Donald Trump should pursue a regressive, counterproductive, pointless tax policy to deal with a non-existent problem because it’s “what the Gipper would have wanted.”
What the late Ronald Reagan is actually doing right now, I strongly suspect, is reaching for the celestial sickbag over this absurd proposal – endorsed by, amongst others, his former Secretary of State George Shultz – that President Trump should bring in a “carbon tax” in order to “combat climate change.”
Obviously the New York Times is very excited about this proposal because it thinks it’s a sign that conservatives are seeing the light:
A group of Republican elder statesmen is calling for a tax on carbon emissions to fight climate change.
The group, led by former Secretary of State James A. Baker III, with former Secretary of State George P. Shultz and Henry M. Paulson Jr., a former secretary of the Treasury, says that taxing carbon pollution produced by burning fossil fuels is “a conservative climate solution” based on free-market principles.
Mr. Baker is scheduled to meet on Wednesday with White House officials, including Vice President Mike Pence, Jared Kushner, the senior adviser to the president, and Gary D. Cohn, director of the National Economic Council, as well as Ivanka Trump.
Nope. What this story actually does is remind us of one of the main reasons why Donald Trump – and not any of his more Establishment rivals – ended up winning the GOP nomination: because the GOP Establishment had drifted so far away from the conservative principles they were supposed to uphold that they might just as well have been Democrats.
According to Baker: “I’m not at all sure the Gipper wouldn’t have been very happy with this.”
Oh, that delicate use of litotes to make his elegant point! It’s the kind of refined circumlocution you can imagine going down an absolute storm at Skull and Bones reunion gatherings or 12-course Bilderberg dinners or anywhere else where you might find the right sort of people in the Republican party.
Actually though what it really is – and this is typical of that weasellish political breed – is a clever way of saying something completely untrue without quite lying.
Ronald Reagan would, in all likelihood, have rejected a carbon tax for at least two reasons.
First, a tax on “carbon” is a tax on growth because carbon-dioxide is a natural by-product of all industrial processes. Ronald Reagan was not against economic growth.
Second, why would you waste time and money expanding government to deal with a problem – man-made climate change – for which there was next to no credible evidence? Ronald Reagan was not a fan of big government.
Baker, Shultz and Paulson may indeed be Republican elder statesmen. But I do hope that this doesn’t stop President Trump’s administration telling them, in the nicest possible way, exactly where they can shove their carbon tax.