Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Carbon Cap Guns

Alright, seriously, people. Comments like these drive me up the wall.

The theory goes like this: if we tax Canadian "bads" then the investment that otherwise would have gone into the Canadian production of "bads" will now be directed to the Canadian production of "goods". NONE (and I mean NONE) of the economic models on which our academic advisors rely anticipate the real life phenomon of capital flight. The models assume that the same amount of capital that would have been invested in Canada before the tax is still available to Canadians after the tax.

Yes. Carbon taxes, cap-and-trade, punitive taxation against producers and consumers alike - they're all going to cost money. We will, initially, see economic reductions. Companies who care more about the bottom line than their reputation and impact on the world will leave. Prices will go up as corporations transfer the cost to their consumers.


By reducing the Corporate Tax rate, it remains beneficial to companies to reside in the country - if they can find a way to get by with fewer emissions. And therein lies the goal of these taxes and fees in the firs place. Companies that can reduce their impact will thrive, because they'll be able to pass those savings along to the consumer and outcompete the corporations that cannot.

Now, the other popular argument on the site:

So it is now true that a company can largely avoid BC's carbon tax by transporting raw resources to Washington state--in trucks that fuel up in Washingtion--where they can burn tax exempt BC natural gas to make final products in Washington mills.

Again, true. However, someone has to do it first. It will mean we'll likely have to suffer a bit. I, for one, am willing to weather the financial woes that will result in an effort to make Canada cleaner and greener for the future. And, forward-thinking (which so few people seem to do these days), when oil smashes through the roof on the beginning of its ascent to the stratosphere, those companies who have already reduced their consumption of fossil fuels won't be feeling the pain as much as their competitors - and then who'll be laughing?

To sum up the two arguments:

  1. "I'm fine with going green, but I don't want to spend any money to do so." As Heinlein was so fond of pointing out, TANSTAAFL. If you want the city, the country, and the world to change, it has to start somewhere - and you're going to have to do without, just a bit, to make it happen.

  2. "Even if we do it, other people can just get around it." There are countries where murder is, if not legal, not terribly well-policed. Does that mean that other countries should relax their laws as well? You don't drink and drive, but your neighbour does, so even if you don't, it's still dangerous out there, so you might as well, right? Or, to choose an example that confers an advantage - kids at school cheat on a test, but you didn't. Was it just because you were scared of getting caught, or did you do it honestly because it was the right thing to do, even if you might have gotten a better grade by cheating?

Seriously, people. Get your heads on straight, get back to work, and pay the damn tax.

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