In response to the carbon tax debate, I must point out that Professor Elgie supports his case with a lot of specious arguments.
First there is a need to explain taxes. Income taxes are structure in such a way that people with higher income are taxed at a higher rate. The rich don’t like it.
Consumer taxes work in favor of the rich at the expense of the poor. The rich do not spend all their income so much of their earrings are not taxed at all. The poor have no choice. Most of their income is taxed. Taxes are good or bad depending on which side you are on.
With the gap between rich and poor widening relentlessly, it makes sense to give the poor a few breaks.
According to Mr. Elgie, the carbon tax saves money because the revenue makes it possible to reduce income taxes. In plain language, he recommends taxing the poor for the benefit of the rich. Apart from his bias, one has to ask what happened to “Revenue Neutral.”
Carbon tax is supposed to go to environmental causes only. If it has become general revenue, we have been lied to by the government.
Mr. Elgie claims that the carbon tax is working because fuel consumption has dropped by 15 per cent. There are several factors which contributed to the reduction. For one thing, cars have become more fuel efficient. Improvement in public transit could have had an impact and the list goes on.
Possibly, carbon tax has had some impact on fuel consumption especially with people of limited means. With professors and lawyers, money is no object. They probably keep on driving the same as before. This brings up one poignant question. Isn’t the environment as much the responsibility of the rich as of the poor?
It is Mr. Elgie who is wrong on all counts. We need more income tax and less carbon tax whether the rich like it or not.