Shock: Libertarian Cato mag features ‘The Case for a Carbon Tax from a Free Market Perspective’

CEI’s Myron Ebell has the details.

The lead article in the summer issue of Regulation magazine, the Cato Institute’s flagship publication, is titled “What is the right price for carbon emissions?” The author is Bob Litterman, a Ph. D. economist who is currently a partner in a NYC-based hedge fund.

Here is Litterman’s conclusion: “It would be best to get started immediately by pricing carbon emissions no lower, and perhaps well above, a reasonable estimate of the present value of expected future damages, and allow the price to respond appropriately to new information as it becomes known.”

Litterman’s article is followed by four comments by Robert Pindyck, Daniel Sutter, Shi-Ling Hsu, and David R. Henderson. Pindyck and Hsu are for a carbon tax; Sutter and Henderson are opposed.

These articles were described by someone at Cato as “exploring the case for a carbon tax from a free market perspective.” But I don’t see anything resembling a free market case for a carbon tax being made in Litterman’s article or in the pro-carbon tax comments of Pindyck and Hsu.

Nor can I find anything in Litterman’s background or in the references in his article to suggest that he is a free market economist. He was at Goldman Sachs in high positions for twenty-some years and is a member of the board of the World Wildlife Fund. Goldman Sachs is one of the leading practitioners of crony capitalism. The World Wildlife Fund supports a variety of command-and-control environmental and energy-rationing policies that help keep poor people poor around the world.

It appears that some people at Cato are warming to the idea of rule by experts. Manipulating the tax code in order to remake society and force people to conform to some authoritarian agenda is really just another variant of central planning. Rule by experts was criticized insightfully in a 1945 essay, “The Use of Knowledge in Society,” by Friedrich A. Hayek, the Austrian economist for whom the Cato Institute’s auditorium is named. Hayek argued that rule by experts threatens human freedom. In my own view, the proper “free market perspective” on a carbon tax is: No way in hell.

Read the article at GlobalWarming.org.

6 thoughts on “Shock: Libertarian Cato mag features ‘The Case for a Carbon Tax from a Free Market Perspective’”

  1. At least 15% of current agricultural productivity, worldwide, is attributable to anthropogenic CO2. So if they’re going to try to a price tag on the cost of CO2 “carbon pollution” emissions, they should start by taking 15% of the cash value of the world’s crops and counting it as a negative “cost.”

  2. How about we increase energy production – reduce coal use – lower utility costs – create fresh water to irrigate dry land lowering food cost globally.

    A BOLD NEW ENERGY POLICY TO SAVE THE AMERICAN WAY OF LIFE!!!

    We put millions of skilled workers on manufacturing jobs building 500 to 1,000 Nuclear power plant of a low cost standard design. This will provide all the energy to accomplish a full restoration of our industrial base. How will this happen you ask?

    First we “MINE” the oceans for gold, silver, copper, uranium, methane, manganese and other valuable minerals and metals. It has been estimated that it will be profitable to mine gold from the seas at around $ 3,000 per ounce. Second we use cheap nuclear power to extract these metals which could make a profit to pay off the national debt. Third we use the byproduct “WATER” to farm the huge vacant dry south west feeding the entire planet with low cost food.

    Finally we use the cheap nuclear power to build factories to manufacture everything the entire planet needs and we return to zero unemployment and can pay good wages because we have free energy that makes a profit in it’s creation.The money generated can payoff all debts, build nuclear reprocessing plants, research and develop a system to render nuclear waste harmless.

    Just think, full employment, no energy crisis ever, gold to make money valuable, make the dollar the strongest currency on earth, end inflation, end government debt. Just imagine “AMERICA REBORN AND THE DREAM FULFILLED!!!

    http://articlevprojecttorestoreliberty.com/history-of-taxation-in-the-united-states.html

  3. “It would be best to get started immediately by pricing carbon emissions no lower, and perhaps well above, a reasonable estimate of the present value of expected future damages, and allow the price to respond appropriately to new information as it becomes known.”

    This quote makes the assumption that climate change is caused by human emissions and that we can use the free market to mitigate it. The assumption is incorrect and so no free market nor for that matter government controlled market solutions are necessary.
    Where is Patrick Michaels?

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