Re: Taxing Energy

by Jonathan H. Adler

I’m with Ramesh on this one.  (Sorry, Iain.)  I think that a deal, such as that outlined by Inglis and Laffer, is definitely worth taking (and have tepidly endorsed a deal of this sort in several NRO columns in the past few years, e.g. here and here).  I explained some of my reasons on the Volokh Conspiracy here on Sunday.  One reason that is worth highlighting is that a “just say no” position, such as that outlined by Jim Manzi in the December 1 NRODT — even if successful in defeating cap-and-trade legislation — would not prevent the federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions.  Now that the EPA has regulatory authority to control GHGs under the Clean Air Act, such regulation is a certainty.  Indeed, it is compelled.  So, if no climate change legislation passes, we will be stuck with even more onerous and unwieldy command-and-controls regs on carbon dioxide.  This reality does not require preemptive compromise, but I think it does add to the argument for an ambitious deal, of the sort Inglis and Laffer have proposed.