In a Friday blog post, Bill Maher suggested that President Obama should use the looming fiscal cliff to raise revenue in the form of a carbon tax, which would issue a “fuck you” to the Koch brothers and “just desserts” to the oil industry for spending millions in support of Mitt Romney.
“This may be his last and only chance to do something big” on climate change “since cap and trade didn’t work,” Maher wrote.
A carbon tax, which would require corporations to pay a tax for every ton of carbon it releases into the atmosphere through burning fossil fuels, is not a novel idea. An August 2012 report from the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change found that a carbon tax starting at $20 per ton of carbon in 2013 and rising 4 percent annually, would benefit the economy — by raising $1.25 trillion over 10 years — and lower carbon dioxide emissions to “14% below 2006 levels by 2020, and 20% below by 2050.”
CNN contributor, author, and former special assistant to President George W. Bush, David Frum, wrote a CNN article on Dec. 3 in support of such a policy, explaining, “More jobs and growth; reduced deficits without raising income taxes; lower taxes for middle-class families; a kick in the pants to Chinese polluters; and more happiness for American commuters — one policy instrument can do it all. What’s not to love about a carbon tax?”
Maher also argued that while “going off” the fiscal cliff, or letting the Bush tax cuts expire, could lead to another recession, the Congressional Budget Office has also said that such tax increases could help the country’s fiscal situation in the long-term.
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