What if we ditched the entire income tax system in favor of one that was based on consumption, but specifically on the purchase of fossil fuels (because they emit CO2, and taxing the purchase is easier than taxing the emission)?
Would the left-green be willing to give up the tax code as wealth redistributor in exchange for a fighting chance at doing some real good for the environment?
Would the hardcore conservatives be so enamored of the consumption tax that they could hold their nose and tolerate what they see as hokey environmental claptrap?
Would this create the right sort of incentives for sustainable society?
Personally, I don’t see how this proposition can lose. It simplifies the tax base, while putting a direct incentive on ceasing consumption of something that behaves as a proxy for some of the worst problems facing the world. You don’t like taxes? Fine, stop using carbon. But of course, there are lots of things I don’t see, so I’m sure there’s something wrong with the proposition.
Of course it should be evident that I’m staunchly pro-nuclear, and eventually down the road we’d need to supplement the carbon consumption tax with a nuclear waste disposal tax.