Jerry Ortiz y Pino is absolutely right that a carbon tax as public policy would be superior to any “cap and trade” scheme [Re: News, “Carbon Tax Trumps Cap and Trade,” Dec. 24-30].
To be sure, I think the science on global warming is still very much in doubt (particularly given the recent “Climategate” revelations). But, even if this warming is indeed occurring and human-caused, it is still open for debate as to just how much of a crisis it is given all the other problems humanity faces.
All that being said, if Congress chooses to act to limit carbon emissions, enacting a straightforward, revenue-neutral carbon tax, would be far superior to “cap and trade” for many of the reasons Ortiz y Pino states.
The most obvious issue is the lack of transparency inherent in the “cap and trade” system. This is inherent in the complex and convoluted scheme, but serves politicians’ desire to disguise the system’s costs from the public as much as possible. Also, unlike Ortiz y Pino who is not shy about raising taxes, most politicians flee from the very mention of the word “tax.” The hope is that by hiding behind allegedly market-based concepts like “cap and trade” they can avoid being labeled as tax-hikers.
The first order of business is for both left and right to work together to kill harmful “cap and trade” legislation. Then we can discuss the details of a potential carbon tax.
Paul J. Gessing President, Rio Grande Foundation
Religious Freedom and Health Care
The health insurance reform bills passed by the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives are ready to be reconciled and combined when Congress comes back next week. This is closer than we have ever come to getting real health care reform in 150 years. However, both bills contain language banning payment for a basic reproductive service for women. Abortion is the only medical procedure mentioned by name in the bills. Having had several miscarriages, I know that the procedure that saved my life on two occasions is called abortion. In my case the fetus died and my body did not expel it. It caused fever, infection and cramping, and could have resulted in infertility or death had I not been fortunate enough to have the procedure done on an emergency basis both times. It is wrong to limit another's life based on your own religious beliefs. The ban on payment for abortion should be taken out of the final bill. Taking it out will save women's lives.
Tune Up the Health Reform Legislation
Come ON, Congress! Especially Ben Nelson, Mary Landrieu and Joe Lieberman ... you've got your bribes, now shut up and let the Senate/House conferees put some teeth back in the bill.
• Revive the Public Option.
• Keep the abortion restrictions out of the bill.
• Pay for subsidies by taxing the obscenely wealthy.
• Get tough on the insurance companies and the Big Pharma with fair and transparent regulation.
Make a good effort REALLY good. Come on, you can do it.
Will Duff Tijeras
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