“But Taxes”

Nobody likes taxes. We should.


Any debate about climate change must discuss which IPCC prediction we believe and what the effect on jobs and pockets will be if we do what Greta etc want.


Mate, what to do is easy: a carbon tax. How to get that through that’s the hard part


Objections and Replies

Cost. Taxes cost us—
Taxes can be neutral. Taxes can replace other taxes, for instance those levied for fossil fuel subsidies or military spendings {1}. See also #ButCosts.

Debt. We’re once AGAIN gonna explode fed debt to catastrophic levels
That sounds catastrophist. Government debt isn’t like household debt.

Pricing. But carbon pricing will never be done, it’s too
☞ Here is a dashboard for carbon pricing initiatives around the world.

Proof. I don’t see a proven link between benefits and regulations/taxes—
☞ Find a civilized society without them and report.

Theft. Taxation is theft—
False. You read too much Freedom Fighters. Taxation is what we pay for society. The biggest risks have always been the public’s burden.

Voluntary. Better alternatives will be spontaneous and voluntary—
☞ Human behavior is complex, and voluntaryism is a chimera.

Weather. Taxes don’t prevent bad weather
☞ When implemented properly, Pigouvian taxation changes behavior. The end game is to stabilize our emissions, and taxing them should help.

Work. Taxes don’t work—
☞ Indeed they do. That’s how we can afford civil societies {2}. As long as fossil fuels are cheap, they will be burned.


{1} Budgeting. The winning strategy turns the exchange into a budgeting exercise. Build your own list of dubious spending decisions: military spendings, Mars exploration, police force, etc. Audits never end.

{2} Externality. One might argue that profit implies an externality somewhere, but it might be wise not to go there.

{3} Good. Taxes are good, actually.

{4} Incentive. The word “incentive” sells better than “tax” or “regulation.” From political philosophy, we now turn to marketing.

{5} Subsidies. Remind anti-taxxers of all the fossil-fuel subsidies. Subsidies for tech we want to develop should be fine when done well. Subsidies for the most profitable industries known to mankind is a bit meh.

{6} V. See also #ButCosts, #ButPSYOP, #ButFreedom.


Ten Big Reasons to Feel Good about Taxes, by Canadians for Tax Fairness.

Taxes Are Good, by Government is Good dot com; you get the memo.

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Further Readings

2019-02; Stranded Assets and Efficient Pricing for Regulated Utilities: A Federal Tax Solution; SSRN: 3443927.

2019-05; Global Fossil Fuel Subsidies Remain Large: An Update Based on Country-Level Estimates; ISBN: 9781484393178/1018-5941.

2017; The Behavioral Effect of Pigovian Regulation: Evidence from a Field Experiment.

2015-09; Picking Winners and Losers: A Structural Examination of Tax Subsidies to the Energy Industry; DOI: 10.2139/ssrn.2657336.

2010-05; Freedom Fighters; An antidote to the Social Justice Warrior (or SJW) meme.