Carbon tax could give liberals vast power to grow federal government

Carbon tax could give liberals vast power to grow federal government
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Thanks to bold tax cuts and critically needed regulatory reforms led by President TrumpDonald TrumpNew Capitol Police chief to take over Friday Overnight Health Care: Biden officials says no change to masking guidance right now | Missouri Supreme Court rules in favor of Medicaid expansion | Mississippi's attorney general asks Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade Michael Wolff and the art of monetizing gossip MORE and Republican leaders in Congress, the economy is booming. Small businesses and major manufacturers across the country are hiring and working Americans are reaping the benefits. Yet, critical to maintaining this vigorous, long awaited expansion is ensuring that employers and families have access to affordable energy.

It is also a major reason why capital investment is fleeing high energy costs in foreign countries and relocating here in the United States. With this White House and Republican control of Congress, you would think our priority of tax cuts and regulatory reform would be a simple no brainer. Unfortunately, several misguided Republicans have introduced legislation that would impose a new, economy wide federal carbon tax.

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What are they thinking? Doing this would be a surefire way to severely jeopardize our economic revival. It would crimp the American energy boom and raise energy prices. While the chances of potential passage are unclear, the message to those Republican members of Congress supporting this costly new energy tax should be: Stop! Do not harm consumers and businesses.

Ostensibly to replace the federal gas tax, this proposed carbon tax would, in fact, immediately raise gas prices. The bill analysis by Columbia Center on Global Energy Policy indicates the price for a gallon of gas could increase by 11 cents. This bill would also place annually increasing taxes on other forms of energy, including diesel and jet fuel, natural gas and coal, raising energy prices for American families and businesses, which would be passed on to consumers. If implemented, every time we flip on the lights, watch television, charge our devices, or turn on the heat, we would get hit with higher bills.

But wait because there is more pain. On top of the rise in gas and electricity prices, the carbon tax bill would also create a border adjustment tax on imported goods. In short, it would serve as a national sales tax that would automatically increase prices for countless consumer products we use and rely on every day, such as food and clothing.

The legislation directly targets 19 American manufacturing sectors, but like most newly created taxes, it will not end there. The Environmental Protection Agency would be granted over time the autonomy and power to decide if other businesses and manufacturers should be subject to new taxes. This would hand the agency an unprecedented increase in jurisdiction and power with little congressional oversight.

Is this the way to make America great again? Just imagine what would happen if we had this carbon tax in our economy and Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiDemocrats plow ahead with Jan. 6 probe, eyeing new GOP reinforcements GOP's Banks burnishes brand with Pelosi veto Meghan McCain on Pelosi, McCarthy fight: 'I think they're all bad' MORE, Charles SchumerChuck SchumerBiden administration stokes frustration over Canada Schumer blasts McCarthy for picking people who 'supported the big lie' for Jan. 6 panel Biden's belated filibuster decision: A pretense of principle at work MORE, Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenWarren: Canceling K in student debt could 'transform an entire generation' 10 books that take readers inside the lives of American leaders Schumer leaves door open for second vote on bipartisan infrastructure deal MORE, Bernie SandersBernie SandersProtect women's right to choose how and when they work Senate braces for a nasty debt ceiling fight Schumer leaves door open for second vote on bipartisan infrastructure deal MORE and their progressive groupies regain majority control of Congress this November, or God forbid, the White House in 2020. They would have a ready made means to boost taxes and raise energy prices exponentially, all courtesy of a few Republicans in Congress. Does anyone believe liberals would resist the temptation to redirect funds from their intended purposes for new unrelated government spending programs?

All told, this bill is akin to homeowners being forced to post notices on their doors and online how thieves could disable their alarm systems. Republicans have no business backing this kind of anti-consumer, anti-business legislation. Here is a simple question for the Republican supporters of this bill: Why would you willingly inflict bigger government, more taxes and higher energy costs on your constituents? Voters in your districts might well be asking the same question come November 6.

Steve Forbes is the chairman and editor in chief of Forbes Media.