The Road To Carbon Tax

I mentioned this the other day, but when I read things like this I think that climate hawks need to reorganize a bit and re-engage with the case for taxing greenhouse gas emissions:

Sessions, 64, also said he’s willing to consider tax increases, along with cuts in entitlement program costs, as part of an effort to craft a longer-term, bipartisan plan to tame the U.S. debt and deficit.

Tax increases will “be a bitter pill for me, but we have got to get this country on the right path,” said Sessions, who became the ranking Republican on the budget panel in January.

Still, Sessions said he would question whether any tax increase were needed. “I’d have to challenge it, but I would look at it,” the senator said.

Basically, the country needs higher taxes. But Democrats don’t want to raise taxes unless they get Republican cover. But if Republicans ever vote for a tax hike, it’ll have to be a regressive one. So if there’s going to be a regressive tax hike, it should include some sweetener to make it appealing to some segments of the progressive coalition. To me that says — carbon tax.


Is that a likely scenario? No, of course not. But no scenario that involves Republicans agreeing to a tax hike seems likely to me. And yet Washington is obsessed with the idea of a bipartisan budget deal that involves Republicans agreeing to a tax hike. A carbon tax seems to me to be the most plausible way to put one together, and a bipartisan budget deal seems to me to be the most plausible way to get carbon pricing done.