NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


July 5, 2007

Despite the spotlight that will shine on Al Gore at his Live Earth concert Saturday, he most likely won't mention his most radical idea -- replacing the current payroll tax with a consumer tax on fossil-fuel use, says the Christian Science Monitor.

Gore would have good reason to remain quiet Saturday, says the Monitor:

  • This "carbon tax" would, of course, raise the price of gasoline and home heating/cooling.
  • It would put the burden of generating the same level of federal revenues on consumers while reducing the tax burden on labor and capital (workers and employers).
  • Unless the poor get a break on this consumption tax, it will hit them harder than it will the wealthy.

No wonder that no presidential candidate endorses it, especially with gas prices hovering around $3 a gallon.  Most do endorse pinching pocketbooks, but only indirectly, such as by calling for higher fuel efficiency in vehicles and a cap on greenhouse-gas pollution from company smokestacks.  Gore would do both: tax carbon use and cap emissions. Unfortunately for him, it may take more than one Live Earth concert to warm up the public and politicians to a carbon tax, says the Monitor.

Source: Editorial, "Al Gore's inconvenient tax," Christian Science Monitor, July 5, 2007.

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