Carbon tax could give liberals vast power to grow federal government

Carbon tax could give liberals vast power to grow federal government
© Getty Images

Thanks to bold tax cuts and critically needed regulatory reforms led by President TrumpDonald John TrumpBill Kristol resurfaces video of Pence calling Obama executive action on immigration a 'profound mistake' ACLU says planned national emergency declaration is 'clear abuse of presidential power' O'Rourke says he'd 'absolutely' take down border wall near El Paso if he could 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

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 Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiBill Kristol resurfaces video of Pence calling Obama executive action on immigration a 'profound mistake' Winners and losers in the border security deal House passes border deal, setting up Trump to declare emergency MORE, Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerBill Kristol resurfaces video of Pence calling Obama executive action on immigration a 'profound mistake' House passes border deal, setting up Trump to declare emergency Christie: Trump doesn’t give nicknames to people he respects MORE, Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenWarren's 'ultra wealth' tax is misleading Hillicon Valley: New York says goodbye to Amazon's HQ2 | AOC reacts: 'Anything is possible' | FTC pushes for record Facebook fine | Cyber threats to utilities on the rise O’Rourke heading to Wisconsin amid 2020 speculation MORE, Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersHillicon Valley: New York says goodbye to Amazon's HQ2 | AOC reacts: 'Anything is possible' | FTC pushes for record Facebook fine | Cyber threats to utilities on the rise O’Rourke heading to Wisconsin amid 2020 speculation Amazon to pay Bernie Sanders in federal income taxes: report 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.