McClaughry: Hard to argue with Zupan and Bellini on the carbon tax

By John McClaughry

Here two takes on a carbon tax from two very different Vermonters.

Lawrence Zupan was the Republican candidate against Bernie Sanders last November. He writes:

For the wealthy, a carbon tax would be an inconvenience. For the rest of us, a carbon tax is a catastrophe. How very revealing it is that the same political group, which loudly proclaims their concern for the poor and disadvantaged by promoting more of their government provided compassion, is willing to sacrifice those same souls on the green altar of carbon neutrality. Whatever you believe about the effects of carbon dioxide emissions, this tax is simply wrong. So, yes, this proposed tax is not a symbol of sound environmental stewardship — it is a symbol of the callous cluelessness of its proudly self-righteous proponents.

Now here’s another take, from Dave Bellini, president of the Vermont State Employees Association, who I call a hard-nosed liberal:

I do NOT support a carbon tax or any other gimmick, mechanism, adjustment, cap & trade, fossil fee, etc. Many Vermonters commute to work by necessity and need LOWER gasoline prices not higher gasoline prices. Home heating oil is expensive enough already. Please don’t do anything that will drive up the cost to get to work and to heat one’s home. I’m not against all taxes but take it easy on the people that get up in the morning and go to work.

It’s hard to argue with either of these guys.

John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.

Image courtesy of Public domain
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7 thoughts on “McClaughry: Hard to argue with Zupan and Bellini on the carbon tax

  1. Bellini is just a union puppet. If he really cared about struggling Vermonters, he would be for school choice, he cares more about union jobs than kids and families.

  2. The following was posted by Linda Gorden on the No Carbon Tax VT Facebook page. Germain to the topic.

    “Is the Carbon Tax a Scam?

    Vermonters lack perspective on climate change science and the role of CO2 in global warming, without which we can be fooled into believing carbon offsets or taxes are righteous. They’re not. Here’s why.

    The current concentration of CO2 in our atmosphere is a little above 400 parts per million (ppm) by volume (406 ppm measured in 2017 at Mauna Loa Observatory, Hawaii) It increased from about 280 ppm in the mid 18th century, as determined by ice core samples taken in Greenland and Antarctica, where data is available for the last hundreds of thousands of years. We all know that during the mid 1700’s and before, humans did not contribute to raising nor lowering CO2 concentrations in our Earth’s atmosphere. So, is this increase of 120 ppm over the last 270 years significant?

    There have been 12 geologic periods that span over the last 600 million years, the current being the Quarternary, where for the last 800,000 years the average CO2 concentration has been 230 ppm (Luthi 2008). This is the Lowest CO2 concentration of any of the preceding 11 periods. You’re probably familiar with some of those periods by name, the first being the Precambrian, and including the Cambrian, Carboniferous, Permian, Triassic, and Jurassic. For perspective, the average CO2 since during those 600 million years was over 2,600 ppm! This is nearly seven times our current amount, and 2.5 times the worst case scenario predicted by the IPCC for 2100. Our current period, the Quarternary, has the LOWEST CO2 concentration in the Earth’s history!! The slight increase in CO2 concentration since the industrial revolution is barely noticeable when viewed over the course of the Earth’s CO2 history.

    We should also be aware that during each of the last four ice ages the average CO2 concentrations were dangerously low, falling to below 190 ppm. By the end of the last ice age it fell to 182 ppm, thought to be the lowest in the Earth’s history! The reason this is alarming is because the Earth came within about 30 ppm of 150 ppm, the level at which plant life can not exist. Had the C02 level dropped below that threshold of 150 ppm, plant life would have become extinct on Earth!

    In my next post I’ll show further details on why higher CO2 concentrations are desirable and lower concentrations are problematic. Then you’ll really understand why it makes no sense to voluntarily try to reduce CO2 levels, if we even could. Regulating pollutants that cause smog and respiratory troubles, sure, but NOT CO2 which is colorless, odorless, and is required by plant life on earth. Certainly, it is not reasonable to tax or regulate CO2 emissions in an effort to reduce them, since we depend on CO2 for food, for our very survival.

    Can’t wait for my next post to learn more?
    Read this information for yourself in
    Gregory Wrightstone’s “Inconvenient Facts: The science that Al Gore doesn’t want you to know “.”

