Rep. John Dingell proposes carbon tax, doesn’t really mean it

Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.), the powerful chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, plans to introduce a carbon-tax bill that would raise the cost of burning fossil fuels. Yep, you heard that right: Dingell’s proposal, announced in an interview on C-SPAN, would impose a double-digit tax on each ton of carbon dioxide emitted and raise the federal gasoline tax from 18.4 cents per gallon to 68.4 cents. But hold your applause (or threats) — Dingell’s goal is not to push through a bold climate measure, but to illustrate how unpopular such a tax would be. “I sincerely doubt that the American people will be willing to pay what this is really going to cost them,” he said. Most Democrats and Republicans have long concurred, believing that supporting any broad energy tax is political suicide. Dingell’s committee will draft a climate bill this fall, and a number of Democrats, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), are pushing him to make that bill strong. And sincere would also be nice.