - convince anyone that carbon taxes are a good and useful idea, if other people are loudly shouting that doom is just around the corner? Clearly, a modest (say, $20 / tonne) carbon tax cannot be the difference between Doom and Not-Doom; it is easy enough to morph that into "oh well in that case let's not bother".
TC doesn't have any geat ideas for how to address this problem, and neither do I. We could just hope it will solve itself; Lazards Levelized Cost of Energy and Levelized Cost of Storage 2018 looks good (and see-also Storage will replace 3 California gas plants as PG&E nabs approval for world's largest batteries).
Brian has a go, at Eli's.
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* Elon Musk weights in.
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* There are No Natural Resources… - CafeHayek
* Yes, a carbon tax - Timmy
* Low-skilled Immigrants are Productive, Too - CafeHayek
* Markets fail, use markets - EconLib
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* What Would Milton Friedman Do About Climate Change? Tax Carbon - Jeff McMahon, Forbes.
* Why the world needs a carbon tax - Tim Harford