Robert Zubrin: The Green War on the Poor

The Democratic party used to care about poor and working people.

In a nearly full-page op-ed appearing in the business section of the August 25 New York Times, Cornell professor Robert H. Frank lays out the new green agenda for tax policy.

According to Professor Frank, stopping global warming may require carbon taxes of about $300 per ton of carbon dioxide emitted, and by implementing such taxes, we can also balance the federal budget. “If such a tax were phased in,” Frank says, “the prices of goods would rise gradually in proportion to the amount of carbon dioxide their production or use entailed. The price of gasoline, for example, would slowly rise by somewhat less than $3 per gallon. Motorists in many countries already pay that much more than Americans do, and they seem to have adapted by driving substantially more efficient vehicles. . . . many budget experts agree that federal budgets simply can’t be balanced with spending cuts alone. We’ll also need substantial additional revenue, most of which could be generated by a carbon tax.”

In addition to increasing the cost of American goods through carbon taxes, Frank recommends jacking up the price of imports through carbon tariffs, and he suggests that the U.S. government use such tariffs to force other nations to impose carbon taxes on their own citizens. “Some people argue that a carbon tax would do little good unless it were also adopted by China and other big polluters,” Frank says. “It’s a fair point. But access to the American market is a potent bargaining chip. The United States could seek approval to tax imported goods in proportion to their carbon dioxide emissions if exporting countries failed to enact carbon taxes at home.”

But that’s not all. Because the green tax targets carbon, rather than income, it would act as a dirigiste economic policy favoring businesses that make money trading in paper instruments over those that produce real value through industry, agriculture, transport, mining, and construction. This would impoverish society overall, once again hurting the vulnerable the most, and would destroy tens of millions of blue-collar jobs.

Was ever a more regressive tax policy proposed? And has anyone ever demanded that the United States launch a trade war to force other countries to impose such oppressive policies on their own people, most of whom can afford them even less? There was a time when the Democratic party concerned itself with the needs of poor and working people. Alas, those times are past.

The green tax plan is a declaration of war on the poor.


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18 responses to “Robert Zubrin: The Green War on the Poor

  1. Is the Democratic party so stupid that they can’t see the more you tax people the fewer jobs there will be because of less money available for people to buy what they want instead of what they need? Less spending, less tax money. It’s all a big circle.

  2. “federal budgets simply can’t be balanced with spending cuts alone.”

    What cuts? Jackass.

  3. The Democrat Party hasn’t “cared” about “the poor” (or about anyone else but themselves) since at least 1960. To the Democrat Party and Democrats, the poor are just one constituency to be used to get re-elected and increase their power (by using other people’s money to buy the poor’s votes), and to make others feel guilty in order to cajole/steer them into funding Democrats’ campaigns and also to silence those others into not complaining about being taxed into and beyond the grave. (The GOP at least mouths far better ideals, but is only marginally better in practice.)

    • Careful about your rhetoric, TGM. There is a difference between complaining about policies that will harm the poor and making up stories about how evil they area.

  4. Never forget that the end goal is Communism.

    Communism must be arrived at by common understanding and motivation in order to “work,” however, so Socialism is what is imposed by the ruling class until everyone willingly gets on board.

    But since even average folk recognize the word “socialism” as an antonym of the terms “freedom” and “well-being,” and synonymous with terms such as “North Korea” and “The U.S.S.R.,” yet another interim measure is put in place until Socialism can be imposed.

    In the USA, it is called “democracy,” and currently runs in the guise of the Democratic Party. It has enough clout that most Republicans pay it heed so as not to be left out of the equation of power. Thus, the GOP have a better set of rhetoric, but not much difference in actual behavior.

    • There are people in the GOP who believe that freedom and liberty are good for everyone, including blacks, hispanics, asians, and women. America is about individuals, not groups.

      • Agreed, as far as your statement goes. However, I believe it may also be truthfully said of some members of the Democrat party, which is why my allegiance is to principles, not parties.

        America will remain about individuals, only insofar as individuals retain the right of self-rule in an ever more regulated society. If that happens, the GOP will eventually be left behind, as they have been little better than the Dems in the expansion of government and the erosion of liberty.

      • Smokey, I think the TEA party is going to turn the Republicans back to freedom and liberty. Should the GOP not go back, and there is some resistance, they will cease to exist.

  5. Politicians do not care about people so much as votes. They think of people in terms of categories – women, minorities, taxpayers, unions, workers, the rich, the poor, etc. – because that makes it easier to manipulate them (Applied Semantics 201). Manipulating them allows one to persuade them to vote a certain way.
    “Political tags – such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth – are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire.” — Robert A. Heinlein

  6. techgm is right. As an original “yellow dog” Democrat I saw the switch from the “little fellers” to the Rockerfellers in the 60’s and 70’s. Democrats are controlled and bankrolled by the richest people on the planet, Soros,Imelt, Wall Street, mega unions, green organizations etc.

    • The non-producers have to get funding from somebody to continue their non-production. So, the Dems need rich folks to fund their pursuit of power/control over a free people. And the rich funders will (or hope to) get some of that power, in exchange for their money. But, eventually, the Dems will go after them and their money, too!

  7. A revenue neutral carbon or oil tax would do a lot of good. Especially an oil tax when one considers how much of our DoD spending and foreign policy issues are directly or indirectly related to oil.

    A $100/BBL oil tax would harm SUV makers and help Pirus production and Chevy volt production, with a small job loss per billion in taxes. If the revenue neutral part of the oil tax was elimination of the payroll taxes with their known and obvious anti-job impacts, we would come out with more jobs and could tell the Middle East to go pound sand.

    Eliminating a worse tax for a bad tax is a step forward. You don’t even need to show how bad an oil tax is, just show it is better than a payroll tax.

    • ROFLMAO!

    • Payroll tax is the funding for Sociable Security. And you think it’s bad?

    • A revenue neutral tax plan is a creature of myth and has lower probability of being observed than unicorns. The political class sees any tax reduction as spending, which must be offset by increased taxes.
      The imposition of a carbon tax makes all things that use oil, coal and natural gas more expensive and reduces demand. This increases the price of distribution of those goods, making them more difficult to purchase. Demand reductions mean lower profits and lower employment. The idea that increasing fuel costs will get rid of profitable SUV’s in favor of lower profit vehicles being great for the economy is suspect. People buy SUV’s, pick-ups and other so called gas guzzlers by choice. No one forces them.
      The idea to create energy independence by making hydrocarbons artificially exorbitantly expensive is silly. Why not develop our own resources and quit whining about what others are doing to us?

    • And how much extra would this cost the single mom waitress? What percentage of her income will this confiscate?

  8. Looking from ‘the top down’, as politicians and elites are prone to do, a tax is a source of revenue. Down here, in the real world, a tax is a penalty on certain behaviors. These need not even be ‘economic’ behaviors, as, for example, penalties on mere ownership.

    Thus, there are penalties for making too much money, owning too much land, etc. It’s the ultimate tool in social engineering. The power to wield these penalties is the power to mold society into any form desired.

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