Libertarian Presidential Candidate Supports Carbon Tax

Gary Johnson (Photo credit: Darron Birgenheier)

Gary Johnson (Photo credit: Darron Birgenheier)

“I’m open also to the notion of a carbon tax.”

That was Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson on Aug. 1 talking to the Los Angeles Times — in favor of a so-called “revenue-neutral” tax on carbon emissions — which essentially is a tax on producing coal, which will be passed on to consumers of electricity, including the industrial and manufacturing sectors. It is also a tax on producing oil, which will be passed on to consumers driving cars and on those companies that make those cars.

In short, a carbon tax invariably is a tax on both consumption and production, even if proponents — like George Schulz and Gary Becker in the Wall Street Journal in 2013 define it as a tax on production: “We think this idea should be applied to energy producers. They all should bear the full costs of the use of the energy they provide.”

Of course, when your raise taxes on businesses, everyone pays.

On “revenue-neutral,” Schulz and Becker write, “Revenue neutrality comes from distribution of the proceeds…” where they propose tax credits going to individuals as a “carbon dividend.”

But that’s wealth redistribution. Johnson wasn’t sure if he was there yet in an interview, saying, “I have really just come on board with recognizing that there are a lot of people that are embracing this, that I value their opinion. So, I am not up to speed on this like I will be. But what I’ve just said is something that I have really just come to, or recognized.”

Woodrow Wilcox


But, he indicated support by saying, “I’m not looking at this as a revenue generator, as much as there are costs associated with, there are health and safety issues with carbon.”

Yet, even if Johnson didn’t support the tax credits, why the heck would the Libertarian Party support increasing the costs of production via a carbon tax?


On taxing industrial production, one reason libertarians might support doing that is the same reason they don’t care that much if foreign states tax U.S. exports — they actually want to shift production overseas so that we get shipped cheaper goods.

You know, “free trade.”

In this view, the end goal of economic activity is not to make a profit, but to consume goods and services. So, the cheaper the things we buy, the better. And a sure fire way to drive down the costs of consumption is by making it cheaper to produce stuff overseas, thus boosting and subsidizing cheap imports.

A good question might be if there will be many jobs left in the U.S. after we implement a carbon tax on production. How can you buy even cheap stuff from overseas if you don’t have a job? Maybe that’s what the tax credits are for. Not that Johnson cares. In 2001, he told Playboy Magazine “the jobs we’re talking about [those lost to NAFTA] are those we generally don’t want.”

But what emerges is an unholy alliance between radical environmentalists, multinational corporations and libertarian elites. They all basically want the same thing, whether they will admit or not. It’s to put America out of business.

We suppose we can thank Gary Johnson for being honest about his shared goal of the radical left, and embracing the globalist agenda on the carbon tax. He justifies the approach based on supposed health and safety concerns of carbon, but everyone knows overseas producers will never implement their own carbon taxes. Meaning, the true goal is to simply increase the regulatory costs of doing business in the U.S. — thus shifting production overseas.

So, a vote for Gary Johnson is a vote for a carbon tax. But at least you’ll get to consume cheap imports, right?

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Robert Romano is the Senior Editor of Americans for Limited Government (ALG) News Bureau. Americans for Limited Government is a non- partisan, nationwide network committed to advancing free market reforms,private property rights and core American liberties.
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