Thursday, November 30, 2006

Conservative think tank stops thinking

The conservative/free market American Enterprise Institute recently posted a commentary on the need for a U.S. national carbon or gas tax--whatever--for all the usual reasons. For a brief review of the AEI paper, see my column. The authors like the idea of, and seem to think they have found , "the optimal Pigouvian tax on motor fuels." Oh dear. Optimal! Done.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

No planners in Pigouland?

The NoPigou club is under attack! Mark Jaccard, in a commentary posted at the NoPigou Club clubhouse, says we're just a bunch of Orwellian truth manipulators. In essence, the Simon Fraser University prof says carbon and other Pigou taxes are just crispy clean market-friendly government measures that all "right"-thinking economists and politicians should and do support. But here's Jaccard's big claim: He supports Pigovian taxes because they involve "no role for planners." We'll have more on this untruth in later postings, but let's begin with one question: Who sets the price--i.e. the tax? No planners here, says Jaccard. Just us free market economists. And how does one set the tax rate? What factors does one take into consideration? Maybe we need a report from the Ministry of Oil Supply and the Ministry of Consumer Behavior, the Department of International Trade and the Bureau of Tax Collection Efficiency. And then another question: What do we do with the money collected through the Pigovian tax? Let's get the Ministry of the Environment and the Department of Industry...but, hey, no planners, please. We're free-market driven Pigovians!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Gas tax pushed by Frum, pollsters

Fresh political agitation for big gas tax hike comes from pollsters in Canada and David Frum in the US. See my latest comment. Somebody needs to explain how a rise in gasoline tax will lead to increased US energy independence.

Monday, November 13, 2006

NoPigou in The Economist

Big hit: The Economist plugs in to the NoPigou Club cyberdebate over Greg Mankiw's plan to create the U.S. economy's next big tax distortion.
Big loss: Republican desperation is creating Pigouvian craziness. David Frum says Bush should introduce a carbon tax, and is immediately inducted into Mankiw's circle. More on this at the NoPigou clubhouse shortly.