Ideas should be judged by their quality, not their pedigree. I am not usually a fan of Republican tax policy proposals or environmental initiatives. But I strongly support the proposal put forward Wednesday by Republicans George Shultz, James Baker, Martin Feldstein, Hank Paulson, Greg Mankiw and others for a substantial carbon tax in the United States to address global climate change. Their proposal that the carbon tax be coupled with a mechanism for rebates to consumers, a rollback of command-and-control regulation, and a border adjustment mechanism is also sound.
The United States has a moral and a prudential obligation to lead on global climate change. There would be no clearer sign of our commitment than the introduction of a substantial carbon tax. Our adoption of a carbon tax would encourage others to follow. The border adjustment mechanism would be a further inducement since foreign countries would presumably prefer their carbon emitters pay them than pay us. And because a carbon tax is easy to change it would enable us to be responsive to new developments in the science of global climate change.
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