Wednesday, March 26, 2008

If tax is the's a damn fool question

Just been reading about the rural communities in northern BC who are up in arms about the proposed carbon tax designed to 'combat global warming'. The metropolitans, shielded as they are from the harsh rigours of BC's climate, think that putting the cost of things up with extra tax will prevent people from making unnecessary journeys and so prevent the temperature altering from year to year.

The demand for the tax came from 70 'Economists'. When I read that I stopped in my tracks and cast my mind back. In the UK, similar 'Economists' were forever getting things badly wrong. Especially academics. It seems the population of BC has a similar problem. The guilty parties are named below;

UBC Economics

Siwan Anderson, Paul Beaudry, Mathilde Bombardini, Gorkem Celik, Clive Chapple, Brian Copeland, Michael Devereux, Erwin Diewert, Catherine Douglas, Mauricio Drehlichman, Mukesh Eswaran, Patrick Francois, Giovanni Gallipoli, Robert Gateman, David Green, Yoram Halevy, Joseph Henrich, Viktoria Hnatkovska, Atsushi Inoue, Tsvetanka Karagyozova, Ashok Kotwal, Amartya Lahiri, Thomas Lemieux, Kevin Milligan, Hugh Neary, Donald Paterson, Michael Peters, Angela Redish, W. Craig Riddell, Shinichi Sakata, Henry Siu, Rashid Sumaila, William Troost, Okan Yilankaya

Sauder School of Business

Richard Barichello, Anthony Boardman, Keith Head, Thomas Hellman, Sanghoon Lee, Peter Nemetz, Thomas Ross, Ratna Shrestha, Veikko Theile, Ilan Vertinsky, Ralph Winter,

Faculty of Land and Food Systems

Richard Barichello, Katherine Baylis, Sumeet Gulati, James Vercammen,

SFU Economics

Steeve Mongrain, Gordon Myers, Krishna Pendakur, Arthur Robson, Nicolas Schmitt, Simon Woodcock,

Public Policy

Dominique Gross, Jonathan Kesselman, John Richards,

School of Resource and Environmental Management

Mark Jaccard

University of Victoria Economics

Merwan Engineer, Martin Farnham, Elisabeth Gugl, Malcolm Rutherford, Herbert Schuetz, Paul Schure, David Scoones, G. Cornelius van Kooten,

University of Northern British Columbia

Paul Bowles, Ajit Dayanandan, Fiona MacPhail

Imposing a tax to 'prevent global warming'? Analogies fail me this is such a bad idea. Do these guys never open a window or take a walk in the winter? It's cold out there. Then again, they are not the ones who will have to pay or freeze. Nor are they the ones who will benefit from any extra tax. What will all the money raised be used for? Planting trees, or paying bureaucrats and box tickers? The UK has this problem in spades.

As for environmental impact. Cut pollution - yes. Take fishing conservation seriously. Emphatically yes. Those are things we can and should do something about. The weather? Well, that will happen no matter what we do.

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