Carbon tax war among conservatives heats up
The two organizations that have sparked the most ire from the conservative groups include the libertarian Niskanen Center and the conservative and free-market R Street Institute.
“First, I want to say that we are huge supporters of both Grover and [Americans for Tax Reform],” said Eli Lehrer, president of the R Street Institute, in a statement to the Washington Examiner. “They are old friends and hope to work with them on common issues of concern.”
Secondly, Lehrer clarified that “R Street is not for a carbon tax if it would make government bigger.” Instead, what R Street has proposed is a “tax swap,” in which “a carbon tax would be paired with cuts to other more economically damaging taxes, and where EPA’s regulatory authority over greenhouse gases would be pre-empted and all energy subsidies eliminated.”
“More often than not, the most significant objection to our carbon tax ideas is a lack of faith in Congress to keep taxes low and reduce bureaucracy,” Lehrer said.
The lack of faith in Congress is a “concern we share” with Norquist, “but it’s a political challenge, not a policy objection,” Lehrer said. “There’s nothing ‘lefty’ about a plan that could literally shrink the size of government as the market seeks to reduce pollution and lower tax liability.”
He noted that he would personally like to see a carbon tax used to scrap the corporate income tax completely.
Some groups say the carbon tax is something being pushed in secret, but “we haven’t disguised anything, we’ve been open about our position for years and we’re always happy to discuss it,” Lehrer said. “I’ve personally spoken with Grover about carbon taxes, and we simply disagree. The idea that conservatives can’t disagree on specific policy approaches while maintaining a positive relationship is silly.”