The Washington Post finally uses a headline which notes that the participants at the 2020 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland were the elites:
By Heather Long | January 24, 2020 | 4:04 PM EST
DAVOS, Switzerland — Leaders of the world’s most powerful companies sent one clear message this week as they gathered in this ski chalet town for the World Economic Forum: They care about the environment — to a point.
With the Australian bush fires raging and teen activist Greta Thunberg proclaiming that “our house is still on fire,” business leaders were eager to talk about how they are eliminating plastic water bottles at their headquarters, installing solar panels on their homes and corporate buildings, and planting a lot of trees.
Nearly everyone attending the Davos events committed to join the new “1 trillion tree” initiative” initiative to plant an abundance of trees by 2030. Even President Trump signed on, despite his insistence that “prophets of doom” about climate change are wrong.
But conversations grew tense when it came to putting a price on carbon.
We have previously noted just how the good citizens of very blue-state Washington rejected just such a thing when it was put to the voters. Initiative 1631, championed by Governor Jay Inslee (D-WA) which would have imposed a ‘carbon tax’ of $15 per metric ton, was rejected by the voters, and rejected by a landslide margin. The same set of voters who gave 52.54% of their ballots to Hillary Clinton, as opposed to only 36.83% for Donald Trump, rejected Proposition 1631 by 56.56% to 43.44%, out of over three million ballots cast, only 300,000 fewer than were cast in the 2016 presidential election. Washington state voters are not exactly conservative. More, as the Post itself reported, people like the idea of fighting climate change, but do not like the idea of spending trillions of dollars to pay for it. As William Teach noted on The Pirate’s Cove,
Though Americans are increasingly worried about climate change, fewer than 4 in 10 say they believe that tackling the problem will require them to make “major sacrifices.” And most are unwilling to pay for it out of their own pockets.For example, while nearly half of adults say they would be willing to pay a $2 monthly tax on their electricity bills to help combat climate change, just over a quarter say they are willing to pay $10 extra each month. And while two-thirds support stricter fuel-efficiency standards for the nation’s cars and trucks, increases in the gas tax remain deeply unpopular.
Nor is this limited to the reactionary United States, which elected the evil Donald Trump to be our President. In France, the gilets jaunes protests erupted over President Emmanuel Macron’s ‘green fuel tax,’ further raising already high fuel prices.¹
Is it surprising, then, that business leaders, engaged in the selling of goods to the public, would not be willing to saddle their customers with higher prices?
“If you want to put a tax on people, go ahead and put a carbon tax. That is a tax on hard-working people,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on a panel Friday. He argued that a tax was unnecessary because technology would almost certainly bring down clean-energy costs.
That, in the end, is what this is about. Regardless of how it is structured — most politicians would place the taxes on businesses — it will, like all taxes, be paid by the end consumer of the goods and services sold. Economists and business leaders all know that, as do politicians. Politicians don’t care about that, and merely hope that consumers blame those wicked ol’ corporations, and not the government. Businesses do care about it, because it makes products more expensive, and as prices rise on consumers, for no concrete gain, consumers will have less money available to buy goods. We noted just a couple of days ago that the conservation rules were for the plebeians, not the patricians at Davos, so it’s nice to see that at least some of them, including Secretary Mnuchin, are at least aware that imposing costs on working class people makes them poorer in real terms.
Planting a trillion trees? I certainly don’t object to that! At our previous house, we planted seven trees, on a fairly small piece of property, and we’ve planted ten on our current property. That was all done without the government telling us to do so, or giving us tax credits for having done it.
¹ – Gasoline prices in France were €1.53 per liter on January 20, 2020, which works out to $6.405 per gallon.
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