The No. 1 reason that a carbon fee (or tax) has political potential is that it offers Congress flexibility. Lawmakers could opt for the Shultz and Summers’s proposal and treat all their constituents to a quarterly dividend. Or they could use the sizable revenue such a fee would generate to reduce the high corporate tax rate or some other tax. Yet another option is to plow that money into infrastructure, aid for coal-dependent communities, clean energy and other priorities.
Like Congress, the business community can also see value in such a fee, as illustrated by the support of General Motors, ExxonMobil, Procter & Gamble and other major corporations. Its simplicity, efficiency and reliance on the free market make a carbon fee superior to other climate-change solutions, and business executives are not in denial about the changing climate. Let’s hope that the business community will use its influence to convince Congress that pricing carbon is not only good for Americans’ health but is also smart economics and smart politics.
William C. Eacho, Washington
The writer is co-founder of the Partnership for Responsible Growth.