Acronym watch: MARKET CHOICE

Would you believe "Modernizing America with Rebuilding to Kickstart the Economy of the Twenty-first Century with a Historic Infrastructure-Centered Expansion Act’’ aka the ‘MARKET CHOICE Act? Not as good as "SEMTEX"; I forget what that was, one of Liz's, something like "SEaice and MeTeorology EXperiment", obviously there was no hope of getting that though the buros, though infamously there was HIHO HIHO from the Australians; see-also James.

Anyway, don't toss it out just because it has a silly name, what of the substance? Well, it's a carbon tax, with some attempt at PR, and irritating side-conditions. Congress 6463, by Carlos Curbelo, an R. The PR is the name, and (I suspect) the irritating conditions, which is blathering on about funding infrastructure. I think a Carbon tax could either just be a part of general taxation (and to appease the zealots, would then be combined with tax-cutting elsewhere to be revenue neutral) or less plausibly part of tax-and-dividend (in a transparent and probably doomed attempt to win mass support); but I'm dubious that tying it to other spending makes any sense.

Possibly weirdly, the tax ($24 to start with, a sensible number) is applied "per metric ton of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions" for fuel combusted. But, who burns anything that generates anything other than CO2? Maybe it's just a wise future-proofing precaution to prevent people switching to burning rubber.

Some are happy to welcome it; EEnews says Rep. Carlos Curbelo rolled out the first Republican carbon pricing bill in nearly a decade this morning, a rare political risk that quickly earned rebukes from conservatives and tepid praise from environmental groups. If I'd read the deatils I could tell you the details of what is in it; but I haven't, and I doubt it would be worth it, because as Curbelo himself said, it won't pass, it's more of a strawman, and perhaps it will fare well as that, or spark a debate.

Update: Consequences of a Nationwide Carbon Tax by "FEE" is the kind of opposition a carbon tax would face. Much of it is I think tainted by denialism, but the words about designing what to do with the tax money are valid. They don't want to give the govt more money, without a guarantee of what will happen in exchange, and they know they won't get that guarantee. They also know that the arm-twisting needed to get the tax through will lead to messy and unedifying compromises, and it is hard to see how a "clean" tax could emerge from such a process.

Or, continuing, A Carbon Tax Is Still a Bad Idea by Veronique de Rugy. I notice, again, how this kind of opposition is largely predicated on not trusting politicians with a new tax, and (correctly IMO) criticised the rather naive pro-tax folk who simply assume that govt will "do the right thing". For bonus points, she links to DR for evidence that, while they talk about tax at a certain level, they're really sniffing for something higher.


Anti-Market Atavism Explained
* CH on extreme free trade


Hank Roberts said...


William M. Connolley said...

Brin is long on rhetoric but I'm not at all convinced he knows what he is talking about. There's a lot in Adam Smith; you can pull various elements out; saying that you are channelling the true spirit just because you're following one of his thoughts is likely wrong. So Brin jumps from externalities to tobacco taxes without a thought in his head: tobacco taxes are not there to adjust for externalities. Smith - and, as he says, Hayek - argue that some degree of public education is good, but then so does everyone else. What he says of Milton Friedman is nonsense. And his enthusiasm for Nancy MacLean is stupid.

So, I fear the lesson is obvious: Brin is a SciFi author.

William M. Connolley said...

Incidentally, in http://evonomics.com/the-ceo-of-sears-jon-haidt/ JH misses the key point: that under competition, failures die.