Robert Reich: A Good Idea, Even If It’s From Republicans – OpEd


A group of former Republican officials (including James A. Baker, Henry Paulson, George P. Shultz, Marty Feldstein and Greg Mankiw) is proposing a carbon tax starting the tax at $40 per ton, that would gradually increase.

The proceeds of the tax would be distributed to every American.

The average family of four would receive $2,000 annually in dividends. As the tax rises, so would their dividends. Since everyone would receive the same amount of revenue from the tax regardless of their income level, the dividend would make a bigger difference for poorer families than for wealthier ones.

It’s a win-win: Less carbon in the atmosphere, and more equal distribution of income.

That it’s being proposed by Republicans doesn’t make the idea any less worthy.

I’m aware that some on the left would rather use revenues from such a tax to invest in clean energy and other social causes rather than return the revenues directly to the public. That detail can be worked out.

The idea is getting a hearing in the White House. And in these dreadful times, that’s good news indeed.

Robert Reich

Robert Reich

Robert B. Reich is the Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley, and a senior fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as secretary of labor in the Clinton administration, and Time magazine named him one of the 10 most effective cabinet secretaries of the 20th century. He has written 14 books, including the best-sellers Aftershock, The Work of Nations, Beyond Outrage and, most recently, Saving Capitalism. He is also a founding editor of The American Prospect magazine, chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and co-creator of the award-winning documentary INEQUALITY FOR ALL.

One thought on “Robert Reich: A Good Idea, Even If It’s From Republicans – OpEd

  • February 10, 2017 at 5:54 pm

    Troll again! This time emerging from his sewer pipe waving a flag of climate change replete with stripes of wealth distribution. Inaugurating a ‘new’ palatable concept with a cast of stars doesn’t lessen the specious nature of its’ basic premise: 2 degrees of change per year: good; 3 degrees of change per year: bad and we are now in the period of one degree per year and Miami Beach is under water. So, tax everything in sight and gift the proceeds to everyone! Who wouldn’t enjoy a free anything of substance.
    But, what’s this one, two and three percent but the construct of an assortment of climate change goofies! The earth’s climate has forever changed four times a year: Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring. Our orbit around the Sun determines these periodic changes. To exaggerate periodic climate bumps into major catastrophic trends is absurd on its face. For those interested in long term tendencies, we are at the end of an Ice Age nothing more, nothing less and to assert that an overwhelming event can be avoided by a tax bears close observation: BOO! The devil is in the details.
    Robbie, try another tact. This issue requires tissue.


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