Hopefully, one half-baked idea will be off the fiscal cliff negotiating table: a carbon tax.
While it seems that both Democrats and Republicans are becoming more creative in ways to raise revenue (rather than directly address the underlying problems of the fiscal cliff), two proposed bipartisan resolutions would publicly and decisively nix the possibility of a carbon tax.
The resolutions—one sponsored by Senator David Vitter (R–LA) and Representative Mike Pompeo (R–KS) and a second by Representative David McKinley (R–WV), co-sponsored by five other Republicans and three Democrats—would prevent the bad fiscal and energy policy.
If we scrape off the icing of promised revenue neutrality, reduced debt, and managed global warming, the carbon tax is no more appetizing than a moldy cake. A new tax on energy that discriminates against certain incomes, industries, and geographic regions (while padding others) and promises to artificially increase energy prices, decrease jobs, and hamstring American global competitiveness makes for bad fiscal and energy policy, no matter how it is dolled up.
This is a cake no one should want to eat, let alone force-feed to the American people. The Vitter–Pompeo and McKinley resolutions rightly take it off the table.
However, while these resolutions take an important step in preventing bad policy, there still needs to be something put back onto the negotiating table. It is high time the President and Congress put together a pro-growth solution that addresses the underlying problems of the fiscal cliff rather than distracting Americans with thickly frosted moldy cake.