But perhaps the biggest danger is that despite the widespread economic damage, these proposals could become politically viable by incorporating large scale income redistribution. Even one supposedly conservative advocate of carbon taxes recently suggested 11 percent of the revenue should be used to increase social welfare spending to alleviate the impact of higher energy prices on the poor. We can safely assume the liberals will push for a much larger piece than that, perhaps issuing free gas cards much like existing food stamp cards so hardworking taxpayers can pick up the (fast-rising!) gas tab not just for themselves but for others, too.
Fortunately, some leaders in Congress are not waiting for the Democrats to spring this trap. Congressmen Steve Scalise of Louisiana and Joe Barton of Texas have introduced a resolution of disapproval making clear that a carbon tax would be economically destructive and should be rejected. Such “Sense of Congress” resolutions are usually just political statements, but given the marshaling of Democratic forces, it could serve as a vital prevention strategy to put the House firmly on the record in opposition now and prevent any risk of a carbon tax emerging as a real possibility. House leadership would be wise to bring the resolution to the floor and put the House on record against this terrible idea.
Phil Kerpen is president of American Commitment, a columnist on Fox News Opinion, chairman of the Internet Freedom Coalition, and author of the 2011 book Democracy Denied.
American Commitment is dedicated to restoring and protecting America’s core commitment to free markets, economic growth, Constitutionally-limited government, property rights, and individual freedom.
Washingtonian magazine named Mr. Kerpen to their "Guest List" in 2008 and The Hill newspaper named Mr. Kerpen a "Top Grassroots Lobbyist" in 2011.
Mr. Kerpen's op-eds have run in newspapers across the country and he is a frequent radio and television commentator on economic growth issues.
Prior to joining American Commitment, Mr. Kerpen served as vice president for policy at Americans for Prosperity. Mr. Kerpen has also previously worked as an analyst and researcher for the Free Enterprise Fund, the Club for Growth, and the Cato Institute.
A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Mr. Kerpen currently resides in Washington, D.C. with his wife Joanna and their daughter Lilly.