A group of Republican insiders was scheduled to meet at the White House today to push the Trump administration to embrace slapping carbon taxes on the nation’s floundering economy, Sean Moran reports at Breitbart News.
On the campaign trail President Trump came out against enacting a carbon tax. “I will not support or endorse a carbon tax!” he tweeted May 13, 2016. White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus previously said that Trump’s “default position” on climate change is that “most of it is a bunch of bunk.”
Priebus, National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, Ivanka Trump, and her husband Jared Kushner, were supposed to meet with former Treasury Secretary James Baker and others. The pro-carbon tax group reportedly includes former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, former Walmart chairman Rob Walton, and New America Foundation founder Ted Halstead, but it was unclear at time of writing if they were expected to attend the meeting.
According to Moran,
The insiders would impose a $40 per ton tax on carbon, and potentially increase it in the future. Conservatives on Capitol Hill and Pennsylvania Avenue oppose a carbon tax. […] At $40 per ton of carbon, the plan would raise $300 billion in revenue, and add 36 cents per gallon to gas prices. James Baker has said that they would reallocate the funds in the form of rebates, a family of four would receive $2,000 a year.
James Baker is trying to sell the carbon tax as “something that does not increase, build government, that is conservative, that is free market.”
Some right-of-center groups in Washington like the R Street Institute support carbon taxes, as Michael Bastasch and Steven J. Allen reported in the August 2013 issue of Green Watch. A handful of scholars at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) appear to favor such taxes.
“Conservatives should seize the opportunity to once again emphasize the superiority of free markets over central planning,” R Street’s Andrew Moylan wrote in 2013. “A revenue-neutral carbon tax with regulatory reform could do exactly that.”
Marlo Lewis of the Competitive Enterprise Institute thinks a carbon tax would be disastrous.
The political choice facing the American people is in no small part that between a Republican Party that is anti-tax and pro-energy and a Democratic Party that is anti-energy and pro-tax. This clear product differentiation is an asset for the GOP. Republicans are truly the Dumb Party if they squander their energy advantage instead of pressing it to the hilt. Conservative advocacy of a carbon tax can only blur the battle lines, divide GOP leaders, and demoralize the movement’s activist base.