Free Markets, Free People

CO2 – Is This Where We’re Headed?

Cap-and-trade is only the beginning. France is mulling a CO2 tax on its citizens:

The French government plans next year to begin making heavy users of household and transport fuels bear more of the tax burden. President Nicolas Sarkozy is expected to say in coming weeks that such a shift is necessary to nudge French citizens toward cleaner alternatives.

The tax would reportedly start at about 14 euros (or $20) for each ton of CO2 emitted, and could rise to levels of around 100 euros ($143) for each ton by 2030. That could mean substantial increases in the price of gasoline and diesel, as well as a sizable jump in the cost of keeping homes warm.

Nudge French citizens? What is government doing nudging its citizens toward anything to do with their energy usage? Quite simply government, at least in France, has decided that citizens must conform to its priorities (proven or unproven) and thus uses its power to tax to “nudge” people into the behavior it prefers?

Is that a proper function of government? Only if you believe government is infallible and should be the arbiter of what constitutes the “proper” way of living. Trust me, such a belief has absolutely nothing to do with freedom, choice or liberty.

But skeptics say the idea may have less to do with clean energy, and more to do with a desire on the part of Mr. Sarkozy’s government to find new ways to keep the national debt in check.

Heh … the skeptics may be on to something. We have the same sort of problem in this country which is why I imply that cap-and-trade is only the beginning. Once implemented government will use the precedent (“we’re controlling industrial CO2 emission, now we need to control “private” CO2 emissions”) to tax citizens on their use. It’s all about revenue and this source is perfect – created, literally, out of thin air.

As usual, the socialists in France (and elsewhere) are without a clue:

In addition, members of the opposition Socialist party have slammed the plan, suggesting it would unfairly burden lower income citizens — particularly those who are obliged to use their cars.

Segolene Royal, a former presidential candidate, has instead called for direct taxes on gasoline and other energy companies.

Because everyone knows that a direct tax on “gasoline and other energy companies” would never be passed on to “lower income citizens” who are “obliged to use their cars” and “unfairly burden” them, would they?

~McQ

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15 Responses to CO2 – Is This Where We’re Headed?

  • As I said earlier, the government has, by fiat, decided it now owns all chemically bonded CO2 and you will pay them for the privilege of releasing it.

    They may decide you owe them less for squestering it, but don’t count on it.

  • Way to crap all over your lower income citizens. Basically this makes gas and heating at home luxury items only for the rich.

  • If there were any truth to global hoaxing, then a tax would be much more efficient than cap and trade. Although with the current bunch in charge you would probably get both.

  • –> If there were any truth to global hoaxing

    Let me fix that for you –> no

  • I have one thing to say about Euro-peon knuckledraggers who wish to destroy their economies with “climate change” and “global warming” crap:

    Be my guest. But do not come to us for any type of `Marshall Plan’ aid when your economy goes under because all of this hemming and hawwing is based on total scientific nonsense.

    That’s my statement. Let the Frenchies under Jacques de Eetch had a ball wrecking their economy to try to save an environment that does not need saving. We already have a mental midget running this country who is trying hard to do the same thing here.

    • Don’t fret, we’ll just take your business and jobs. Your owners won’t be able to resist the cheap labour…

  • Because everyone knows that a direct tax on “gasoline and other energy companies” would never be passed on to “lower income citizens” who are “obliged to use their cars” and “unfairly burden” them, would they?

    That would be funny if it wasn’t so pathetic and so detrimental to the very demographic that so many progressives claim to want to help. Now, if I was inclined towards paranoia, I’d wonder if this wasn’t part of a process of socialization- create taxes and legislation under the guise of taxing the wealthy to help the poor. When the costs get passed on to the consumer, including the poor, accuse industry of being cruel and heartless, and take them over in the name of fairness and justice for all.

  • [S]keptics say the idea may have less to do with clean energy, and more to do with a desire on the part of Mr. Sarkozy’s government to find new ways to keep the national debt in check.

    Sigh… Haven’t the frenchies been through this before?

    Not being one of the major trading nations, France needed to raise most of its government’s revenues internally rather than from external tariffs. While average tax rates were higher in Britain, the burden on the common people was greater in France. Taxation relied on a system of internal tariffs separating the regions of France, which prevented a unified market from developing in the country. Taxes such as the extremely unpopular gabelle were contracted out to private collectors (“tax farmers”) who were permitted to raise far more than the government requested. These systems led to an arbitrary and unequal collection of many of France’s consumption taxes. Other taxes the peasants were required to pay included a tenth of their income or produce to the church (tithe), a (taille) to the state, a 5% property tax (vingtième) and a tax on the number of people in the family (capitation). Further royal and seigneurial taxes were collected in the form of compulsory labor (the corvée). The peasants also had numerous obligations to their landlords – rent in cash (cens), a payment related to their amount of produce (champari), and taxes on the use of the nobles’ mills, wine presses or bakeries (banalitées). In good times, the taxes were burdensome; in harsh times, they were devastating. [emphasis mine - dj505]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Causes_of_the_French_Revolution

    We’ve been through it, too:

    The American Revolution was precipitated, in part, by a series of laws passed between 1763 and 1775 that regulating trade and taxes. This legislation caused tensions between colonists and imperial officials, who made it clear that the British Parliament would not address American complaints that the new laws were onerous. British unwillingness to respond to American demands for change allowed colonists to argue that they were part of an increasingly corrupt and autocratic empire in which their traditional liberties were threatened. This position eventually served as the basis for the colonial Declaration of Independence.

    http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ho/time/cp/90617.htm

    People will only stand being treated as revenue sources for the government for so long before they begin to get… irritated. Woe betide the government when that happens.

