This is a guest post by Monica Prasad, who wrote an op-ed in Tuesday’s New York Times called “On Carbon: Tax, Don’t Spend.” It elicited responses from David Roberts and Charles Komanoff.
Thanks to David and Charlie for picking up on and responding to my carbon tax op-ed. I’ve learned a lot from Grist, so I was happy to see this. Some responses to their criticisms.
David’s beef is with the word “spend” in the headline. I agree the headline is stupid, and it was not my idea. It implies that I’m advocating hoarding the revenue. Instead, I was trying to say that the goal is to avoid collecting the tax revenue in the first place, by getting firms to change their polluting behavior. If they’re not polluting, they don’t pay the tax, and there’s nothing to spend. (I wanted to call it “How to Make a Carbon Tax Work.”)
Why not spend “lock some of the tax revenue away” to cushion the blow of higher energy prices on low-income and working families? Why not use it to reduce the (regressive) payroll tax? Why not use it to ... Read more