Some readers took issue with yesterday’s post that characterized a carbon tax as a terrific but politically unlikely proposal, after the Obama administration shot down the idea last week. Putting a price on carbon emissions is, after all, generating renewed interest from across the ideological spectrum. Notably, the libertarian American Enterprise Institute is co-sponsoring a forum on the issue today with the left-leaning Brookings Institution, Resources for the Future, and the IMF.
And yesterday, Grover Norquist told the National Journal that the blood oath he extracted from a majority of members of Congress not to raise taxes wouldn’t be violated by a carbon tax — if it was accompanied by lower income taxes.
(Here’s the list of pledge signers in the current Congess [PDF] but here’s a tip: It’s quicker just to look at what Republicans didn’t sign — just 13 of them — and what Democrats did — just three. The numbers are lower in the next Congress, as politicians increasingly campaigned against the idea of making a pledge to Grover Norquist, instead of their constituents.)
Norquist only opened the door a crack, however. “It’s a conversation about what color unicorn you’d like,” he said of discussions about how to structure an income-for-carbon tax swap. “It would infuriate taxpayers.”
Apparently it also infuriated the American Energy Alliance — the political arm of the Institute for Energy Research, a think tank devoted to the promotion of fossil fuel development that’s funded in part by the ultra-right Koch brothers and their donor network.
“Grover, just butch it up and oppose this lousy idea directly,” AEA wrote in their daily newsletter today. “This word-smithing is giving us all headaches.” (Note: I don’t regularly read the AEA’s daily newsletter, so a hat tip goes out to ThinkProgress for breaking this news.)