Using Tax Code to Influence Behavior Is the Wrong Path

Published August 17, 2014

REGARDLESS OF one’s view on carbon dioxide emissions, using the tax code to influence the behavior of individuals or businesses, rather than as a efficient way to charge people for the cost of government, should be concerning to everyone (“Carbon tax: the reality check,” Ideas, Aug. 10). Taxing industrial facilities and fuel suppliers, or “polluters,” for their carbon dioxide emissions is not efficient tax policy because the effects, or burdens, would be embedded into market movements, thereby never letting the public know the true cost of such a policy.

This would set a bad precedent for future proposals, and largely prove to be increasingly costly in the long run, as history shows that any new revenue stream to the federal government would be permanent, while any tax cut or rebate that was implemented to create that revenue would be temporary.

[First published in the Boston Globe.]