Letter: Comprehensive compromises needed for tax reform
I basically agree with Michael Gorman’s support of a carbon emissions tax in his letter of Nov. 18. Even if the impact of carbon emissions on global warming is not absolutely certain, it is a sufficiently high risk that it is prudent to take action to reduce the emissions. A phased-in tax would be the most effective way of mobilizing market forces to achieve carbon reductions, through some combination of conservation measures and development of alternate energy sources with private capital investments. Those alternate sources would, to a degree, include natural gas as a less environmentally damaging substitute for coal, because burning natural gas produces more energy per unit of carbon dioxide that it emits. Development of new nuclear power plants would also be encouraged.
To ever be politically viable, however, a carbon emissions would need to be coupled with a reduction in other taxes. If it were possible to overcome conservatives’ justifiable fears that liberals would simply use all of the revenues from the tax to increase social spending, many would buy into a reduction in the tax on corporate profits.
And many people across the political spectrum would support a reduction in the Social Security and Medicare taxes on low-income earners, with some of the revenues from the carbon tax being used to supplement the trust funds for those programs. If there is ever to be meaningful tax reform, it will need to be based on comprehensive compromises such as this that address some of the major concerns of people on both sides of the political divide.
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