Year 3, Month 5, Day 5: What’s Wrong With This Picture?

The Chicago Tribune carries the “people are waking up” story a few steps further:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Three out of four U.S. voters favor regulating carbon dioxide as a greenhouse-gas pollutant, and a majority think global warming should be a priority for the president and Congress, a survey of American attitudes on climate and energy reported on Thursday.

The survey was released one day after Rolling Stone magazine published an interview with President Barack Obama in which he suggested that climate change would become a campaign issue this year.

In results often at odds with the political debate in Washington, the survey conducted for Yale and George Mason University also found most Americans would vote for a candidate who raised taxes on coal, oil and natural gas – fossil fuels that emit climate-warming carbon dioxide when burned – while cutting income tax, in a revenue-neutral “tax swap.”

This maneuver, which would not add to federal revenues but would change where they came from, has long been discussed by such disparate political actors as former Vice President Al Gore, a Democrat, and Bob Inglis, a Republican former congressman.

Sixty-one percent of Americans surveyed said they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supported the tax swap, while 20 percent said they would be less likely.

When we get to 100 percent of the population, our politicians will finally do what is right. Sent April 26:

While the First Amendment precludes an outright prohibition on the rhetoric of climate-change deniers, it’s increasingly obvious that America’s national conversation would be better off if these voices weren’t so unnaturally amplified. The anti-science statements of conservative politicians and their enablers in the media have helped to make reality-based environmental policies impossible to enact, even when a majority of Americans think they’re desirable. In the current atmosphere of petroleum-funded corruption, any legislative actions toward planetary responsibility are doomed from the start by corporate resistance to shrinking profit margins.

A tax on carbon emissions is an idea whose time has come. If the money raised were returned to the middle class in the form of tax breaks or dividends, its economic effects would be overwhelmingly beneficial. But until we reduce our emissions of denialist hot air, such a policy is unlikely to advance through congress. Too bad we can’t tax lies.

Warren Senders

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