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Bill McKibben
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Bill McKibben

Bill McKibben wrote the first book for a general audience on global warming in 1989. A scholar in residence at Middlebury College, he has written a dozen more books, and leads the organization of global climate change protests. ALL POSTS

Give money back

What about, you know, giving the money back to the people. Exxon and the utilities don't actually own the sky -- that's why the Cantwell-Collins cap and dividend bill is such a nice architecture, even if its targets are weak.

By Bill McKibben  |  March 5, 2010; 9:33 AM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Mr. McKibben's whole argument reveals his progressive bias . Progressives do not understand that taxes have an effect on those being taxed . He reveals that the whole global warming issue was just another liberal tactic to take money from the private sector . Energy companies pay profits to their investors . That is why investors give them money . That is why the energy comes out of the ground .

Posted by: alanr1 | March 7, 2010 1:33 PM
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Where do you think the money comes from in the first place? Just don't tax them at all. If you place a tax the companies collecting it will take a slice and the goverment will just redistribute it to those who did not pay it in the first place leaving the middle class screwed once again.

Posted by: Pilot1 | March 7, 2010 8:55 AM
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I'm glad to see Congress is considering ideas more like a straightforward carbon tax, or "fee and dividend" as James Hansen puts it. The idea is to put a tax or fee on carbon emissions and then give the money back to all the people. In Hansen's version of this, someone who burns an average amount of coal/gas/oil ends up with no net fee (the tax rebate equals the extra cost at the pump, utility bills, etc). People who want to burn more will have to pay for the privilege, and anyone can save money by doing things to burn less (energy efficiency, reducing usage, alternative fuels). This approach is relatively simple and direct.

The problem with this issue is that the biggest harms of inaction are in future decades and hence subject to debate from legitimate skeptics as well as flat-earthers, and the exact victims from possible future droughts, heatwaves, sea level rise, etc can't be predicted accurately. Higher costs now, however, are quite visible.

Convincing people to spend money now to reduce future global warming is like warning home buyers in 2004 that the housing market wasn't going to keep going up forever.

Posted by: klinger1 | March 7, 2010 6:10 AM
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Cap and Tax, er, Trade is just a ripoff based on Fairy Tale science.

The whole idea needs to be ditched now.

Posted by: Etek | March 6, 2010 8:18 PM
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You can make everyone in the world who holds dollar denominated assets simply by issuing the US Congress a constitutionally capped allowance: print the money, and legislate gradual, double-helix, controlled, wages, leading prices spiral inflation so it never costs you more TIME to earn the same market basket of goods, no matter what the PRICE.

Also tie bonds and interest payments to equity to prevent financial arson to get the insurance for the promised cash flows when who defaults or is "bailed out"

Posted by: randomsample | March 6, 2010 6:45 PM
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Posted by: randomsample | March 6, 2010 6:42 PM
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Cute YouTube video you linked to, but Sen. Cantwell spent a significant portion of her time discussing health care reform. I thought she wanted to propose a bill limiting carbon emissions, not give a rah-rah cheer on Obamacare. I gave up on the video about half way through, so I'll never know if she had a strong bill concerning carbon emissions or not. When you have a serious argument about cap-and-trade policies, please post back.

Posted by: c0lnag0 | March 6, 2010 11:25 AM
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Bill,

Nice post, but why would a multi-national corporation give the US government any money?

The myth of what you propose is that it is extremely difficult to make these large companies pay any taxes, and almost as hard to make truly wealthy people pay taxes.

So the middle class will bear the brunt of any taxes you propose. It's inevitable. Even if you have the best intention, you can't prevent this.

That's why the true middle class always proposes any sort of tax increase: They're the only ones who ever pay.

Posted by: Ombudsman1 | March 6, 2010 7:21 AM
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