  3. The Vermont Comprehensive Energy Plan, CEP, goal aims to “transform” the Vermont economy. It would require investments of about $33.3 billion, about $1 billion per year for 33 years, during the 2017 – 2050 period, per Vermont Energy Action Network 2015 Annual Report.

    The CEP could not be implemented without a very high carbon tax and other taxes, surcharges and fees of at least $970 million per year for 33 years.
    http://eanvt.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/EAN-2015-Annual-Report-Low-Res-Final.pdf

    A UNILATERAL carbon tax would be the mother of all government-directed distribution schemes ever.

    The US is growing at about 3%, but Vermont has an anemic, near-zero, real-growth economy, due to too much government, with its rules and regulations, and wasteful spending on non-tax paying, subsidy-sucking adventures (a.k.a. initiatives), acting like a wet blanket on the hollowed-out private sector, which has to pay for all that government.

    It is completely absurd for Vermont to waste about $10 billion to build out heavily subsidized, expensive, wind and solar systems, that produce expensive variable, intermittent electricity, when MUCH CLEANER, STEADY, LOW-COST electricity is readily available from HQ.

    It is true, money goes to Canada, but far more money would accrue to people’s pockets, because those billions of dollars on expensive build-outs would be avoided, and much of that money likely would be invested in profitable, tax-paying (not subsidy-sucking, not tax avoidance) businesses, that would create steady, good-paying jobs, with good benefits, while producing goods and services for the Vermont, and out-of-state and export markets.

  4. Carbon Tax Impact On A Typical Vermont Family, as reported on VTDigger:

    Any tax, including a carbon tax, passing through the hands of government suffers from “the sticky fingers syndrome”, 2 dollars go in about 1.5 dollars come out. The difference stays to feed the growing government bureaucracy.

    The key word missing in most discussions is UNILATERAL. VT’s government imposing on Vermonters a unilateral carbon tax is like shooting them in the feet.

    If the carbon tax were nationwide, I would support it.

    The carbon tax would:

    – Impose a $10/ton tax of carbon emitted in 2017, increasing to $100/ton in 2027.
    – Generate about $100 million in state revenue in 2019, about $520 million in 2027.
    – Be added to the fuel prices at gas stations and fuel oil/propane dealers.
    – Drivers should expect a tax increase of 9 c/gal of gasoline in 2018, increasing to about 89 cents in 2027.
    – Homeowners, schools, hospitals, businesses, etc., should expect a tax increase of 58 c/gal of propane and $1.02/gal of heating oil and diesel fuel in 2027.
    – A typical household (two wage earners, two cars, in a free-standing house) would pay additional taxes in 2027 of about:
    – Some of the carbon tax extortion would be at the pump, some when the monthly fuel bills arrive, and some as higher prices of OTHER goods and services.

    Driving = $0.89/gal x 2 x 12000 miles/y x 1/(30 miles/gal) = $712/y
    Heating = $1.02/gal x 800 gal/y = $816/y
    Total carbon tax in 2027 = $1528/y
    Sales tax reduction 5/6 x 1400 = $233/y
    Net tax increase = $1295/y

    – The hypocritical sop of reducing the sales tax from 6 to 5 percent would save that household about $233 in sales taxes, for a net loss of $1295 in 2027. That means such households, the backbone of the Vermont economy, would have about $1300/y less to make ends meet.
    – Many of these households have had stagnant or declining, spendable real incomes (after taxes, fees, surcharges; other recurring expenses, etc.), plus dealing with a near-zero, real-growth Vermont economy, since 2000.
    – With less real income, and higher real prices for goods and services, they also would have to make their own energy efficiency improvements.

  5. Any carbon scheme is not only wrong, it is a sinful abuse against honest endeavor and what it has produced!

  6. Bellini will bark at the hand that feeds him but he won’t bite it. His audience is no more than an echo chamber. He did “all I can do” to stop the tax. If he really gave a damn about the welfare of his subjects and their families, he’d court conservatives and get VT moving toward Mt. Prosperity instead of suffering in the Valley of Half Dead.Then he’d be a legitimate hero with national attention.

  7. It’s not hard to argue with Dave Bellini.

    He’s in a pickle. He’s a union Boss. He has to support the left because they support monopolies. Yet those same Progressives and VT libs at the same time support a carbon tax. He’s darned if he does, and darned if he doesn’t.

    Or, he’ll threaten to cut off funding for the libs from the union due he collects. He’s a man with power, and absolute power….

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