  • I disagree Docjim MOST of the time people will apathetically put up with crushing taxes and horrible, corrupt governments. It takes a special set of circumstances which no one fully understands to spark a revolt. Most importantly it requires leadership.

    • kyle8… MOST of the time people will apathetically put up with crushing taxes and horrible, corrupt governments. It takes a special set of circumstances which no one fully understands to spark a revolt. Most importantly it requires leadership.

      Oh, no question about it. But people DO eventually reach a point where they won’t put up with being looted any more (or, at least, not looted so much and so brazenly). This is part of the reason Reagan won in ’80, why the dems lost their majority in ’94, and why TAO is having so much trouble now.

      You’ve also got a good point about leadership. Right now, the anti-tax people don’t have much leadership, and very little of what they do have is “official” (i.e. there is no big-time politician offering leadership to the movement). The GOP SHOULD be able to capitalize on the fiscal worries that Americans have right now, but the sad fact is that the GOP is wedded to the same big government / big spending philosophy of the democrats, only not quite as extreme.

  • The logic defies imagination – the consumers will pay the increased cost for the production and delivery of goods that ’cause’ CO2 AND then they will pay an additional fee to release the CO2 they purchased. Brilliant.

    And the “government” benefits all the way around. But if people expect to their government to continue to give them ‘free’ things, they should expect to pay for it, even if they can’t make that translation in their tiny sheep brains.

  • clever in a perverse sort of way – Sarkozy wants/needs to institute a new regressive tax to raise revenue. They’ve already got a VAT, and raising that even more would be politically damaging. They’ve pushed the income taxes as far as they can go already, and the European Market rules stop them from doing anything along the lines of tarriffs.

    So, why not dig up some of the left’s rhetoric and use it to grind down the workers who the left usually supports? Nice trick if you can pull it off. In the long run,of course, it leads to the kind of thing referenced by another commentator in “Causes of the French Revolution.”

  • Let’s see if I’ve got this right: Now that “global warming” has jumped the shark, it’s now “climate change”. Further, I can keep the “climate” from “changing” so long as the government takes enough money from my wallet.

    Somehow I’m missing the connection of: less money in my wallet = static global temperatures. Let’s concede the point that enriching the government will stabilize the weather systems world-wide. (in proportion to tax levels, of course) I have to drive my car everywhere: work, school, shopping, vacations etc. Depending where I live, cooling may be optional, but heating is an absolute must above the Mason/Dixon line. What about lights, refrigeration, entertainment? How much CO2 reduction buys us how much “stability”? *crickets*

    How much can reasonably be sacrificed, for what (guaranteed?) gain? 97% of the greenhouse gas is water vapor, out of the 2% or so CO2 97% is naturally occurring, of the 23% man makes 20% is from the US. So I get to destroy my life for 1/1000th of one percent reduction in greenhouse gas?

    Which “expert” is willing put his/her reputation on the line to absolutely guarantee the benefits of my sacrifice? *crickets*

    What part of this Ponzi Scheme doesn’t stink to high heaven of environ-nannies running our lives while engorging themselves on tax dollars.

    • We’ve asked any number of those who defend these moves to first tell us what the “proper” or “correct” global temperature is supposed to be before we go off looting the “emitters”. Unsurprisingly we rarely hear back from them and we’ve certainly never had one actually try to answer the question. I assume, however, they remain big fans of the looting.

  • I think it is a f%#king brilliant approach.

    To paraphrase wws:

    So, why not dig up some of the left’s rhetoric and use it to grind down [big government] who the left [always] supports?

    Why not “climate change”? The left have have done a great job of raising awareness on the issue and unfortunately for them the best solution could be said to be small government and consumer empowerment.

    Once implemented government will use the precedent (”we’re controlling industrial CO2 emission, now we need to control “private” CO2 emissions”) to tax citizens on their use. It’s all about revenue and this source is perfect – created, literally, out of thin air.

    Or its all about directing the private sector to become the solution to the crisis of climate change. And if the private sector is the solution to climate change, what does that make the public sector if not a drag on fighting climate change?

    Climate change is a crisis and we are consumer societies who should make consumers the driving force for preventing climate change. To do this consumer preference (once nudged appropriately) must effect as much of the economy as possible as quickly as possible – lower income taxation and reduce the size of government.

    As it stands each year climate change gets worse. And each year the public sector expands, irrespective of the wider economy. Why not tie the two together? The right says public sector growth is bad because it is indebting the nation, but the left say it is good because it is priming for future growth and harmony – future growth and harmony are not quantifiable. However if we use cabon footprinting of the public sector as the metric we can prove the growth of government to be “killing the planet”.