For or against President Barack Obama's climate change proposals, there's one thing we can all agree on. The regulations are probably going to be complicated. Think Obamacare or Dodd-Frank.
But, at least according to some, it doesn't have to be. Don't regulate carbon, they say. Just slap a tax on each carbon-emitting fuel based on the amount released. Then let people respond to the new price structure.
Henry Jacoby of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology went so far as to say that the whole plan could come by way of one-page legislation.
I don't know about that. But I do know I like the sound of this next part of the idea: The carbon tax could be used to offset other taxes, such as income taxes.
So for example, gasoline and diesel goes up a good bit at the pump and takes a chunk of change from your wallet or your company's coffers. But then it's offset by Uncle Sam taking less.
Sound too good to be true? Could be. It probably won't work out as wonderfully as planned. But with this administration's track record of leading the construction of regulation labyrinths that take years to figure out, I think this alternative is just what the doctor ordered.
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