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An Economist’s Response to Carbon Tax Criticism

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I see somebody called “Rob” on the Northern Life site saying the Green carbon tax will “screw Sudbury.” apparently Rob needs a few lessons in economics.

So let me talk about the carbon tax policy, Rob. I am an economist who has read the economic research studies on the costs of climate change and the impact of the Green carbon tax. If you promise to read them, I will even send you a list of references.

Here is the story. The carbon tax makes you better off in the long run because it helps avoid huge costs. Already the evidence show about 5000 people dying a year as a result of warming. We are killing people, Rob. Dollar impacts are ramping up even more quickly. The carbon tax will mean you are not killing so many people and you won’t have to pay such high insurance costs and your taxes won’t go up so much to replace infrastructure.

Since you probably want short term results, we will give you a “carbon dividend”. Sure is is a bit of a political bribe, but it makes 80% of the people of Canada better off that they were without the carbon tax. Do you want your carbon dividend, Rob?

Then, if you really like economics, you can look up “endogenous technical change.” As we shift to a new technology the rate of innovation goes up and jobs are created. On the other hand, investing public money in the old technologies stifles innovation. Protecting the oil industry is killing high-tech new-economy jobs in Ontario. This isn’t isn’t the fringe view: Look at the business section of the Globe and Mail yesterday. Are you in favour of jobs, Rob?

The fringe view is that carbon taxes cost jobs. And if you still believe carbon taxation will hurt you, you are on the fringe, Rob. I can refer you to a great online book on doing plastic surgery at home.


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