A group of GOP luminaries was reportedly set to push the idea of a carbon tax to Trump administration officials, arguing that the liberal plan is “a conservative climate solution.”
According to The New York Times, two former GOP secretaries of state — George P. Schultz, who served under President Ronald Reagan, and James Baker III, who served under President George H.W. Bush — as well as former secretary of the treasury Henry Paulson were pushing the Trump administration to move on a plan to adopt a tax that would aim to reduce energy consumption.
Baker was set to meet with administration officials Wednesday, including Vice President Mike Pence, senior adviser Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump and National Economic Council director Gary D. Cohn.
Unbelievably, The Times even suggested that Baker thought that the environmentalist plan embodied “classic conservative principles of free-market solutions and small government.” They even tried to bring Reagan in on their side.
“I’m not at all sure the Gipper wouldn’t have been very happy with this,” Baker said. Yeah, in the immortal words of Jeannie Bueller, dry that one out and you could fertilize the lawn.
“We have a Republican administration now — a Republican administration that could show leadership on this issue and present to the blue-collar workers who were so important to Trump’s victory — something that does not increase, build government, that is conservative, that is free market — let the market determine — and there is some support out there for that now and from some quarters that normally didn’t support this kind of thing,” Baker said in an interview with CNN.
First, taxing is pretty much the opposite of letting the market determine something. It artificially raises the cost of an item to give more money to the government. Second, the people this would hurt most are the very blue-collar workers Baker talks about, whose paychecks would not stretch as far and whose jobs would possibly be lost due to the tax.
A carbon tax is nothing more than taxing growth. Energy is necessary for production — whether it’s gas for our cars to get to work or job sites, or coal for power plants that produce energy. Taxing growth means fewer jobs — a huge problem given the state of our country’s economy.
Country club Republicans like Baker, Schultz, and Paulson are so out of touch with the struggles of everyday Americans — as well as the mainstream of conservative thought — that they actually think this is a good idea. No wonder the establishment got so roundly defeated at the ballot box last year.
We can only hope the Trump administration shows some common sense on this and shows these gentlemen the door.