Carbon Tax, Carbon Tax, Carbon Tax

Cato At Liberty cites Marlo Lewis' ongoing work discussing carbon taxes:

Another take on the carbon tax is offered by our good friend, the always insightful Marlo Lewis, from the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Marlo takes on Summers’ “Oil Swoon Creates the Opening for a Carbon Tax” with his own “Oil ‘Swoon’ Is Not an Argument for Carbon Taxes” over at the blog for

Marlo leads off with this bit of depressing (yet predictable) news,

"It was inevitable. As soon as consumers and the economy start to enjoy significant relief from a decade of pain at the pump, the political class clamors for higher gas taxes and new carbon taxes."

Marlo then takes us through the long list of supposed “benefits” of a carbon tax, tearing each one down along the way. From “Is carbon energy a tax haven?” to “Do we overuse fossil fuels?” to “Would a carbon tax make energy markets more efficient?” Marlo’s answer is always the same, “No.” He summarizes:

"Summers makes a clear, concise, but unpersuasive case for a carbon tax. The holes in the argument are not his doing but rather arise from the thesis he propounds. The case for a carbon tax fails because:
  • American energy is not undertaxed or under-regulated.
  • An underperforming economy and anti-market policies already restrict oil consumption.
  • Policymakers do not know the sign (positive or negative), much less the monetary impact, of an incremental ton of CO2, so even a small carbon tax could do more harm than good.
  • Carbon taxes are regressive and would be piled on top of existing taxes and regulations rather than replace them.
  • Even a very aggressive carbon tax imposing trillion-dollar costs on the economy would have no discernible climate impact for decades to come.
  • Consumers are finally getting a break from high gasoline prices. Having endured years of energy-price windfall losses, they should now be allowed to enjoy windfall gains."