UNTIL we fully understand what turned two brothers who allegedly perpetrated the Boston Marathon bombings into murderers, it is hard to make any policy recommendation other than this: We need to redouble our efforts to make America stronger and healthier so it remains a vibrant counterexample to whatever bigoted ideology may have gripped these young men.
So what to do? We need a more “radical center” — one much more willing to suggest radically new ideas to raise revenues, not the “split-the-difference-between-the-same-old-options center.” And the best place to start is with a carbon tax.
A phased-in carbon tax of $20 to $25 a ton could raise around $1 trillion over 10 years, as we each pay a few more dimes and quarters for every gallon of gasoline or hour of electricity. With that new revenue stream, we’d have so many more options. One, preferred by Republicans like the statesman George Shultz and the Nobel laureate Gary Becker, is to make the carbon tax “revenue neutral.” It could be offset entirely by a rebate or by cutting tax rates for every U.S. citizen and corporation, which would increase spending. Another option, the one I’d prefer, would devote half the carbon-tax revenues to individual and corporate tax cuts, use a quarter for new investments in infrastructure, preschool education, community colleges and research — which would create jobs now and tomorrow — and then use a quarter on deficit reduction.In short, if you added such a carbon tax to Obama’s budget, you’d have the makings of a radical grand bargain: Republicans would have the income tax cuts they want; Democrats would get the additional infrastructure stimulus they want, plus a new revenue stream to start gradually addressing the deficit, while reducing the amount that we’d have to bite from entitlements now; and the country would have a vehicle to address climate change, to drive clean-tech innovation (and to take money away from people who fund jihadist hate sites on the Internet).
Other Related Links:
NYT’s Friedman prays for Co2 tax debate: ‘Nothing would do more to clean our air, drive clean-tech innovation, weaken petro-dictators and reduce the deficit than a carbon tax. One prays this will become part of the budget debate’
NYT’s Tom Friedman ‘asserted Dem political consultants are advising their candidates not to mention ‘losing topic’ while GOP continue push to demonize phrase ‘climate change” & deny it exists’ — EPA chief ‘Lisa Jackson has been the most effective cabinet member of this administration, yet she’s basically in the witness protection program’ Friedman said of her absence from the public eye. ‘I predict you will hear very little about [climate change] at the Democratic convention. I hope I’m wrong.’
Tom Friedman: Hey, Let’s Increase Taxes on Oil! ‘The smart thing for us to do right now is to impose a $1-a-gallon gasoline tax’ — ‘With one little gasoline tax, we can make ourselves more economically and strategically secure, help sell more Chevy Volts’