17 Mar 2009

Tom Pyle vs. Carbon Tax

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Tom Pyle, president of IER (and note: my boss there), has a good op ed on NRO today. I liked it because he acknowledged the pros of a carbon tax (versus cap-and-trade), but still says:

Economists rarely agree on the past, and never on the future. But in the present debate over carbon taxes, a strange consensus is starting to form around the idea that a national tax on carbon is better than installing an economy-wide cap on it.

Maybe so. But being “better” than cap-and-trade doesn’t make a carbon tax a worthwhile public investment. Black bears are less dangerous than grizzly bears; neither should be let loose in the subway. Just as we shouldn’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good, we shouldn’t let the horrendous serve as a justification for the horrible.

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